The Benefits of Home Renovation and It's not what you think!

I wanted to write a blog from a different point of view this month...   I wanted to address topics however subjective they may be regarding Home Renovation and the benefits that more than likely are not top of mind.

When I think back at how many properties we have personally owned both established and new builds since we were in our 20's, I understandably lose count and that's because we have more than likely had 4 times as many as most of you will have in a lifetime and the reason for this has been because a) we struggle to sit still and embrace change just as much as changing underwear and b) because we literally have the knowledge, resources and skills to do so it’s not a big task plus over the years I have become a professional home mover and have actually enjoyed doing it, except the last time when we moved house twice in 3 weeks (urghhh)! 

It occurred to me only days ago that our current home which we purchased established at a mere 20 years young almost two and a half years ago has been the home we have owned for the longest period of time.  Yes, you may laugh at the fact that two and a half years is certainly not a long time but for us it’s a big deal.  I started to think about why this home is the one we have chosen to truly embody.... we have a large parcel of land with no restrictions, our floor plan is perfect and suits our family and lifestyle, the street is super quiet with great neighbours who we only see on the rare occasion, most of our neighbours are house proud just like us, and we are close to everything but far enough away to be out of the hustle and bustle, and we have enjoyed turning the somewhat average appealing home into a beauty.

So many people crave to build a new home and it begs the question... why?  Why do we inherently feel that we haven't made it in life until we have built our very own home?  Why is that the goal post for so many who have property?  This leads me to another question.... why is it that we don't look at the bigger picture and see that buying an established home in an established area is truly the way to go, I mean there are so many benefits and they probably aren't what you’re thinking.

There are so many benefits that come with Renovating your existing home or buying an established home and Renovating that come to mind when we think about it and its these things that resonated with me personally being someone who left a brand new home to buy an established home and Renovate in an established area and here's the thing.... it’s not only a benefit to us but it’s also a benefit to our suburb and that's just the beginning. 

When you build in a new estate you have absolutely no idea who your neighbours are going to be, what kind of home they are going to build, how many trees had to be removed to develop the estate and how much wildlife has suffered because of this.  Now I don't consider myself a greenie, but I do care about the environment and I do care how many koalas, wallabies, possums, birds etc forego their homes in order for us to build ours.... and that sucks!  Not only this, with new estates and development comes a huge strain on what is generally an already existing strain in so many communities and it’s a big one..... yes that's right, infrastructure.  Roads, shops, transport, business struggle to cope with what is sometimes thousands more people.  Yes, there can be benefits with such projects that provide tourism and employment but with that positivity comes a whole heap of stresses and can often have adverse effects.

Infrastructure in so many communities is already suffering with constant development, yet we have homes in suburbs all over the country that are existent but just need some love and attention, yet so many are choosing to boycott these for new homes.... what ever happened to making what’s old into something new again!  Imagine how much things would change if we all shifted our attention to buying existing property and actually enriched houses and suburbs that already exist making them the "it" place to live!  There would be less stress on infrastructure, it would assist local business, leave more trees so we can breathe fresh air instead of pollution, alleviate the issue of our wildlife being evicted from their homes, create a more beautiful streetscape in so many more areas and last but not least build positive community spirit.

The upside is also that when you stay where you are, buy or renovate an established home you know exactly who the neighbours are going to be (short term or long term), what kinds of homes encompass the area, what the demographics are of occupants, and as we have found... way more trees and wildlife... owners generally don't cut down trees to renovate and extend, they tend to use the free space they have to add on to their home.

Some established homes need a lot of work, some need a little work, but all of them can work.... when you consider your next move, think about this and learn to embrace and love the foundations of what already exists.

 

Happy Renovating!  

Lise

 

 

What Homeowners Can do to Prepare for a Major Renovation

So you have decided to Renovate....  Sounds great right??  You are super excited about having the home you have dreamed of for years.... you love where you live so it makes sense to stay where you are and give your home the facelift it so badly needs!  What you haven't thought about are all the elements that go into undergoing a major renovation, so here are some tips below on what you can focus on to make the process as simple as possible for yourself and your Builder.

 

1.  Set your budget.  Be realistic with your budget.  You can't have champagne taste on a beer budget, lets face it, we all love what we can't have.... or can we!  Great looks can still be achieved without an enormous price tag but you still have to be sensible.  Certain design styles can put your budget through the roof, such as Hamptons and French Provincial designs that heavily focus on intricate cabinetry, classic tapware and very definitive styling.  If your budget doesn't permit you will need to consider increasing your spend or changing your design style to reflect your budget.  Everything comes at a cost.

2.  Put together a Wish List.  Giving your Builder a wish list prior to entering into Preliminary stages will allow him to ascertain to what extent your wishlist can be achieved based on your budget.  A great Builder should be able to determine if your hopes and dreams can be met within or close to your allocated budget. 

3.  Do your research.  Determine what design style you are hoping to achieve in your new home, so putting together a Pinterest gallery or scrapbook will help the Builder with your overall desirable look which will assist in the Comprehensive Quoting Process.

4.  Look for Accommodation.  An average Renovation in our experience will take between 4-6 months depending on the size of the home etc so its best to do your research and know what Rental Homes are around for what weekly cost.  This will assist you when having to move out and will also allow you to include these costs in your overall Renovation budget.

5.  Think about your layout.  When working on your Renovation, ensure you have thought about your new layout and how it will work.  You should consider this when the draftsman is preparing your preliminary floor plans to avoid changes after construction has begun.  Think about if you want to change the layout of your bathrooms or kitchen, how will that affect where your bathware, sinks are positioned?  Also think about furniture placement... that's a big one!  Its all good having those big windows in the space, but where will the entertainment unit, tv or lounge suite be situated?  Is there something you don't think works now in the home, that could be reworked in the new design to be more functional or practical?  Do you have an abundance of space that could be utilised better?  All these things should be considered now.

5.  Choose a Builder you Trust.  Don't ever choose a Builder because he is the cheapest!  Biggest mistake you can ever make... lets be honest we all know someone who has done that and most often than not things don't end up as expected.  The old saying goes along way "You Get What You Pay For".  If the Builder is cheap, its for good reason.  Choose a builder because he is well known for being the best at his craft!  We have had clients in the past who have gone with the cheapest builder to save some $ only to come to the realisation after they commenced work that things were amiss... alas we then get a call begging us to come and fix the work and continue with the build...  costing the owner more $ than if they had gone with the right builder in the first instance.  Your Builder should be able to provide you with as much information as you need giving you the confidence in working with them and their team.  Also being able to comfortably communicate with the Builder is a must.  Just like we do, if you see Red Flags do not work with them.  Most of our work is through Word of Mouth which we think is great because people who have used us can vouch for our work, they live with it everyday!

6.  Enlist the help of an Interior Designer.  Interior Designers are very visual beings, and offer alternative perspective when it comes to interior design.  If you are unsure about your vision, get their opinion.  We often see the overall balance of a space, whether it be its practicality, its functionality, the overall colour scheme, the cohesiveness in design elements and how things work together in the overall design style.  You might love certain products/designs but how they work in the overall design together can be a whole different thing, it can be the difference between a successful renovation project and a mish-mash of conflicting finishes.  Its your home at the end of the day, but sometimes allowing an Interior Designer in to give an opinion can open your eyes up a little :-).

7.  Be a Decision Maker.  Be prepared to make decisions before and when you are Renovating.  You cannot be a fence sitter or indecisive.  Time is of the essence when the project is underway so always try to make as many decisions as you can prior to the works commencing.  Our experience over the years has been quite simple, the woman is known to make the decisions and the man nods his head in agreeance (after all happy wife, happy life right! LOL).  In all seriousness though, its helpful to assign one person to the overall decision making.  If you can't do this and are both going to be decision makers ensure that you are both on the same page and both want the same things.  It can be very tedious if both parties like different things, as decision making will slow and cause delays in the process. 

8.  Emotional Detachment.  Emotionally detach yourself from your old home and look forward to the new one!  Although we have never experienced this with any of our past clients, I have heard stories of people that have, so wanted to ensure this made it on the list!  If you have an attachment to something ie a door that has been etched with lines from where your kids have grown over the last 10 years, then ensure you let the Builder know so he can save the door for your memory.  Most clients are that excited that they are getting their dream home they automatically detach themselves from the home in anticipation for the new fresh abode but it can sometimes hit without warning.  Prepare yourself for this and ensure you 100% want to renovate.

9.  Remember there's a Team.  Just because your dealing with the one person being the Builder, please remember there is a whole team behind him.  So when you decide to make a change, its good to remember that one change can potentially cause a kink in that chain and with deadlines.  Builders will put together a schedule once the start date is announced, so all his trades for the project will be given an allocated start date which will get confirmed closer to their requirement.  This allows them to schedule this project into their own schedules.  If a deadline is not met, then delays will occur with the trades with us having to wait until they are able to do the work.  Just great to keep in mind when you consider making BIG changes or when you are finding it difficult to make a decision.

9.  Enjoy the process.  Yes Renovating is stressful, noone ever said it isn't, but doing your research and preparing the best way you can will certainly alleviate alot of the undue nerves that come with it.  Relax and look forward to the miriad of changes that are going to happen!

 

Undergoing a Major Renovation is an incredibly rewarding experience not only for us but for you the homeowner!  I love hearing homeowners who are completely floored when they see how quickly the initial stages progress, one minute they are looking at their empty house they have just moved out of and the next minute its been completed gutted ready for the new life its about to take a hold of.  Renovating isn't just about having a new home to live in, it gives its occupants a new lease on life.  It creates positive vibes, happiness, often a fresh start, and a comfort second to none.  Make your memories with a family that you love, in a home that you love.

 

Lets Get Renovating!   Lise, Brad & the Fusion Reconstruct Team.

Renovating to Sell or Renovating to Stay…

There are two types of Renovation Projects…. Renovating to Sell and Renovating with the intention of staying.  We have come across both types of Renovations although a high percentage of our projects are with those who are wanting longevity out of their renovations and not just a quick fix.

 

Each of these markets is very different and how we approach these renovations differs significantly.  For example, when a client is renovating to sell we look at what can be done in most cases to reach a broad market of buyers being careful not to overspend so the client doesn’t overcapitalise.  You need to look at Renovating $$ as an investment.  In an ideal world, you are investing in creating a highly appealing home that is going to be of more interest to buyers and in turn sell in a shorter amount of time for a greater sale price (making back the money you have spent plus profit).  Renovating tips on spaces to Renovate would involve renovating the main wet areas including the kitchen, flooring, paint and minor structural changes that can be done to improve the floor plan if required.  Also freshening up the façade for a better first impression and updating/cleaning up the outdoor spaces including gardens – all of which assists with kerb appeal.  We all know its hard to change our mindset when we drive passed a property that doesnt look overly appealing, we just keep driving in the hope one ticks the boxes from its first impression.  This of course is all done on a smaller budget and is not personalised to the clients tastes and lifestyle.  From an Interior Designers point of view also suggesting a much more neutral colour scheme works well so potential buyers can see themselves living in the property with the ability of them adding their own flavour to it.  Don’t forget once you have renovated, ensure you style the property accordingly as furniture can not only visually add appeal but will make spaces look bigger and assist buyers determine how spaces can be best laid out.

 

When we are renovating for a client who intends to stay in the property, a lot more factors are taken into consideration.  Things such as how the family uses the space, do extensions for extra space need to be addressed, does the existing floor plan flow, are the spaces that currently exist functional and practical for its occupants, is the kitchen in proportion with the overall property (kitchens have been said to sell houses!), are the bathrooms big enough or laid out in the most practical way possible, do you need to inject some more of your personality into the home…. I could go on but we don’t have all day!  Most of our renovations involve structural changes moving or adding/removing walls, completing gutting interiors so the entire home is brand new internally and updating the exterior with new paint to roof, gutter, fascia, eaves, new front entry door, landscaping, driveways etc.  Being the Interior Designer I work very closely with the owners to gain an insight into their personalities, styles and tastes in order to put together a design that reflects them perfectly as well as exuding wow factor that leaves visitors with a positive lasting impression.  Staying in a home for a longer period after renovating also allows for a bigger investment outlay initially as the market fluctuates over the years and you are actually getting to appreciate your investment for all those years living in it, so overcapitalising is less of an issue long term as the market catches up.  We absolutely love renovating homes for homeowners who are staying there for the long haul… its very rewarding to see a run down or outdated home get the kicker it needs to go from ugly duckling to a home fit for a king and hearing/seeing years down the track how happy they still are with their homes and how the investment was worth every cent.

 

Here’s some before and after pics of a gorgeous Renovation we recently completed for some homeowners who are staying!

 

              

             Before                       After                                After                          Before                          After

             

              Before                      After                          Before                            After                            After 

   

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Have a great day!

Lise, Brad & the FR Team x