DATE: 31/10/2017
CATEGORY: Awesome news, Blog, Managing risk, Mortgages, Property Investment

stress less during the home renovation process

Kiwi’s don’t just love their homes, we also love the opportunity to improve, extend, redecorate or redesign our castles. In fact, the freedom to do up your home or investment property in the way you choose is one of the awesome benefits of property ownership.

Doing a house up to fit your grand design is exciting—but potentially stressful. With finances to raise, decisions to make, contracts to sign, contractors and subbies to watch…things seldom go to plan. Cost escalations, drama, conflict, and mayhem are just some of the stressors which can turn things less than sweet.

But there are a few simple things you can do to minimise the stress during the renovation process.

begin with why

Remind yourself of your vision. Why are you making changes?  Do you really need to redo everything? Does it have to be so big, grandiose etc.? Is a renovation the best way to go, or would you be better finding a new ready-made home, or going for a rebuild?

stay true to your vision

Watch out for expert “creep.” We created this term to describe the tendency for some architects, who are paid a percentage of the total cost of the build, getting you to scale everything up.

“Super-size me” they may be thinking as they make more and more suggestions—seemingly with your best interests in mind. While this may be true (bigger may be better) the opposite can also be true. The bigger the project the more money those on a percentage make and, if it’s truly grandiose, the more professional acclaim. Be mindful.


The best decisions are joint decisions made harmoniously with everyone achieving a win-win outcome. But, not everyone operates like this. The builder we chose before embarking on our recent major renovation is excellent at what he does, down to earth and helpful. Best of all he is genuinely interested in achieving an outcome everyone is happy with. The fact he’s still friends with his clients says it all. When we first met him he told us, “Work should be a joy. I go to work to have fun.”

balance head and heart

Go with logic and decide with heart – balance the two for powerful decisions.  Watch your stress levels. When you are calm and happy the quality of your decisions far exceeds those made when stressed out of your skull. This is a biological and neurological fact!

be prepared for chaos

Renovations ‘aint pretty! Things get destroyed. Change stresses some people out more than others. Know your ‘pain’ threshold. If things seem like they are spinning out of control, that there are too many things on the boil, or you just can’t stand the noise, find your bolt hole. Take a break.

It may be escaping to the movies, going for a massage to manage stress levels, or putting a hold on things and taking a few weeks out until your adrenaline and stress hormones regulate. Or you may decide not to live in while the renovations proceed.

Don’t let the stress of the project get to you. It’s not that important. It’s a home for goodness sake—and it’s not a home if you ‘ain’t there to enjoy it. Take stress seriously. Listen to your body barometer when everything’s stressing you out.

do the numbers

Be wary of spending too much, especially if there’s a risk of over-capitalising. That’s not to say ‘renovate to market’ and neglect your own needs, but do some due diligence. Do the numbers stack up in the short-term or longer-term. Are you investing in the future for a little pain now?

What’s the backup plan if it all goes pear-shaped? Can you get more finance? Raise some cash? Secure a loan from family? Rent the whole house out or just a room on Airbnb for extra cash? Or, worse scenario, sell?

Rather than suffer a financial meltdown later, is now, before you embark on your grand design, the time to scale back?

tap into expert advice

If you’re doing relatively major renovations it’s likely your bank will want a registered valuation outlining the impact of the changes you’re planning. Even if your bank doesn’t request a valuation it’s smart to consult other experts to get their feel for what you’re doing.

A good valuer will often recommend savvy enhancements to your initial ideas that can give you better bang for your Kiwi dollars, or give you an even more outstanding finish. A pre-renovation assessment from a valuer will also help you avoid over-capitalising and eroding valuable equity.

Ask your way to success. Seek out others who have finished remodelling projects similar to the one you are about to embark on. Knock on their door, ask if they could offer some advice. Very often, people are only too happy to help. Ask them what tips and ideas they can share with you, and what potential pitfalls you could avoid. Most people are very proud of the end result of their home rennovation and happy to share their experience.

It’s never too early to talk to a mortgage adviser. Make sure that you have a top-notch qualified professional on your side. An experienced mortgage expert will have helped many, many people like you. They can shed some light on the process, where to begin, what to do first, and also offer proactive advice on the pitfalls to watch out for, and how to bring together the team of experts you’ll need to ensure your home renovation project is a success.

good renovations start with good planning 

Done well, home improvements can be incredibly rewarding and exciting and can often be a better solution than selling your current house and changing homes. At least you know the bones of what you have, and you can put the money saved on real estate commission towards other costs. Like, getting professional advice from an architect or interior designer, or another professional with the skills and vision to update your home and give it a fresher feel.

With planning and foresight, including hiring the best team to bring your dream to fruition, knowing how to manage inevitable conflict and proactively managing stress levels, your house renovation can be fun and stress-free.



Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Managing risk, Mortgages, Property Investment

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