We sparked up a conversation on one of the groups we belong to on Facebook called the Building, Renovating and DIY Forum. It’s an Australian based private group with a bunch of people from both spectrums of the renovation industry, including homeowners and contractors.
The group offers a lot of value because these are all people sharing real-life experiences, tips and sound advice.
We posed the question; what are your top 3 tips first-time renovators need to know to manage their DIY project successfully?
We took the liberty to compile the most valuable of those DIY tips into a concise article so that your project runs seamlessly.
1. Be realistic about your budget
Common opinion amongst people on this thread is that you need to be realistic about your budget. Some say that you should even double it.
It’s much smarter to spend an extra $500 now on making sure something is done correctly and is of high quality, than having to redo it in 2 years, because this will ultimately end up costing you much more.
Gabriella Byrne of East Coast Carpets says it is best to leave all non-essentials until the very end of your DIY renovation project. You can piece together decor or change light fittings in the future. But you cannot function without running water, electrics or a working toilet.
Rather spend on quality for functionality first and purchase aesthetic items when you have enough saved.
2. Picking the right tradespeople
So apparently, there can be some issues when it comes to dealing with tradespeople. According to Elwood Holly, someone with decades of experience in the building industry, here are three tips for working with “tradies” in Australia:
- Appearance is everything
When hiring in tradespeople for your DIY project, be sure to take note of their presence and appearance. Their clothing, such as their safety wear or uniform is a reflection of their respect. Look out for things such as a clean vehicle, well-kept tools and organization, because those who respect themselves, generally appreciate the client and their home.
- Listen to them
If they are going to be late, a tradie which calls ahead with an ETA and an apology backs up the first point and sets a precedent of how the whole job will go.
If they fail to call and don’t turn up, you should look elsewhere and hire in a different tradie. First impressions are essential in any other industry, so why should construction be any different?
Further to this, a professional tradie discusses the pros and cons of the job in their entirety before any contract is signed, or payment is made. So be mindful of the above to ensure a hassle-free build.
- Mobile mania
Some tradespeople may try and take advantage of your time and money. Do not let them take calls on your dime. Those professionals who switch their phone off during a job, unless they are waiting on supplies for your specific job generally get it done faster.
By being entirely focused on your build, it will also mean the end products of a higher quality. In turn, this will save you money which means less concern. Elwood says that he generally tests a tradie out on something small first. If they aren’t up to scratch, move on and find someone else.
You should also get three quotes from three separate tradespeople. Then, proceed to research them on Facebook and Google. Check the credibility of their reviews as some of them may just be friends’ reviews. You’ll know by the timeline. Make sure your tradies are qualified and check that they have insurance.
3. Shop around; lookout for sales
Renovations are expensive.
Coleen Neilson of DIY Stylist says that it will help if you put together a spreadsheet of your wish list and prices to see how much it will total up to.
Research the small stuff like kitchen sinks, tapware, rangehood etc. Look out for sales, as a few hundred dollars here, and there could end up saving you big time.
Also, look for used goods that are still brand new. For instance, some people buy the wrong sized bath and replace it immediately. Here, you can snap up “used goods” for sometimes half od the original price.