1. Don’t cave in to a “hard sell”
A first meeting with your kitchen or bathroom designer or builder should be a chance to get to know each other and for the designer or builder to get information to help in developing the plan for your new renovation. In our experience, the BEST design is never completed at the first meeting so don’t give in to pressure to sign up right away. It’s easy to be tempted by “month end” specials or “limited time” specials but your decision to buy should be made when you are ready, and when you are convinced the design is what you want.
2. Always check credentials
In the excitement of planning a renovation it’s easy to want to rush in but take the time to check out the reputation of the company you’re considering. Check online with Department of Fair Trading to confirm licence details and ensure the company is properly licenced for the work you are planning. Always ask about insurance – particularly Home Owners Warranty insurance. Ask about your designer’s qualifications and check out examples of their previous work.
3. Get a detailed, fixed price contract
Know what your quote covers and exactly what you are paying for. Unless it’s an extremely minor renovation, if your quote is a single page there will be vital information missing. Variable items such as bench tops, fittings and fixtures should be itemised and make sure the amounts allocated reflect the choices you wish to make. The same applies to trades – “estimations” simply aren’t good enough.
4. Don’t Project Manage
Unless you are an experienced Project Manager it’s not a good idea to take on your own renovation. While you may have a keen interest in the renovation – and there’s nothing wrong with that – most people have day jobs and don’t have the time, or experience, to manage and co-ordinate trades and equipment.
5. Don’t skim over the fine print
Every contract will have fine print but don’t skim over what may seem to be standard inclusions or exclusions. Take the time to read through the contract and obtain legal advice if there is anything you don’t understand. Make sure you know exactly what is included and what is not – and always ask if it’s not clear.