You’ve saved and saved and finally have enough money for that kitchen renovation you’ve been dying for. Watching an endless amount of renovations shows (to the utter displeasure of the rest of the family) has trained you for this moment. You know the cost of every light fixture and every strike of the chippy’s hammer down to the cent.
With home improvement shows like The Block gracing our television screens every other night of the year, many everyday Australians now consider themselves to be experts when it comes to DIY renovations. What these programs neglect to show you, though, are the not so common costs people often forget about.
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Before you go around knocking down walls, ask an expert!
People tend not to understand the key structural elements of houses. They seem to forget that a house isn’t simply four walls and a roof. Swallow your pride and ask an experienced carpenter about how to go about your renovation. The callout may cost you a few hundred dollars but it could save you thousands in the long run.
If you have any friends who have made it through the home renovation journey, ask them about their experience and the unforeseen costs they encountered so as to not be surprised yourself.
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Next, consider the age of your home. Older homes tend to need more than a facelift. Once the walls are opened up, it’s not uncommon to find that plumbing and electricals also need to be rejuvenated. It’s also smart to add more power outlets to older homes to bring them into the 21st century.
You’ll also need to consider where you’re going to keep your belongings while work is in progress. If you don’t have an attic or a basement then a storage unit might be your best bet. The cost of temporary storage is one you’ve definitely forgotten to account for.
Similarly, you might want to escape the racket while your house is under renovation. Renting a hotel room for a couple weeks can be costly if you decide you can’t live with the constant drilling, hammering and sanding.
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If your dog or cat scares easily, you might want to put them up in a kennel while your renovation is in progress. This can cost anywhere between $10 to $100 a day. As if the renovation itself wasn’t stressful enough already, the last thing you and your neighbours need is an agitated dog barking all day and night.
Your council will have to give you its tick of approval before any of your planned renovations can get underway. Consider the council's building codes to avoid any unexpected costs. For example, in NSW, houses now need to be fitted with at least one working smoke detector and if unaccounted for this can put a large dent in your budget.
It may be a good idea to include a ‘cushion’ in your budget, an amount anywhere between 10%-25% of the total costs of your renovations, to cover your bases when it comes to the unexpected.
If you're thinking of hiring a builder, there are a few essential questions you should ask them beforehand.
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