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Building or Renovating? So Where Do You Start? with The Undercover Architect

Building or Renovating? So Where Do You Start? with The Undercover Architect

A few weeks ago we shared the first installment of this story, Building or renovating, so where do you start? We are taking a break from our new My Trade Story, to share the second installment of this great answer.


Building or renovating? So where do you start?

In my last guest post on The Builders Wife, I shared the first two questions I believe EVERY project should begin with. In this post, I’ll go through questions 3 and 4.

Step 3: What can your budget afford?
Ugh … money. At some point it was going to get here, wasn’t it?!

Budget is the main thing that concerns homeowners embarking on their project. What will my build or reno cost me? And will it blow out along the way?

One of the most significant things you can do to preserve sanity for your project, and not have it run away from you financially is to not ignore your budget!

It may sound obvious, but the countless conversations I’ve had with homeowners that have got terribly awkward when I’ve asked “OK, so what is your budget?” shows me the gaping hole in how we plan our projects!!

Set a budget early. Of course, it won’t be perfect, or fixed, but don’t let this stop you! Start crunching the numbers and determining rough estimates for your plans, that you can then finesse and firm up as you progress along your journey.

There are many free online calculators you can check out. Here are a couple:

Home Design Directory

Ask An Architect Budget Calculator

And cost guidelines are also useful:
Construction Cost Table


Do some real estate research for your area too, so you understand what can potentially overcapitalize your home, or add value.

And remember … your budget is actually what is helping you undertake this project. Many homeowners see it as a limiter, because it never feels like enough to do all the things they want it to do.

This may sound a little woo woo … but if you see it as a limiter, you’ll be fighting it every step of the way. Instead, think of it as the tool, the facilitator, of your build or reno. It’s fantastic that you can access these funds to create a home for your family! Don’t be scared to talk about it, and keep tracking it the whole way through. Educate yourself on what things cost, how to stretch your budget, and empower yourself to invest it well.

Step 4: What do you, and your family, actually need from your home – now and into the future?
This may seem like a repeat of the first step, but stay with me here …

Australia has the largest average home size in the world. Yes, that’s right. Bigger than our USA counterparts. And it’s climbed quickly.

In 1984, the average size of an Australian home was 162.2m2. In 2012-2013 ABS figures, this had jumped to 241.1m2. And our families haven’t got any bigger – in actual fact they’ve got much smaller.

We all want more. The world of home ownership is littered with images to seduce us into wanting more and more from our homes. It’s also human condition to strive to improve and achieve. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, when you really determine what you need to create a home that works for you, chances are you’ll find it’s actually pretty simple. Space to be together. Space to be apart. Lots of natural light. Heat and warmth when you need it, and cooling breezes when you need those. Flexibility, functionality and durability. And a home that supports you living your best life – because it doesn’t tax you, stress you, or get in the way of you being awesome.

This isn’t about having less – it’s about simplifying.

Keeping this front and centre as you move along your journey will help you navigate the noise and distractions, and lead you to the home that is perfect for you.

Some additional resources (from Undercover Architect):
How to design a family home that works now, and always
How to design the perfect home

The Undercover Architect can be found on her website, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

I’d love to know how helpful this information was for you? Are you planing on building a home this year? Any renovations in the pipeline?

Nicole xxx



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