When Is The Best Time To Renovate?

Winter Might Not be The Worst Time to Renovate

As winter sets in, if you are planning a renovation, extension or home addition, you may be thinking that you wouldn’t want you and your house to be exposed to the elements at this time of year. But is that correct?

Weather is one consideration, and there are several other factors that should influence your thinking and answer the question: when is the best time to renovate?

Factor #1: Availability of Builders and Trades

The building industry has its own peaks and troughs outside of any other economic factors. Knowing when those lulls are could help you find a wider array of good builders to choose from.

It used to be true to say that the building industry would shut down over the Christmas and New Year period, and that meant writing off late December and most of January.

However, this isn’t the case nowadays, and January may in fact be the best time to start your project as builders often have spare capacity at this time of year.

This ‘window’ may not last long, and there is no guarantee that this will always be there due to factor #2.

Factor #2: Big Events

Whether it’s the global financial crisis or a huge weather event that damages a number of properties in Sydney, the availability of good builders or cheaper finance can change dramatically depending on such external situations.

Whilst unpredictable, something like a speed bump in the economy can also create opportunity as there may be more quality builders to choose from and, once the economy settles back down, interest rates may be lower, which leads us to….

Factor #3: Your Finances

You’ll find an array of helpful articles in our home improvement blog ranging from the different ways you can raise finances, the issue of over-capitalising, to the question of which extensions add the most value to your home.

However, one overriding factor will be your personal circumstances and what other commitments you may have made that you need to consider.

Building work will probably be your second largest expense after buying your home, and whilst typically an addition or extension will raise the value of your property, that only comes into play if you ever sell your home.

Typically people take out loans to finance their home improvement, so understanding what your commitments are during the period of repayments is crucial to your ability to gauge if the timing is right for you.

Other finance factors like interest rates are beyond your control but should be considered. Whilst the interest rates we are now experiencing can’t go on forever, it certainly has been a particularly good time to borrow with rates currently at an all time low.

Factor #4: Your Circumstances

Outside of your personal finances, there may be other considerations that will dictate when the best time is to commence a building project.

If you intend to host the family over Christmas, and you are relying on the extra space coming from a building project, you have an obvious deadline to meet.

As this is a common scenario, we feel it’s important to mention that this means December is often the worst time to be finishing up a big project as spare capacity is low and the ability of a builder to pull in favours to finish a project reduced.

Our advice is to ensure that you plan your building work well in advance to ensure you have all the necessary things in place – builder, finance, council approval – and also leave some time at the end for unavoidable over-runs. So aiming to finish by the end of spring is our tip.

And given the nature of planning and executing a building project, that means you should start thinking about your project at least a whole year in advance – and that means soon!

A year sounds like a long time, but remember this includes the time to research what you want, choosing your designer or architect (tip: choosing a company like Addbuild who can design and build your alterations will usually save you time), choosing your builder, the Development Application process (again Addbuild can look after this as part of our ‘concept to completion‘ service) and then the actual construction.

In our experience of managing hundreds of Development Applications, we know that getting approval through your local council can take as long, if not longer, than the actual construction process.

Factor #5: Weather Patterns

No, we didn’t forget. This is last, because in reality, it might be the least of the factors.

We understand why some people focus on weather: if you are adding a floor, the project includes a period of time between the removal of your roof and ‘lock up’ – the term used for when your building has been made as water-tight as possible whilst the addition is being completed underneath.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the amount of rainfall and the temperature are therefore key, but this is actually a case of ‘swings and roundabouts’. Going on the historical averages, it does rain more often and is colder in winter, but winter storms are generally less intense than those in summer.

In truth, bad weather and storms can happen at any time, and Addbuild – as additions specialists with over 35 years of experience – can cope in all conditions. We have various ways of securing your home and can quickly attend to any repairs should the worst happen.

If you are still researching your plans for home alterations, you may find our popular (and free) consumer guide to worry-free home improvement a great starting place, as well as other articles in our blog. You can also sign up to our Home Alterations Masterclass.

If your plans are more advanced and you are looking for a builder specialising in extensions, additions and renovations, we’d love to hear from you, so please contact us or call our helpful team on (02) 8765 1555.

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