Renovating to Change the Layout of your Home

Renovating to Change the Layout of your Home

When people get bored with the layout of their home they have two main options. They can move house or they can re-design their home and renovate it to accommodate the changes they want. This article is about developing a new design and renovating your home to provide you with the extra space or rooms you want to see in your house.

Some people will be brave and decide to carry out the renovation work themselves. This works for people who have a lot of spare time, loads of energy and to be frank have a very thick skin as the project will undoubtedly cause a lot of domestic strife. Major renovations are a lot of work and the amount of time and patience required should not be under-estimated.

People who go the self-build renovation route often want to do it because they think it will be cheaper. However, while it generally does cost less in financial outlay, there is the cost of their personal time to take into account. They might also need to have a bigger budget than they anticipate as cost over-runs on your own building plan can be quite high.

If you are keen to at least start down that path, here are few tips to get you going.

Sketch a floor plan

House designer and builder
House designer and builder – image stockimages

Before you can start building you will need to have professionally created scale drawings of the proposed new house. However, you will have lots of ideas in the first place so sketch out a few of the key things you want to have in your renovated home.

Once you have some clear ideas which are agreed by the family then you can go to see an architect or house designer. They will draw up the floor plans you need so you can go to the Council to start the Building Consent process.

Extra features for the house renovation

While the plans are being drawn up or approved, you can start to think about some of the other elements. For example, if you are having a kitchen renovation as part of your building project, you might want to start looking at appliances, cupboards and finishes. Similarly, if you are having anew bathroom or bedroom, you can follow the same approach.

You might also want to think about the external features. For example will you want outdoor rooms which are becoming popular? Maybe an area for a spa pool outside? It is as well to start thinking of these now before the project gets too far down the track and will cause unnecessary re-work.

Be realistic about your building abilities

Now is the time to be honest with yourself and your family. A major renovation is a huge undertaking, one which many people try and plenty give up on. They run out of energy, time or money; sometimes a combination of all of those factors. Renovating a house these days is much more complex than your father may have done. There are much more strict building code requirements, new environmental materials, building techniques and appliances you can consider. But these require specialist skills; not just a hammer and a power saw.

If you are still not sure, then take a look at some TV renovation programmes and look at the massive problems they all run into.

Look for a house renovation company

If you do decide to go the professional path, then now is the time to start looking for a house renovations company. It will not come as a surprise to learn that there are hundreds of house building firms in Auckland. Your task is to find one that is reliable and will be able to complete your home renovation on time and within budget.

House renovation
Keys to the new house – image istock

Start by asking around among work colleagues, friends and people at your sports club. You might get some horror stories but you might also get highly recommended builder such as Repair and Restore. A quick look at their website shows they have some very impressive testimonials from very happy customers.

If you have a plan for home renovating, they might be a good place to start. Visit their website for a start.

Why You Should Use A Specialist Builder To Renovate Old Villas

Why You Should Use A Specialist Builder To Renovate Old Villas

Buying an older villa house can be exciting, until you discover all the work that is required to make the home livable. This is when you should know why you need to use a villa renovation specialist builder to help you in restoring the older home you have just purchased. Once you know about the reasons you should use a builder, you will not make any mistakes or create even more work by attempting to do the work on your own. Without the knowledge on the reasons to use a builder you could make a simple job a lot more complicated by attempting to make repairs on your own and having them fail.

Double front villa
Double front villa | RayWhite

The first reason you should be using a specialist builder to help you in getting the older homes restored is they have access to the work teams who can complete the job quickly. Make no mistake, complete villa renovations will take a considerable amount of time. Far more than most people anticipate. However, if you try to do this on your own or with friends at weekends, it is going to take you years, literally, to finish. Worse, many renovation projects that are started by well-meaning home owners are never finished because other problems come up with the home. Even with a skilled gang of expert tradesmen, the job is likely to take a number of months before it is completed

A second reason you need to know about why builders are a better option than your own handy-work is that you will have the work done to a professional level. While you may think your work is good, maybe very good for an amateur, you will quickly find that some of the work is not completed properly. If there are budget or time pressures, then your standards are quite possibly going to slip and this can easily lead to a few longer-term problems. One of those is that your home being lowered in value due to the lack of finesse in the finishing touches. Another common outcome for self renovation jobs is that people do not understand the different building techniques and end up losing some of the historical charm that you fell in love with when you purchased the home. However, the restoration specialist builders are going to complete the work properly and guarantee it looks right.

Renovation specialist
Renovation specialist |imagerymajestic

Another reason you should think about for using the builders is they are typically going to be properly insured for damages to the home. When you are working on the home on your own, you normally do not have insurance if you drop a board through a floor or knock out a window. So this would mean you have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket and this can really add up in the cost. However, the builders are normally carrying insurance or are bonded and if any type of damage does happen they will make the proper repairs to the damage.

Finally you need to consider a builder because they are able to pinpoint the areas that need to be worked on. When they are able to hone in on these areas, it makes it easy for you to know what needs to be worked on and how it is going to affect your home. So you are not going to be taking and creating any extra work or not knowing how the job is going to be beneficial for your home. So you will have a better grasp of what kind of results you should expect to see.

Buying an older villa can be exciting until you discover how much work needs to be completed on the house. After you find out the amount of work, you may end up trying to get the work done yourself, which can be a good thing for simple jobs. However, you are normally not an expert in all the fields of work that needs to be completed on your home and this can easily lead to you making a mistake that is going to be detrimental to the home. By hiring a builder and knowing the reasons to hire the builder you can easily get your villa restoration completely turned around and looking great.

For some advice on villa renovations in Auckland try http://repairandrestore.co.nz/

All About Building Green Homes

All About Building Green Homes

These days, there is a lot of pressure to go green, and that pressure extends from private homeowners to large corporate entities. How do general house building companies address the subject of eco-friendliness? You might be surprised to find out the number of ways. Read on to learn all about green building:

Green eco house
Green eco house – image ddpavumba

What is green building? Also referred to as sustainable building and green construction, green building is an earth-conscious method of planning, constructing, maintaining, renovating, operating, and demolishing construction projects. The process of green building involves each and every stage of a building’s life cycle, and must begin with the initial planning of the space.

The green building team. In order for house building contractors to be successful at maintaining the high standards of green building throughout the entire lifecycle of the construction process, they must work with a number of qualified, eco-conscious professionals. This green building team includes architects, engineers, sustainability experts, environmentalists, and the clients, themselves.

Green building materials. Some building materials are more earth-friendly than others, and some are specifically manufactured with resource preservation, recycling, and biodegradability in mind. General contractors with a mind for green building have access to things like recycled stone and metal, paper-based paneling, compressed earth block, recycled industrial goods, sustainable plant products, solar paneling, eco-friendly roof tiles, and energy conserving appliances, among many others.

solar-power-roofingOther points for consideration. In addition to using green building materials, general contractors who engage in sustainable building must also be conscious of the energy used to manufacture building materials, as well as the waste produced in the manufacturing process. Also, the energy used to maintain the building, the energy usage of the building (and its components), indoor air quality, soil erosion, water conservation, waste, and environmental impact must be considered during all phases of green construction.

How to find green builders in your area. Simply search the web to find general contractors in your area who adhere to green construction standards. Additionally, you may check in with your local builders’ association for a list of sustainable building general contractors in your area.

Taking steps towards eco-friendly houses. Not everyone wants a totally eco-home but when they commission the building of a new home, it is easy and of course highly advisable to incorporate some “green” principles in the design and build of your new home. In fact you can very easily make your home highly efficient environmentally without it looking like a Hobbit home.

If you are embarking on a new home building project, ask your builder about their experience in installing environmentally sound materials, how they building techniques and what their waste policy is. It is highly likely that they will be using a few of the ideas mentioned above.

If they have not worked in all of these areas, you can still insist on the specific eco- elements that you want and they will probably have some sub-contractors they can call in for specialist activities such as solar panel installation.

For advice on building a new home, you can talk to this house building company in Auckland. They have built many different styles of house which have included a number “green” projects. This is their website.

Why People Like New Homes

Why People Like New Homes

Every year people think about moving house or entering the property market. Some like to move into an existing house while others prefer to buy one of the new homes that have just been built by one of the many building companies in the Auckland area. Within the new homes category there are two sub-groups. There are those who like to buy from a pre-planned design which is usually part of a major sub-division development. The second group is those people who want a house custom built to their own design and specifications. Each family has its own point of view about which option is better but this post looks at some of the reasons why people buy custom-designed new homes.

One obvious advantage of a purpose-built home is that you get to say what goes in it. You dictate the size, shape and the configuration of the rooms. For many people this is their ultimate dream; crating a home exactly as they want it. For many people, we imagine that this is an option only available to the very rich but that is not the case. Plenty of people find a section of land, even within a sub-division. They then work with a house designer or an architect to come up with the plan that includes all of the features they want. Often the designer will temper some of the initial requests for various reasons such as cost, whether that feature will be easy to sell in future years, or because of space constraints. Whatever the reason, people’s original desires sometimes do not translate very well into a finished house.

Green eco house
Green eco house- image ddpavumba

This can also be your opportunity to incorporate the best eco-friendly design and appliances in your home. This may require a specialist designer but this is a great chance to make your contribution and also to future proof your home.

A brand new home is going to be having a more efficient use of energy than existing homes simply because of the materials and construction techniques that are used these days. A simple example is the use of insulating materials built within the timber framing of the house. In years gone by, this was not a standard but today, almost every house will have some insulation material incorporated during the build process. Also, designers these days will use better ventilation systems. These not only keep a house cool in summer but also keep them warmer in the cold winter months.

New homes in Auckland
Simon Howden|New homes in Auckland

While you are in the design stage, you can also consider the modern conveniences and entertainment systems that are available. Many women do not like to see cables trailing around a room. So if you are building from scratch, you can make sure that the sound and power cables are in-built and that there are plenty of jack-points placed around the rooms. You can also have the home-theatre constructed from the start rather than having to adapt the living room as most people do.

After the design has been agreed the next step is to get building consent from the local authority. This process can vary depending on the design, size and location. For example, a five bedroom or a four-storey house might not be appropriate in the locality. Also if you are building in a sub-division, there may be covenants regarding the minimum or maximum size of the proposed house.

Assuming that the consent is forthcoming, obviously you will need a house builder. People often think it is difficult to find a reliable building company but in fact most are good businesses. However, as in all walks of life, some are better than others. The easiest and most reliable way to find these is to look at what other people say about the different home builders Auckland has to offer.

These days the best place to do that is on Google. If you search for house builders you can create a short-list of potential companies to contact. Then you can search for reviews about them or for videos, testimonials, and rating sites like Yelp.co.nz.

Another advantage with having a custom designed house is that you can plan for the future. For example, if you are approaching your “golden years” or you are anticipating having an elderly parent coming to live in your house, then you may want to think about having access ramps built in.

As we can see, there are plenty of good reasons why people like to have a purpose built new home rather buying one from a fixed plan. If you are one of these people and are looking for a building company in Auckland, then Repair and Restore Ltd is certainly one to look at. Their reputation is impeccable as this video shows.

Getting Value Out Of Property Renovations

Getting Value Out Of Property Renovations

Many house holders think that renovating their bathroom or kitchen will add considerable value to their home. However, not very few homeowners realise that any increase is going to be dependent upon the amount of renovating and the amount that you spend. The same applies to any aspect of house renovation or home improvements.

A key phrase to keep in mind is that cost does not always equal the same value. “Not every renovation will pay off when you come to sell the home,” according to a professional house-valuer in America, Richard Powers, MAI, SRA, President of the Appraisal Institute. He goes on to offer a few pointers on home improvement projects that may help people sell their homes for a higher price or in a shorter space of time. This site has some broad cost ranges for common house renovations in Auckland.

Renovation builder
Renovation builder | absoluterenovations

Don’t over-improve or over-capitalise. Instead of deciding to add another bedroom, look for what is standard in the other houses in your neighbourhood. Adding a deck might seem like a good idea but if no one else in the area has one, you may not see a return on investment.

Do invest in basic upgrades. Fresh paint (stick to neutral colors), new fixtures, flooring and lighting in kitchens and bathrooms can pay dividends. This is especially true with the front door. Remember, first impressions count and the first thing people see up close is your front door. If the window panes are cracked or the paint is peeling, the do not get a good impression.

Do consider adding an extra bathroom. Homeowners can often recoup the extra cost of a bathroom when they put their home on the market because of the appeal that extra bathrooms have for home buyers. However, do not go overboard and add a marble-tiled 20 square meter bathroom just because you like it. Again, look at other houses in your locality and see what size those second bathrooms are.

Forego the swimming pool. While pools look good in the movies, generally they turn off more people than they attract because of the perceived upkeep and maintenance costs. Also you will need to have space to install protective fencing around the pool.

Home renovations Auckland
Home renovations Auckland |artur84

Enjoy your renovation. Why wait until you are ready to move to have that new kitchen? Generally, a new kitchen will hold its value for one or two years. However, if you are thinking of a larger renovation such as adding new rooms or knocking one or more rooms into a single big living area, then you might want to review the financing of the project. You could save some extra cash or you might want to take out an extra mortgage.

On all these projects, those that add square footage to bring a house up to-but not beyond-community norms generally pay off the most. Clearly some Auckland suburbs do well with major house renovations especially inner city ones like Grey Lynn, Ponsonby and Parnell. There are many fantastic old villas that have been renovated and extended to create magnificent homes. But this does not apply across the board in all suburbs.

One of the best and easiest ways to get some advice if you are thinking about a significant house renovation is to ask a local real estate agent what they think. They will be able to give some thoughts on the viability of adding extra rooms or not. This will not be advice you can take to a mortgage lender but it will give you some pointers as to whether your plan has merit or will provide any financial return or if it will be over-capitalised.

If the real estate agent’s informal suggestions are positive, you can take it to the next step and get some ball-park estimates from home renovations companies and then ask a certified valuer for their formal opinion.

Finally, short-list two or three potential renovators and get fixed-price quotations including time schedules. Ask for details of previous satisfied customers so you can get some verification about this builder’s standard of work and their adherence to budget. It might be worth accepting a higher bid if that particular builder sticks to the agreed price rather than finding there are lots of additional expenses down the track.