27 August 2016 8 steps to a successful renovation 1. Ask yourself why you're renovating. Is it for lifestyle or profit? Are you going to live here for 20 years? If the answer is yes, then make renovation decisions for long-term lifestyle. Consider what you really want and how you want to live in your home. You can be more emotional about the decisions you make in this scenario. If you're only going to live there for a few years then sell and move to something else, you may consider making renovation decisions that are about capital gain - making a profit when you sell. You'll need to be more practical about your decision making in these circumstances. Consulting a real estate agent about what will increase the property value in the short term could be a good idea. 2. Live in the house you want to renovate before starting any work You will benefit from letting your lifestyle adapt to the home and local environment a little. The knowledge you acquire during this time can then be included in your renovation plans. 3. Start planning early Build up a scrapbook or Pinterest album of ideas and things you like. Take note of all finishes, materials and appliances for easy reference. Sketch your own ideas down using the real estate brochure floorplan as a basis. This will help you get a feel for what areas and spaces you might want to add or change. 4. Develop a budget for your renovation Talk to your home loan provider about how much you can afford spend on your renovation plans. Local real estate agents may also be able to give advice on how much other home owners have spent on renovating in the area. They will also be able help with property values in the area so you do not over-capitalise on your renovation (spending more than the final house is worth on the market). 5. Work with an architect from the start Architects are both professional designers but also creative problem solvers. An architect can help mould your ideas and their professional experience into something special. Bringing them in early maximises the value of their input and the ideas they bring. Find an architect by: Word of mouth - a good recommendation is worth a lot Researching architects whose work you like via magazines and articles then contacting them Contacting specialist bodies such as Archicentre who have fixed-price concept design 'starter' services Always check that your architect is registered under the appropriate Architects Registration laws in your state or territory, and preferably use an architect from the Australian Institute of Architects. 6. Never forget - it's your money Architects, builders, tradespeople etc… are all only there to help you achieve your renovation dream. They will be spending your money, but it's still your money so be strong and confident about your decisions. 7. Find a good, reliable builder who you can work with As with finding an architect, word of mouth is a great way to find a good builder. You could also check out builders doing work in your area and evaluate their work or contact the Master Builders Association for a recommendation. When you have short-listed a few builders, be sure you ask for references and interview them to ensure you think you can have a successful relationship with them. Remember, the builder is going to be spending a lot of your money so developing a good, strong relationship is critical for when difficult decisions need to be made. Always check that your builder is a registered builder under the appropriate laws for your state or territory. 8. Don't underestimate how complicated and difficult renovating is It will be emotional as well as practical, and this can be challenging. But if you've done your preparation, leap in and get started.