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How to Survive a Renovation Tech Talk

How to Survive a Renovation Tech Talk

A question I am asked by just about everyone that knows about our renovation, is “How do you survive renovating?”. I’ll be the first to admit, it has been much harder than I had anticipated, though the payoff for this is that we have a better understanding of how our clients feel when facing the same. Here are my tips to get you through.

The Builders Wife Surviving A Renovation

My Top Tips on how to Survive a Renovation

1.Plan, plan, plan!

This is without a doubt the most important first step to a renovation, take as much time as you are able to plan your extension or renovation. Plan together, plan with friends and family, plan with your builder and architect, be ready for all eventualities. Avoid making changes mid build, this alone could cost you much more money. Be sure of what it is you want, can afford and need before you go ahead and sign a contract. Be ready!

2.Find a Builder You’re Comfortable With.

Renovating and extending is a lengthy and can be tiresome project, so you really want to find yourself a builder that you can not only trust, but that you are comfortable with. You need to be comfortable enough to be able to bring up any possible changes, or issues, someone you are able to trust with their word. You’ll need to be take comfort that they are able to deliver on you dreams. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to surround yourself with professionals you are comfortable with.


Once you’ve found your builder or renovating team, be sure that you are clear and frequent with your communication. Communication is the number one source of issues between builders and clients. Keeping a paper trail of any communication that takes place is essential. When communicating in person, document this discussion and have your builder sign off on what has been discussed. Use email wherever possible to ensure that you are always on a clear path towards your common goal of completing your renovation.

4.Be Timely With Your Selections.

It only takes a bit of time to ensure that the selections for your project are in on time, in fact our clients are given a list of the times the selections are due, right at the beginning of the job, to ensure plenty of time to get these selections in on time. Use those first few weeks, while you are feeling excited about your project, to make your selections and get them to your builder as quickly as possible. The earlier the selections are in, the less chance of lengthy delays or problems which only add to your stress.

5.Plan for a Mid-Renovation Getaway.

If you are able to financially stretch a little, our suggestion is always to plan for a mid-renovation getaway. It doesn’t need to be anywhere to extravagant, just somewhere out of the house, with no dust or mayhem to take a rest and refresh. You’ll find you return to your project with a newly enthused approach, ready to tackle the back end of your job.

6.Take Time to Reflect on How Far You Have Come.

It is so easy to get caught up in only looking at how far you have to go with the end of your job, this clouds the project and has the potential to sour the end of your job. Renovations and extensions are long, can be stressful and tedious, but when looking at how far you have come instead of how far there is left to go, the result is a more positive outlook on your dreams coming true.

7.Have a Contingency Plan.

With renovations and extensions, it is nearly impossible to plan for every issue that may crop up. There is often no way of knowing what is behind the walls to be taken down, or under the slab to be relayed. On our most recent job, it was found that the old pipes all had cracks in them, and would need to be replaced. Fortunately the owners had a contingency plan in place, however it is very often that such issues are not thought of. Save yourself a LOT of stress, and have a plan for if something goes wrong.

Renovating and extending can be an enjoyable experience, with some careful thought, strong planning and taking these suggestions into consideration, hopefully you can enjoy your experience too.

Have you ever renovated? Is there an area in your home you would like to change or add on to?

Nicole xxx

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  1. What great tips Nicole! I have friends who are renovating so I’ll pass the link to this post onto them!

    1. Thank you Lucy xx

  2. I would have to say that one lesson we learnt with our recent reno was the ‘be timely with your selections’ one. Because hubby left it too long to find a second hand double hung window, we ended up having to buy a brand new one that probably cost us three times the amount of a second hand one!!!

    1. Oh no, on the plus side, the delay while you found a second hand window, would have cost even more in the long run xx

  3. I would sure love to have you up here at the moment! We were only going to do a little bit of cosmetic work on our house but it’s turned into a full blown renovation. The house needed to be rewired and we have to lay a new slab for the laundry / wet room, put some internal stairs in and then a new kitchen (which I’m quite excited about) we didn’t plan very well though so these are fantastic tips.

    1. Bloody Queenslanders, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard stories like this before. Though a new kitchen sounds exciting. We have a facebook group Ask The Builder if you need any free advice, and good luck. xx

  4. T and I are still debating whether {when we finally move out of our townhouse} we’ll build a new home from scratch or renovate an old home that has decent sized land. We originally wanted to renovate, but I’m just so worried that it’ll end up taking way longer and cost way more than we ever intended. Plus I think he would be planning on doing a lot of things himself, which if this house is anything to go by, means most of it will remain unfinished for months on end. I’m really leaning towards building a new house now. #teamIBOT

    1. Given the situation the new build sounds like it will be quicker and cleaner. I guess in your case, the biggest points to weigh up would be location and overall profitability? Some careful and realistic planning can stop the budget from blowing out, the same could be said about the timeline, but that is not always so easy when the work is being done yourself. Good luck! P.S we have a Facebook group called Ask The Builder if you require any free advice. ?

  5. These posts are all coming at the best time for me, as we start to talk about our upcoming bathroom reno.

    1. Yay, so glad they can help Mel x

  6. That’s great advice. We have renovated and built and both went fairly smoothly apart from a few delays with council. I think I was more comfortable because I totally trusted what my husband was doing ?

    1. That certainly helps Renee. I feel much the same xx

  7. Early selections are so important to ensure the stuff comes in before starting on site. I’ve seen plenty of headaches while doing renos so that’s why we bought a display home… but 5 years later there is still stuff that needs to be done. Right now the house is a mess because we’ve been painting. Dealing with the mess is also something you have to get used too.

    1. Oh the mess, I really don’t cope with the mess. We have always been the same, there is always something to be done and just as you get through the list you need to go back to the beginning again. Never ending xx

  8. Yes, yes and yes. Although owner building is a different in some ways I relate to many of these tips.

  9. In this post there are great ideas about renovation. Plan together, plan with friends and family, plan with your builder and architect, be ready for all eventualities. Avoid making changes mid build, this alone could cost you much more money. Be sure of what it is you want, can afford and need before you go ahead and sign a contract. Be ready!

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