Ready for renovations? Invest some time and save heaps

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 30, 2021

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*This article first appeared in our Home Improver Bathroom Splash issue

Expert: Don McAlister aka Handy Mac

Before jumping into a home renovation project, Handy Mac urges you to ask yourself these questions:

1 Costs

How much will this cost, and how much value will this add to my home? For those answers, you will need to talk to a contractor regarding expenses, and an estate agent to find out if it is worthwhile forking out a huge sum of money to upgrade your home if you won’t get it back on resale.

2 Discomfort

During a renovation you will be inconvenienced. There is no way around this. First, ensure you are dealing with a reputable company that takes Covid protocols seriously. Consider how you will manage without the facilities in the room being renovated, the time of year and how uncomfortable you might be during construction. Consider moving out for the duration of the renovations, if you can. If not, plan ahead to ensure the discomfort is minimal.

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3 Investigate

During the planning, interview many contractors and ask for costs. Check out their communication style. Does it work well with your communication style, or will you fnd yourself getting irritated by it? If so, maybe this contractor is not for you. Also ask about insurance and get as many references as you can. Most importantly, ensure all contractors are accredited.

4 History

If you have your home’s original plans, plus plans that include home improvements and additions over the years, offer them to the contractor. This can really simplify the job.

5 The legal stuff

Before starting any work that will affect your finances, ensure you have a contract in place.

6 Billing

Ask for itemised billing as opposed to a lumpsum fee. This way you can keep a handle on how your money is being spent.

7 Warning

Never pay in full or upfront. A contractor who requires this is probably scamming you.


Be realistic about how much you can do yourself and when you need to call in professionals. Many a DIY job has required extra money to sort out what you broke.

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