Former contestants on The Block, Mitch Edwards and Mark McKie have completed many renovations over the years. "Whether it's a small room makeover or the largest Block renovation ever, we've found that there are always unexpected dramas that you may not have anticipated - though a number of these can be avoided," the couple said.
According to hipages customer insights, many homeowners experience the dramas usually observed on-screen in real life, with unrealistic budgets being the biggest renovating issue (43 per cent), followed by unexpected issues (32 per cent) and not hiring the right trades for the job (22 per cent).
The majority of homeowners surveyed (74 per cent) agree that a clear budget, with a buffer for unexpected costs built in, is the most important aspect of a renovation, followed by clear communication throughout the project (56 per cent) and a realistic timeline that allows for delays (55 per cent).
To help homeowners avoid their own dramas and strive for renovation resolutions in 2021, Mitch and Mark share the most common reno dramas and how to avoid them for your next project.
1. Budgets. Keep an eye on your budget and allow a 'contingency' amount. This should be about an extra 10 per cent, because things happen during renovations that no one expects, and you need to be ready. Make sure the budget is clearly agreed before the project starts and that you discuss any changes as they occur. While it's also good to find ways to save money, like helping with demolition/labour, be aware of your skill limitations. Plenty of money is wasted fixing dodgy DIY projects - according to hipages research, on average, $1500 per household.
2. Planning. Success starts with planning. Draw up your plans considering if it will work; do you need to move power/water/walls, etc? Go over your plans with your builder/tradies for their feedback to ensure they are realistic, whilst also flagging any considerations like knock-on effects of moving powerpoints, plumbing or cabinetry.
3. Project management. For bigger renovation projects, we believe that having a project manager is essential. You can take this on yourself, but remember whoever has this role must have a clear plan that they communicate. If your builder is going to project manage, make sure you have provided them with all the details of what you want so nothing is lost in translation.
4. Timelines. Make sure you have a clear overall time frame as well as specific dates for jobs to be completed. With your trade teams, negotiate dates for when they'll need to be onsite. We all want things done quickly, and good tradies are the same, however things take time, don't rush the quality of your project and be prepared to factor in some 'contingency time' into your job.
5. Unexpected issues. Things will go wrong and if they do, focus on the issue and don't personalise things. Renovations are stressful and emotions can run high. Try and stay with the task and focus on finding solutions.
6. Hiring trades. Recommendations are good but getting these word of mouth is time consuming. We've found that the hipages app provides a central place to find lots of different trades, covering all regions of Australia. It's like your own digital word of mouth recommendation. The platform conducts checks on ABN and licences, ultimately saving us time to focus on the project.
Knowing what trades to hire for which elements of a renovation is also where some homeowners struggle. Understanding that this is an area where homeowners are seeking greater support, the hipages app allows users to upload information and images about the job with the platform helping to match you with the right tradie for the job, available in your local area.
This functionality also helps tradies to quote accordingly for the job at hand, helping homeowners with more accurate planning and budgeting.