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  • jetnelson

How to start planning your Renovation

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

If you are frustrated with your current home and feel like an overhaul is needed, chances are you are feeling the same way as many other home owners.

​Yet many people just don't know where to start, read or listen to others that confuses them and pushes them further back. If you have never renovated before, DIY is not recommended on your most important asset.

It is estimated that over 80% of owners put up with their home for one or more of the following reasons;

  • We'll do it "one day"

  • We're waiting for "x" to happen

  • I'll do it myself, eventually

  • Don't have the time

  • Don't have the money

  • Don't know where to start

  • Worried about over capitalising

  • Can't find reliable or trustworthy trades

  • Don't want the stress

  • Feel overwhelmed, there's so much to do

  • Had a bad experience and now reluctant

  • Don't have renovation experience

  • Have heard stories of it all going wrong

  • Friends or relatives say "keep saving" or "don't waste your money"


The reality is, the longer you push it away, the worse you end up feeling about your home and sometimes, yourself.

So here are 4 steps to help make the first move a little easier.

1. Decide what changes you need

Being specific about what changes you need is a great way to start. At this stage, you don't need to worry about colours, fittings or how the work is done. Just get the basics down which will form the scope.

For example.

Kitchen - We are unhappy with the current kitchen as the cabinets are old, appliances work fine though the layout and size needs to improve.

Bathroom - The current bathroom is from the 1980s, and just needs to look more like this century preferably with a double sink and keep the bathub if possible.

Garage - The garage doors are no longer functional and we need to replace them with new modern doors with remotes and new lighting.

2. Prioritise the work

This next part helps you decide what is the most important so that can be addressed as the first priority. It also ensures that if your budget doesn't cover all of the work, that you address the most important items first. What counts is balancing what you can afford and spending that on the area or space that will be the most impactful for you and your family.

Continuing the example above

  1. The garage doors are most important as we prefer to park in the garage and use the internal door to enter the home. Also, the walls are cracking on the left side which is a worry.

  2. The kitchen is next as its difficult to entertain family and friends with the current condition.

  3. Which leaves the bathroom as the last priority by default.

3. Take Action

With the first 2 steps done, you might still be worried about being misled by tradies or builders. They aren't all bad though finding the good ones requires a systematic process.

Engaging a consultant can be a quick way to get an independent view of what is involved in the work, what budget is required and roughly how long it should all take. There are many possibilities depending on what you need and what your budget allows. A good consultant can guide you through those options.

With that information, you will feel much more confident in discussing the work with tradies or builders which will help you move forward.

4. Budget & Funding


I've intentionally left this to last as many times, this becomes one of the BIGGEST blockers to a renovation and shuts the whole thing down before it can even be explored. And that isn't going to move you forward. So firstly, let's look at some possible sources or options for funding your renovation.

  • Increase your Mortgage/Equity Release

  • Personal Loan

  • Use Savings

  • Credit Cards

  • Keep that Tax Return Cheque

  • Company/Work Bonuses

  • Borrow from Family (last resort)

In many cases, clients will find the money to make the renovation work rather continue to live in the home that frustrates them. And it may require a combination of the above sources to help take a step forward.


Many people use a single number as the high level budget (eg $50k), though I find that unless we break that into a little more detail, fitting a renovation inside that single number is almost impossible. So it helps to allocate the right amount against the areas you prioritised as a starting point (eg. Garage $10k, Kitchen $25k, Bathroom $15k). These amounts can then be adjusted as you go into more detail about materials, labour, fixtures and fittings as part of the planning process.

Sticking to budget, well that's for another article.


So there are 4 steps that should help you move forward with improving your home.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of renovating, just get in contact for some independent advice.

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