Not all renovating advice is created equal - listen to the experts, it's as simple as that.
Don't listen to the 'know-it-alls' who have never actually renovated before. Get proper advice from real people in the industry.
There are lots of great people out there with years of experience who can help you with your project - LISTEN TO THEM! Pay attention to what they say. Investigate their concerns, don’t just dismiss them.
Prior to commencing our last project, and at the recommendation of the builder, I organised for a structural engineer to come and look over the property to see if it was structurally sound.
It was an old property and no council records had been kept about its history. There were no records of work done to the property over the years, despite it being quite apparent that the home had been altered in many places.
The engineer inspected the property thoroughly and said in his opinion the building had very good ‘bones’. Despite its ugliness and despite the fact that it had undergone some dubious renovations, it was essentially sound.
He was right, it was an old, ugly, dated house, but it had endured coastal extremes for almost 40 years and was still standing strong. It was sad and unloved, but brave and proud!
It was a relief to hear this, and for peace of mind I would consider getting the opinion of an engineer prior to purchasing a property in the future.
I also employed the services of an electrician to inspect the property, as part of the conditions of sale.
The electrician looked over the house for some time and prior to departing he told me that if it was his prospective home, he would "walk away" from the purchase. He was of the opinion that a 'home handyman' had done some of the wiring and that it could be very expensive to bring the house up to code.
"WHAT DOES HE KNOW - I thought to myself?! It has such a beautiful view of the ocean and so much potential!"
He was right however, and the house had to be almost entirely rewired - which included installing a new switchboard. The electrical component of the build cost us a small fortune and significantly impacted on our budget.
"This was an expert I should have listened to."
I should have also questioned that if previous owners had done their own wiring - what else had they done?! By that stage however, purchasing the house was undoubtedly an emotional investment rather than a practical one for me, and as such I was prepared dismiss the sound advice I had received from the electrician.
As much as you may be emotionally swayed to purchase a property, try to stay detached and professional. This is a huge investment in money, time and sanity!
When it comes to renovating not all advisers and not all advice is equal.
"Everyone has an opinion or some advice to offer when you're renovating. Beware!"
Likewise, not all referrals are sound or genuine. This makes it necessary to ask for more than one referral from a contractor.
A friend of mine made two recommendations to me for different contractors which both ended in minor disasters. I later realised that the jobs these people did for her were nowhere near the scope of the work I needed done, and frankly neither party was up to the task.
"Don’t compare apples with oranges."
Also, beware of tradesmen recommending their friends, or business associates. This is not always the best advice and can make for an awkward situation if you have to dismiss someone who is not performing up to standard.
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE: CHECK OUT EVERYONE YOU INTEND TO EMPLOY ON YOUR JOB SITE BEFORE THEY SET FOOT ON YOUR PROPERTY.
Renovating can be a smooth ride with a couple of bumps, or it can be one long mountainous trek - do you due diligence, prepare well and you should be following the former route!
Renovating with love,