There’s Nothing Worse Than A Home Reno That Drags On ’Til The Cows Come Home. Imagine All That Dust!? If You Want To Renovate A House FAST, You Need To Put Time And Effort Into The Preparation.

Imagine you’re prepping for a 100m Olympic sprint event. If you fail to prepare, you’ve got no chance of running a fast race.

Here are our steps to success for planning a quick, cosmetic renovation. You’ll see that all of these steps take place before a tool is even lifted.

Step 1

If you have just purchased a fixer-upper you need to start planning your reno the moment you exchange contracts. Spend time at the property to work out exactly what changes you want to make.

You should be entitled to least two ‘access visits’, so try and stretch them out to be several hours in duration. If the house is unoccupied, your agent might be happy to let you spend more time there.

Try and draw up a new floor plan yourself. Tip: Take a photocopy of the floor plan from the real estate brochure and make your proposed changes directly to that. If you already live in the property, then access isn’t an issue and you can jump straight into drawing up your new floor plans.

Step 2

Meet a builder on site to run through your hand-drawn plans. Give them a written scope of work (which you may adjust during their visit) and ask them to come back with a quote. You should repeat this step with a few builders to get comparative costs.

Step 3

If your reno plans involve removing walls you may need to engage a structural engineer. Your builder can tell you if you need one or not. The engineer will tell you how much significant structural work will be required to meet your reno vision and you may need to share this back with your builder.

Step 4

If you’re confident in what changes you want to make, find a draftsman to draw up official plans and ask your engineer to return to the site so he can prepare his final drawings, too. Submit the draftsman’s and engineer’s plans to your local council for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) application. If your plans fall outside CDC criteria, you may require a full Development Application (DA). Your council can tell you this.

Step 5

Next you have to choose a proposed start date for your reno and you’re best to base it on when believe your CDC approval will come through; this can take between two to 21 days. Ask council to give their best estimate on how long approval will take based on their experience and the complexity of your plans.

If it’s a house you’ve bought, you can’t start your reno the day after settlement because you need to wait for council to issue the CDC. And this process can’t commence until you’re confirmed as the new owners. Have your solicitor write a letter you can show council confirming you as the new owners.

Step 6

Sit down with your builder and develop a week-by-week, day-by-day reno schedule together. Your builder’s work schedule will determine when other trades need to be onsite, so it’s important to sort this out first before locking in other trades like plumbers and electricians.

Step 7

Co-ordinate all other trades (e.g., tiler, plumber, electrician, landscaper, glazier, painter, etc) to meet you on site and quote. Give them a written scope of work including the dates they are required on site (which you should have worked out with your builder). Get at least three quotes so you can compare costs, then appoint your tradies. This should ideally happen two to three weeks out from your reno start date.

Step 8

Determine what fixtures and fittings you want and can afford. You need to know this so you can order in advance and have them ready onsite when your tradies need them. Some things have long lead-times (e.g., plantation shutters, tiles, etc) so you need to place orders before the reno begins.

Step 9

As soon as you receive CDC approval you can GET STARTED on your reno with the comforting knowledge you’ve done everything you can to prepare to run a super-fast reno. Bravo!


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