Brad Freeman, Builder

For a long time, we followed the standard ‘process’ for the building industry whereby a potential client would approach us to talk about their potential renovation – often with a clear list of what they would like included in the final product. They would be very excited about the potential of their home and often have conducted extensive research on exactly what they want (we love a customer with a clear vision!). 

I would then meet them at their home and give them a ballpark ‘guide’ on how much the potential renovation would be. 

It was only at this point that the renovation budget would finally be discussed – often with it becoming clear that the design well and truly exceeded the renovation budget. 

This is why being very clear about your renovation budget first, and then building your home’s design around this budget is so important. We now focus our building process around making sure we have got the budget for the design and the design for the budget.

We now focus our building process around making sure we have got the budget for the design and the design for the budget.

I also know that it can be VERY tricky to know exactly where you would like your budget to sit – especially in renovations – as every home and every design is very different.

So below I’ll like to give you my best budget/design-deciding tips that I’ve learnt after 15 years in the industry:

Ask yourself the question: ‘What am I comfortable with spending on my home?’

You may not know exactly how much you are capable of spending on your renovation yet but it is always worth thinking about how much you are actually comfortable spending first. What you can spend and what you are comfortable spending are often two different things. Be clear on this first before you dig deeper into your capacity.

Decide on how much of your own money you are comfortable spending 

We find that many clients that approach us are either partially or fully self-funded which does make deciding a budget clear for them from the beginning. If you have the cash, deciding how much of that you are comfortable spending and whether you will be comfortable topping this up with bank finance can make it much easier when it comes to selecting the design elements you HAVE TO have.

Am I planning to stay in my home long-term or do we plan to move in a couple of years?

We often get people that are concerned about over-capitalising in their renovations. Over-capitalising is when you have invested more in your home than it’s actual current value. This becomes more of an issue if you plan to move within a few years of renovating. If this is the case, we always suggest that you keep a close eye on your budget and build the budget around the value of the home now and within the next couple of years. But if you are planning to stay in your home for many years and your main purpose is to enjoy your home now and into the long-term, we suggest you weigh-up if you would prefer to focus on budget or design. This often comes back to the point above – what am I comfortable spending on my home?

Be aware of how much ‘equity’ you have in your home currently

Equity in your home is the difference between how much you owe the bank and how much the home is worth in the current market. For example:

Your home is worth $350,000

You owe $200,000

You could have $150,000 worth of equity in your home.

There are a few different ways that you can get a gauge on how much you have sitting there that you could potentially borrow against for renovations but by far the best way is to talk to a mortgage broker as they deal with these valuations every day of the week. 

We recommend speaking to either George or Andrew at Aussie Bundaberg – you can find their website here:

You can also ask a local real estate agent or even compare home real estate listings in your area. Be aware though, that the real estate value and the current bank valuation is often different so use these price guides with caution.

Decide on two budgets – the budget we would like, and the absolute top budget we will tolerate (this is one is very important!)

There is always a spectrum in both a clients’ budget and their design ideas. As part of our renovation process, we will help you decide on what priority you give to each of your design ideas but then we need to match that to your budget.

By knowing the spectrum of your budget, we can give you various options that match different price points and you can decide what you feel comfortable with moving forward. 

Remember, renovations always need a contingency budget!

There is the old rule that you always budget a 10% ‘contingency’ for renovations and this still holds pretty true. It’s the nature of the beast that when you start taking your home apart, there is a chance you will find issues that you couldn’t see before. A big one is often a plumbing leak or some old dodgy electrical wiring that needs replacing. By having that 10% extra tucked away, these issues don’t become BIG financial hassles for you, and you don’t have to change your design aspirations to accommodate the $$ needed to fix the annoying problems that may pop up.

Hopefully this helps! 

We also have design templates that help our clients decide their “Must haves” and “Wants” lists. 

Let us know if you want a copy!! Get in touch here:

Are you thinking or planning on renovating your Bundaberg home? If you are, it’s important to know that insufficient planning could easily spiral out into a more expensive adventure than you bargained for. There are numerous budget-friendly home renovation ideas on the internet, but in this blog post we will scale them down for you to the four main ways you can drastically reduce cost when renovating your home. These tips will work for any budget, no matter how big or small the project.

So, here are our three sure-fire ways to stretch your home renovation budget and get more bang for your buck.

1. Preparing and sticking to a budget

So, how much should you factor in when renovating your home? First, you need to know how much you are willing to spend on the entire project. Having a budget will allow you to allocate more to the things that matter most to you. A good place to start is by creating a simple spreadsheet and noting down everything that you will require. This includes materials such as appliances, grout, tile, switch plate covers, outlet plate covers, cabinet hardware, countertops, paint, faucets, lighting, and your flooring choice, depending on the type of your renovation. This will help you get a more realistic idea of the overall cost of the project and understand which areas will require more budget and where you might be able to save cost. Make sure you include a little buffer which you can use in case of unforeseen events. Working with a professional Bundaberg builder will help you minimise the risk of unexpected additional cost and delays in your renovation processes. To help you evaluate whether a builder is a good fit for your project, we have created simple 8-Point Checklist PDF which you can download here.

FREE Download: 8 Point Bundaberg Home Renovation Checklist

2. Take your time

Waiting until you have some savings for your home renovation project isn’t a bad idea. When it comes to renovating, time is your friend and rushing into things can result in costly mistakes. When we rush things, we can quickly overlook important factors and end up paying a lot more than initially budgeted for. You will probably be living in your home for quite some time after renovating, so slowing down and giving your project a little more thought will help you make more sound decisions and achieve a better result. 

DIY (Do it yourself) – This might be an obvious one, but doing some or all of the work yourself – if you have the required skills – can save you thousands. However, keep in mind that you may not be qualified enough to carry out the entire renovation yourself, which could result in half-finished projects, or worse, certain things needing to be re-done. If you would rather have a professional take care of your home renovation project and save yourself the hassle of costly mistakes, our qualified team of local Bundaberg builders can assist you. From proposal to finished project, we have the skills and know-how to ensure the desired outcome and a smooth process. 

To request a professional proposal, click here to request a call-back today. Our project manager will be in touch to discuss your dream home renovation and walk you through our easy process. 

Home Renovation Proposal Bundaberg

Designing a new outdoor deck is probably one of the most personal tasks that you can take on when renovating. When it comes to designing a new outdoor deck for your Bundaberg home, you really need to consider your home’s style, because otherwise, your new outdoor deck might feel out of place. A well designed and integrated outdoor are will not only improve your lifestyle, but could also add substantially increase the value of your property.

Now, there are a lot of people out there who would like to design their own deck, but they simply don’t know where or how to start. If you are one of those people, then you that you’ve come to the right place! Instead of getting hung up on details, you should first take a look at the bigger picture. The same thing can be said about pretty much any other kind of home renovation. With this in mind, here are our top four things that you should look out for when planning (or designing) a new outdoor deck in Bundaberg!

1. Invest in Fasteners

One of the biggest mistakes that many homeowners make these days is that they try to save money by investing in low-quality materials, like cheap screws and fasteners. This is one of the biggest mistakes that you can possibly make when building a new deck. Low-quality screws can easily corrode, mess up your deck’s colour, and significantly shorten your deck’s life. So, instead of investing in low-quality screws, try and invest in stainless steel or coated screws. This will make your outdoor deck last longer and safer, too.

FREE Download: 8 Point Bundaberg Home Renovation Checklist

2. Know Your Decking Options

Today, homeowners have more decking material choices than ever before. So, if you are a fan of real wood, then you should definitely go for pressure-treated cedar – either that or redwood. Redwood is a remarkable deck material in almost every way. It is extremely stable, straight and its heartwood is naturally resistant to wood boring insects and weathering without the use a preservative chemicals. Redwood is also the most fire-resistant decking material on the market, making it a great option for the hot Queensland weather. And when it comes to hardwood, both merbau and jarrah are really great options, too. They offer a luxurious appearance that you can’t get with any other type of decking. As a local builder who specialises in building quality outdoor decks, we can assist you with finding the ideal type of wood and materials for your Bundaberg outdoor deck.

3. Add Beautiful Railings

An outdoor deck is not complete without some beautiful railings! There are some really good deck railings out there that have taken deck design to a new, never-seen-before level. With choices such as metal, vinyl, or glass, your outdoor deck can look more attractive than ever before. Here is a deck we have recently completed for one of our clients here in Bundaberg.

Avondale - Bundaberg Outdoor Renovation
Merbau Outdoor Deck in Avondale, Queensland

4. Conceal Your Support

There are many people out there who don’t mind seeing exposed screw-heads on their decks. But, what if you are not one of those people? Well, in that case, you’ve got some really good options. Hidden fasteners are always a good choice because they can leave your deck surface with a clean, smooth appearance. Make sure to check with your materials supplier to see what options are available. 

We hope that these ideas will help you get a little clearer on what to look for when designing your perfect outdoor deck. Here at Bundaberg Renovations & Additions, we are incredibly passionate about helping you design and build the deck of your dreams. So, when you’re ready, make sure to talk to us. Our team of qualified builders will help you turn your dream deck into a reality (and get it right the first time).

Home Renovation Proposal Bundaberg

Did you know that customers who ask questions are a professional builder’s favourite customers? Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Well, one of the main reasons why home renovation experts love customers who ask questions is because those people have usually already done their homework in regards to their home renovation project.

But while knowing that there is a ton of important questions that you should ask potential contractors isn’t really a startling revelation to homeowners, knowing exactly which questions to ask is absolutely crucial. That being said, when it comes to renovating your home in Bundaberg, there are some really important questions that you should always ask a builder before signing on the dotted line. In no particular order, here is our list of five crucial questions that will come in handy when choosing the right builder for your renovation project.

Are you a licensed builder?

This is definitely one of the first questions that you should ask your home renovation expert. Different states have different requirements on whether home renovation contractors must obtain a license of some sort or an alternative credential. But apart from this being a legal requirement for many renovation projects, it is even more important for you as a homeowner to know that your contractor is qualified to carry out the work professionally and reliably. Unfortunately, there are many tradies who take on jobs which they aren’t qualified to do. This can be a costly mistake. So, be sure to ask to see a builder’s license and any other qualifications that might be required for your particular project.

FREE Download: 8 Point Bundaberg Home Renovation Checklist

What is our timeline for completion?

As a homeowner, you’ll want to have a clear picture of when your home renovation contractor will be able to both start and complete the project. You also need to know if there are any circumstances that might affect that schedule, just in case things don’t go as planned. Make sure that they have project management procedures in place to minimise delays and ensure a smooth renovation process.

How long have you been in this business?

A builder who has been in business for a while will have the necessary experience with home renovations in Bundaberg that you are looking for. They will also have created systems and controls that help them ensure that their work is done on time and in a professional manner. Ask for examples of past projects they have completed that were similar to yours. A professional renovator will have before and after photos to show you.

Will I have a dedicated team of professionals working on my project?

It is no secret that contracting companies often work on multiple projects at the same time. That being said, it is very important for you to make sure that you’ll have a dedicated team of people working on your project. So, don’t be afraid to ask this question before you actually decide to sign the contract. Knowing that you won’t just be one of many side projects will give you peace of mind and ensure you are well looked after throughout your home renovation process.

Will there be any additional fees?

It is very important to for you to know exactly what you are paying for and if there will be any additional fees during or after your renovation project. You certainly don’t want to be caught off-guard, having to fork out more than you initially budgeted. Your quote should clearly outline the cost for each stage of the project, materials and any other necessary fees.

Home Renovation Proposal Bundaberg

When it comes to taking on a home renovation project, finding and hiring the right team of people to come onboard can be a pretty daunting task. Whether it is a whole house remodel, home extensions, or just a simple bathroom renovation, one thing is certain – you will be investing a good amount of money in the home renovation process. That being said, you should always do your best to hire the best team of professionals that you can possibly find, regardless of what kind of home renovation you want to do. So, in order to help you find a reliable builder in Bundaberg, we have decided to share some tips and tricks with you. With this in mind, here are three places to ensure the builder you choose to work with is a good fit for your home renovation project!

Talk To Your Neighbours

One of the most simple, yet most effective ways to find a good builder is to talk to your friends and neighbours. Ask them if they have worked with anyone who was reliable, trustworthy, and has delivered what was asked of them without any nasty surprises. One very important thing that you need to remember is that if you can find a builder through someone you trust, you will have a much easier time deciding who to hire for your home renovation project.

FREE Download: 8 Point Bundaberg Home Renovation Checklist

Find a Professional Online

Now, this one seems pretty obvious, right? Well, that’s probably because it is, but we still decided to include it, since it is a really good way to find a reliable builder these days. However, going online to find a reliable builder can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. So, where do you start? Master Builders Queensland is a great place to start your search. They have a good search tool that allows you to search for specific trades in your area and look at their preferences. Finding a Bundaberg builder through Master Builders Queensland will also give you peace of mind knowing that they have all licenses that are legally required to carry out professional home renovations.

Ask Your Work Colleagues

Do you have any work colleagues who have had work done to their home? If you do, then you should definitely ask them about their experience and whether they can recommend that builder. If they can, kindly ask them to give you their builder’s full name and phone number. But keep in mind that you should never make any rash decisions, especially when it comes to home renovations. Always do one more research, just to be sure!

Home Renovation Proposal Bundaberg

You put on your big girl pants, met with your financial adviser, got a mortgage, and bought a house. Hooray! Now comes the hard part: making it your own. Whether you’re in for a gut renovation or just trying to redecorate, there’s a lot more to designing a property than you might think. We talked to two experts—a renovation consultant and an interior builder—to learn about the most common blunders that new homeowners make, so that you won’t follow in their footsteps.

1. Starting renovations too soon

If possible, live in your house for a while before making any plans to overhaul. “Learn its flow, where the groceries land, where the laundry wants to go, how the sun hits it, where the choke points are, which way the rain slants, even get a sense of its soul,” says Bruce Irving, an independent renovation consultant and real estate agent from Cambridge, Massachusetts. “All of this will inform your choices when you make your plans to change things.”

2. Underestimating costs

Most jobs will cost more and take longer than you expect, so always add 20 percent to what you think a project will total when budgeting “If you don’t have the funds,” cautions Irving, “cut the job back. If you happen to beat these projections, then your surprises are happy ones.”

3. Expecting everything to go according to plan

Work on older buildings can yield a lot of unforeseen events. Who knows what’s behind that wall you’re opening up? New construction is more controlled, but that doesn’t always mean smooth sailing. Be prepared for the unexpected. “It’s a human failing,” says Irving. “We all hope and pray everything goes according to plan.” Trust us: Nothing will.

4. Not hiring a designer from the start

“You are about to spend more than you ever thought possible,” says Irving. “It might as well be for a correctly-designed thing.” Interiors designers and architects typically either charge by the hour or take a percentage of the overall job (say, 10 percent)—a small sum compared your total payout.

5. Going for the lowest bid

“Good professional help is worth the money,” says Irving. “That means design as well as construction.” Be willing to pay for a good contractor, and be wary of the one who’s cheap and available right away.

6. Hiring a professional that’s not a good fit

Just because someone is a good designer doesn’t mean she’ll be a good fit for you. Do you have the same aesthetic? Priorities? “If he or she doesn’t ask you a lot of questions about your needs, desires, and the way you live, find someone else,” says Irving. “Listening skills and curiosity are crucial.”

FREE Download: 8 Point Bundaberg Home Renovation Checklist

7. Not asking for references

Irving recommends contacting the previous three clients of anyone you plan to hire. “These people will have experienced the person at his or her current level of achievement and staffing,” he points out. Reach out to general contractors for an architect’s references, and vice-versa. “And visit your candidates’ job sites to find out if you like what you see in terms of cleanliness and vibe.”

8. Waiting too long to consult a general contractor

Ask a contractor to look at plans in the schematic stage, rather than at detailed finished plans, says Irving. “This way you can find out if your project is in the right budget ballpark before falling in love with a plan—and paying for a complete set of biddable drawings. It’s also a good way to meet potential contractors, get their input, and not misuse their time.”

9. Pretending to understand a design scheme

Fact: Most people can’t read blueprints. Instead of eyeballing it, lay out a room or building or garden for real. “Painters tape can be a girl’s best friend,” says Jocelyn Chiappone, interior designer and owner-principal of Digs Design Company in Newport, Rhode Island. Taping out a space works better than any sketch or design app for understanding how things will fit.

10. Not asking enough questions

“Ask lots of questions,” says Irving. “There’s no such thing as a dumb one, and besides, it’s your money you’re spending. You should know why and on what.”

11. Making too many changes along the way

Changes that seem simple to you may require a lot of work on the back end, so be sure you check with your designer or builder on even slight adjustments. “Even moving a light switch a few feet can cost $1,500,” reminds Irving.

12. Not setting up a timeline

Work with your contractor to put together a list of items that need to be purchased and deadlines for making decisions. “The last thing you want is to feel under the gun to make an important fixture selection you’ll later regret,” says Chiappone.

13. Not thinking outside the box, literally

Gutters, grading, and roofs may sound boring when there are chandeliers to obsess over, but you’ve got to build a solid envelope if you want your house to hold up. “If you’re faced with a choice of working on the outside or the inside, start on the outside,” says Irving. “No point in putting in a new floor if the roof is getting set to leak.”

14. Sweeping interiors under the rug

On the other hand, too many times, interiors are an afterthought. Newbies often think they can do finish work themselves or throw their old couch into a new room. But if you want to love your space—and increase its value—make sure you leave room in the budget for working on interior design and décor.

15. Underestimating psychological stressors

“Any building project in your own home is fraught with power dynamics,” says Irving, who suggests that couples take on a smaller project—building a birdhouse, say—first. Seriously. You might be surprised how different your styles, ideas, and approaches are. “It’s happening in your nest, with your dough,” adds Irving, “in large amounts. If you can’t do a smaller project first, you should at least know that it would be better if you did.”

16. Skimping on quality

“Spend good money on things you touch every day,” offers Chiappone, “like door hardware, doors, faucets, appliances, kitchen cabinets. The tactile experience sends a daily reminder to you and your guests about the solidity and quality of your home.”

17. Splurging where you should save

On the flip side, she says, “Don’t get locked into the idea that the biggest items should cost the most.” Nice throw pillows can dress up a mid-range sofa. Or mix a low-end dining table with a statement light fixture. Reglazing tile will be far more cost-effective than a total overhaul. “And sisal rugs are economical and always look chic!” she says.

18. Replacing windows

“Think long and hard before you replace your windows. If they’re original to the house and are in half-decent shape, they can and should be resuscitated,” advises Irving. Adding storm windows can do the trick where it comes to energy-efficiency. “Anyone claiming that you will earn your money back in energy savings by installing replacement windows is either misinformed or looking for your money himself.”

19. Not knowing measurements

Once you know what size couches, tables, and sconces you need, write them down and carry that list with you always. You never know when the perfect item will jump into your path. “Don’t fall in love with a 94-inch sofa when you can only fit an 84,” warns Chiappone.

20. Buying giant furniture

While you’re at it, jot down your door widths, too. “Make sure your new purchases can fit through the front door,” says Chiappone. “You won’t believe how often this gets overlooked.”

21. Buying miniature rugs

Undersized rugs are the most common mistake Chiappone sees. “Your carpet should ground your furniture so that at least the front legs of the upholstery are on the carpet,” she says. “Don’t fret if a standard size doesn’t work. Hit up your local carpet shop—they can make any broadloom into a different size and shape.”

22. Not getting everyone on the same page

“If you are purchasing appliances, lighting, and other items for a renovation, print out all your specs and/or installation instructions,” says Chiappone. “I put them in a binder for the contractor and the subs and keep onsite so everyone has access to these docs.” Bonus tip: “If you were to ever sell or rent your property, this is a valuable tool.”

23. Trying to be your own general contractor

Aside from their experience with construction, materials, and sources, general contractors have something else to offer: accountability. “You don’t have much sway over an electrician,” says Irving. Sub-contractors, however, have relationships with G.C.’s that will suffer if they don’t get the job done right. Sometimes, it’ll work out, especially if your jobs are relatively small. But know that it can be a risk.

24. Spending too much on tech

Technology can be pricey and become outdated quickly. While wiring every room in your house for video might seem cool, it’s not necessarily a great investment. Your home’s next buyer is unlikely to be impressed with an aging system.

25. Working on too many rooms at once

For anyone on a budget (i.e., all of us) Chiappone suggests focusing on the living areas first. “Doing a little here and there in multiple rooms will only leave you feeling unsettled and frustrated,” she notes. “The place where you spend the most time should really serve as the focus of your energy and investment. When the budget allows, move on to the next space.”

When choosing a home renovation expert, it’s important to know what questions to ask them to ensure they are a good fit. To assist you in making the right choice, we have put together a free checklist to help you find a builder that’s a good fit for your renovation project. Click here to download it now!

Home Renovation Proposal Bundaberg