We have all seen the reality TV DIY renovation shows where hard work and low budgets transform the look and feel of a home in record time.
Is this reality?
The surveyor, designer and engineer have been engaged months before you see the show and the approvals with certification have already been received before the show is filmed.
And what if you want to transform your home to live in for yourself, as opposed to one dressed up to sell?
So, what can you expect to achieve if your budget is around the $350,000 mark and you want to make a substantial renovation in the real world where you truly transform your home? This usually means adding floor space and changing your floor plan.
With a construction budget of $350,000 it is reasonable, for example, to add a new first-floor containing a master bedroom suite, or a parent’s retreat, and an extra room which could function as an office, bedroom or nursery. If possible, the new stairway on the ground floor can be located in an area that is readily available.
Note: A construction budget does not include fees for consultants and council/certifier.
If you want more than a new master bedroom suite and one extra room on the first floor, then you will most likely need a higher budget.
Many of my clients request additional re-purposing or upgrading of other, existing spaces. This will require an increase in your budget.
Site-specific constraints, for example, on Bushfire Prone Land or in a Heritage Conservation Area, will impact your budget, too.
The Key to Success
The key to a successful project is to focus on the big picture.
Questions to consider:
- Why do you want to extend and/or renovate your home?
- How long do you intend living there before selling?
- What budget are you willing/ able to invest in your project?
Answer these questions and your priorities start to become clear.
Choose Quality Transformations That Positively Impact Your Lifestyle
The following images illustrate eight key quality transformations for your home. Each of them will improve the quality of your home.
Your Budget Will Drive the Design Process
Many people wonder why designers want to know your budget at the beginning of the planning phase of your project.
As you can imagine, if you have a construction budget of $350,000 you will be able to achieve a substantially different outcome than if you have $700,000.
If you have constraints on your property that make the design or construction complicated, finding solutions will require an experienced designer.
Another consideration is that the fees for your project will be somewhat impacted by how much design work you will need and all the regulatory requirements to submit your project for approvals.
Therefore, decide on the budget you are willing to invest first. Your budget will need to cover construction, consultants as well as council/certifier fees.
Working With Your Home Designer
Decide whether you have flexibility with your budget or not. Communicate with your designer about your flexibility and whether you are reserving funds for other projects not directly related to this home renovation project. For example, you may want to use funds for landscaping, a pool or media fit-out. All of these items may impact the design or construction efficiencies.
A good designer will be able to help you be focused on keep within your budget. They should also be able to advise you of the typical fees for the consultants, council and certification so that you are aware of all probable costs upfront.
Work with your designer on prioritising your changes. They should be able to produce a design which is close to your budget, as this is vital to the outcome of your project and satisfaction.
Little Upgrades May Affect Your Big Picture Plans
To avoid limiting your future design options for a major renovation consider your big picture plans before you undertake any smaller renovations. Upgrading your kitchen or bathroom, installing a new floating floor or carpeting may turn out a waste of money when the major renovation reorganises your floor plan.
Here are the major considerations before you make any of these upgrades:
- Are you planning a future extension or reconfiguration?
- Does the existing floor plan flow well?
- Are the rooms currently well positioned if you extend out or up?
- Is the light penetration and ventilation optimal for your site?
One of the most cost-effective investments you can make in your property today is keeping on top of maintenance and repairs. This will leave more money for larger upgrades in the future.
Your Designer is the Pivotal Point for Your Total Project
If you are considering what you can achieve with a future major renovation to extend your home, seek design advice, not building advice, early.
Before you make decisions, talk with a few designers so you can decide who you want to work with. The more open-minded you are about the possibilities, the more options a good designer can provide.
Trust and harmony are key elements to a good relationship with your designer.