- Know what you want. Take the time you need to explore the possibilities for your home and develop a firm plan. Begin with the fundamentals – what do you need and how do you want your ‘new’ home to look, feel and work for you and your family. Once you have a clear idea of the ‘big picture’, an HIA builder can help you work out all the details.
- Set a realistic budget. Decide as early as possible how much money you want to spend – this allows you and your builder to focus on the work that is achievable within that budget. Experienced builders can provide sound cost advice and recommendations. Sit down with your lender and discuss the amount you can reasonably afford and the most suitable financing options. Remember that your budget should cover everything that may arise from the renovation, including such items as new drapery, blinds, furniture and appliances.
- Plan for the long term. Thinking ahead avoids short-term renovations that may need to be redone in the future. Discuss your short- and long-term goals openly with your builder. Professional builders can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and offer suggestions for the most effective sequencing of work over a period of time.
- Don’t jeopardise the quality of your renovation by compromising on the quality of products or materials. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and that means using products that offer the right combination of performance, durability and aesthetics. Experienced builders can help you choose the best products within your budget.
- Don’t choose a builder on price alone. While it is always tempting to go for the lowest price, you need to consider the implications of doing so. Does the builder understand what’s involved in your project and have the necessary experience? Will the builder offer a warranty on the work? Will the builder still be in business if you need to call back?
- Protect yourself. Dealing with a HIA builder is your greatest protection against an incompetent or unfinished job. A written HIA contract spells out the arrangements between you and your builder and describes your renovation in detail.
- And don't buy from a door-to-door salesperson without carefully checking out the company. Before you enter into any kind of agreement, do some checks on the company. You can contact the Housing Industry Association (HIA) to see if the company is a member. HIA membership is an indication of professionalism. Also check with your state licensing body to ensure the company has the necessary licences or registrations and whether anyone has lodged a complaint against the company.
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