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Our 7 Best Renovation Tips After Renovating 700 Properties

Happy New Year – this month we wanted to share some of our insight and wisdom on how to successfully renovate, where to start and how to get the best results from your project. The Christmas and New Year break sparks a lot of thinking and renovating is high up there as one of our top things on our ‘To Do’ lists.

Every day we hear the same story – I rang five builders and only one returned my call and he is booked up for three months, what do I do now? There is a simple answer for the issue around the shortage of tradies in Auckland the last two years – demand outstrips supply. Put simply the amount of new housing being built along with the low cost to borrow money to renovate means we do not have enough builders and subsequently other trades to cope with the demand. The situation won’t change soon either with high immigration and not enough people taking up trade roles anymore.

So if you’re thinking of renovating your kitchen or bathroom or extending your home to make more space or upgrading your investment property here is some advice on how to make the process much easier.

1. Plan – get your plans sorted now as architects are also in very short supply and lead times can be up to six months for even concept drawings. Then you need to have consented plans and have your project priced as well.

2. Ask friends and family for referrals to quality reliable building companies and other trades you will need. Interview those companies and ask to see finished projects and speak to recent clients.

3. Establish realistic time frames with your chosen contractors for your project and get them in writing. Ensure you have full written quotes detailing what is included and excluded so you are clear. For your protection if your building works are over $30k including GST ensure the builder uses the full building contract as per the new 2016 regulations.

4. Make sure you understand warranties on workmanship and materials and who is responsible for any issues ongoing.

5. Payments should be scheduled to coincide with work carried out and fully documented for you so that there are no issues. Always pay your contractors on time. That way they will look after you and you will be their priority. Never pay in full upfront for any project and always hold some money back until completion and sign of by you, the client.

6. Even simple kitchen and bathroom projects can have ten trades involved so who is managing these trades? You or the builder? Make sure you are clear on who is paying who to avoid any confusion.

7. No matter how patient a person you may be there will be what we refer to as a “tipping point”. This is where you are over the excitement of the project, it’s noisy and you just want your project completed. This is normal for everyone so consider at the outset if you should move out especially if you have young children or work from home or work nights or unusual hours. It may cost a little more or put some strain on your in-laws but it may well be worth it to save some serious stress.

We hope your renovation project goes well for you and if you need our help with design, cost estimates or in any other way we are here to help. With 9 owners and 30 staff across Auckland from Warkworth to Pukekohe we have availability to do your project NOW so give us a call or check out our website We would love to hear from you.

Take care

The JACK Team
0800 111 522

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