Most homeowners will admit to making a few mistakes during a renovation. These projects can be complex, and it’s easy to miss opportunities such as making the kitchen a little larger or spending too much or too little on fittings.

As experienced local agents, we hear many renovation stories. Most of my clients are thrilled with their decision to invest in their home, and even those with a battle scar rarely express real regret. The most common lament comes from those who tried to do some of the work themselves and found their skills came up short. 

Unless you’re a DIY rock star, please leave it to the experts. Buyers can spot a home with sub-standard craftsmanship from a mile away. It means that you’re not saving money in the long run as poor finishing always diminishes a property’s value. 

Here are some lessons that are easy to learn.

Spend more time planning

While we might contemplate an upgrade for months, even years, that’s dreaming not planning. Don’t rush anything when it’s really time for the rubber to hit the road. Be sure of what you want, its expected cost and who you want to work with before committing.

Design delight

Owners who spent extra to work with an architect, building project manager or even a lighting consultant are usually the most delighted with the result of the upgrade. Don’t look at these services as a cost but as a way of creating value – and saving you from headaches.

Pick your partner 

Tales of woe about hiring the wrong builder could go forever. ****Take your time with your selection. Always get three quotes aligned to the same brief. Ask for their licences, insurances and previous clients with whom you can talk directly. Personal recommendations from someone who loves their renovation is always gold. 

Wrong furnishings

 Sometimes your eyes are bigger than your lifestyle. For example, soaker tubs look fantastic until you turn on the taps and realise it’s going to take an hour to fill. Ask yourself whether you’re going to use these sorts of features.

Going five-star

It’s so tempting to want the very best of everything, but you may look back and ask why you spent $2,000 on a kitchen mixer tap. Unless money is no object, take a more practical approach. Select reliable brands and quality products. You don’t need to gold plate everything.

Great outdoors

Fantastic gardens and decking are fabulous additions to any home. But don’t install or build anything that you’re not prepared to maintain. Wooden decks are a great example of this: they need annual maintenance that’s time-consuming and relatively expensive on the oil and varnish. If you ignore them, they discolour and slowly rot away.