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  • Lauren O'Grady

Want to get started on your project but not sure what to do first?

You’ve probably spent months, if not years scrolling through numerous Instagram and Facebook pages looking for home inspiration, cursing and fighting with your partner about your current living conditions or envied family/friends that have taken the plunge to build a new home or renovate but not taken the first step in your project yourselves. Does this sound like you?

Many people procrastinate on taking the first step due to not knowing where to start and fear. This fear is a very valid fear as it’s a huge investment and requires a lot of trust in people. It’s also associated with not knowing or having very little knowledge of building or renovating and they fear being ripped off by dodgey builders (understandably so with no many unhappy stories out there).

Taking the correct first steps to building or renovating can dramatically impact the experience you have in your project and the final home you create so it has to be done correctly.

Here is my Step by Step advice on how to get started.

Step 1- Create a detailed brief.

In the beginning it’s a good idea to create a detailed brief on exactly what you are wanting to achieve with your new home. Whether you’re doing it alone or as a couple you need to write down your wants, needs and desires. List your Top 5 Priorities. In our experience we find that everyone’s priorities are different. Some people really want to create a sustainable home, whereas other people want to have a big outdoor/indoor living area of the house or they want to have high quality joinery throughout the home. This is very important as it creates clarity to people and opens up the communication between couples. This stage can be very challenging if you and your partner have different ideas or if one person is more ‘emotionally’ invested in the project than the other. Take your time to work out your ideas as a cohesive team. Accompany these ideas with photos, pictures, layouts etc.

To help you put this brief together I highly recommend an online workshop from Undercover Architect called “Your Project Plan’ Link here

Step 2- Set your Budget.

At this point, you need to start thinking about what you are wanting to spend on this project. You need to set your budget early. What are you financial goals in the next 2, 5 and 10 years? Do you want to have the flexibility of being able to travel overseas every year or are you committed to spending your money on your home? Is this project a financial stepping stone or is it your forever home? If you’re planning a renovation do some research to make sure you’re not overcapitalising on your property. All of these factors will play a part in deciding on your budget. You need to be honest and frank with your budget so you don’t waste time and money by designing a home you can’t afford to build. For more information on staying within your budget check out my blog ‘6 Ways to Stay on Budget in Your Building Project’

6 Ways To Stay on Budget During your Bui
Download • 2.24MB

Step 3- Engage a Designer and Builder together.

Easier said than done, right! However, with the hard work that you’ve put into your brief and setting your budget you can use this to find the right fit for you. Do your research. Find out the feasibility of your ideas and what builders are willing to listen to this. Ask your friends and/or family who they recommend. Contact the builders to find out if they would hit your brief and what sort of experience they have with a similar project of yours. Ensure the people that you’re talking to are indicating how they’ll help you to manage your budget throughout your project. Not just offer you a square meter rate! To find out more about this check out our ‘Six indicators of a quality builder’ blog

I highly recommend not using a construction company that has an in house designer. The reason for this is the designer doesn’t work for you, he works for the builder. In these cases the client generally has very little, if any, contact with the designer and you can’t engage other builders to quote the final design. At the end of the design process, the builder owns the plans, not you.

You need to engage a designer and builder separately but who work together as a cohesive team to develop the plans. To find out the benefits and more information on this check out our ‘Building Consultancy Service’ document.

Download PDF • 9.85MB

First step mistakes people make

- Pay for a complete set of working drawings/reports and then engage builders to price the project through a tender process.

- Not setting their budget realistically.

- Not disclosing their budget to the designer and builder.

- They don’t speak to a financial advisor about what sort of finance they can receive.

- They price check builders by asking them for their square metre rate. As a Custom Home Builder it’s impossible to have a square metre rate as every project is individual.

So stop scrolling through Instagram and take action today!

If 2021 is your year to begin planning your dream home get in touch with our expert team at L O'Grady Constructions today.

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