So you’re thinking about renovating your home. I get it. It’s such an exciting experience. Not only does it allow you to personalise your living space, but it also increases the value of your property. Now that’s just living the dream!

But that home renovation dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. In fact, there are many horror stories of renovators who made costly mistakes, leading to months of delays, unforeseen expenses, and even safety risks.

For example, ignoring building codes and regulations and installing an unsafe gas heater can lead to a gas leak. That’s dangerous!

You can ensure a smooth and successful renovation project by being aware of common mistakes and taking the necessary steps to avoid them. So, for this article, we chatted to the expert team at Sure Space, and Master Builder, Darren Long. 

Follow their recommended guidelines below so you can achieve your renovation goals while staying safe, on budget, and on time!

1. Planning Mistakes

Lack of Planning

They say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” It’s essential to take the time to plan out your project. Think about your budget and your timeline. Research, weigh, and decide on the quality of the material you want to use. Read up on the standards and codes to ensure you comply, and make sure you consider your specific needs and preferences, such as the layout and functionality of your space.

Underestimating the Budget

Renovating your home can be full of surprises, and sometimes they’re not the good kind. When the bills keep coming, you’ll realise there are smaller costs that you haven’t considered at all and there are issues you can’t possibly predict and prepare for. Factor in all expenses — from the “big’ ones, such as labour and materials, to the small ones, like light switches, plug sockets, light fittings, and plastering. Lastly, be sure to have a contingency budget in case something goes wrong.

Ignoring Building Codes and Regulations

Building codes and regulations are put in place to ensure safety and compliance with local laws. Ignoring these regulations can lead to penalties, fines, or even legal action. Additionally, if you ever decide to sell your home, you may find that it is difficult or impossible to obtain the necessary permits and approvals if your renovations were not carried out in accordance with the relevant codes and regulations. It’s important to research and understand the regulations and obtain the necessary approvals before beginning any work.

Not Considering The Resale Value of The Property

While it’s essential to create a space that meets your needs, it’s also important to consider the potential resale value of your property. Over-customising or choosing trendy designs may not appeal to a wider audience if you decide to sell your home in the future.

2. Hiring Mistakes

Hiring Unlicensed Or Inexperienced Contractors

This may seem like an attractive option due to lower costs, but it’s a mistake that can result in costly and time-consuming problems. The quality of work can be sacrificed, and it can result in legal and financial risks. So do your research and ensure the contractor you choose is licensed, insured, and experienced in the type of work you need. This will ensure that the work is done to a high standard and meets the required approvals.

Not Doing Enough Research On Contractors

Researching potential contractors is essential to finding the right fit for your project. Read reviews, ask for referrals, and check their portfolio of past work. You should also ask to see their license and insurance documents and ensure they have the necessary qualifications for the job.

Not Getting Multiple Quotes

It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different contractors to compare prices and services. However, be wary of quotes that are significantly lower than others, as this may be a sign of poor quality or hidden fees.

Not Having A Written Contract With The Contractor

Having a written contract with your contractor is essential to protect both parties involved. The contract should include a detailed scope of work, timelines, payment schedules, and any other relevant information. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings.

3. Design Mistakes

Ignoring The Overall Style Of The Property

If you have a modern home, a traditional design might not fit in with the overall aesthetic. On the other hand, if you have a period home, a contemporary design might look out of place. The goal is to ensure that you create a cohesive and unified design. ignoring the style can result in a disjointed and unappealing look that doesn’t flow well throughout the space. This can detract from the value and appeal of the property.

Choosing Trendy Over Timeless Designs

While it might be tempting to opt for the latest design trends, it’s important to remember that these can quickly become dated. Trends come and go, and when the time comes to replace them, it can be costly. Instead, consider classic designs that will stand the test of time.

Over Customising To Personal Taste

While it’s important to create a home that reflects your personal style and taste, going too far can result in a property that is difficult to sell, or that doesn’t add value to the property in the long run. When renovating, think about the wider market and potential future buyers. If you’re planning to sell your property in the future, consider timeless design choices rather than solely focusing on trends or personal taste.

Before After Home Renovation Inner West Sydney Master Builder
Photo: Before/After Renovation by Sure Space

Not Considering Functionality or Practicality

Consider these two factors in addition to aesthetics. Failing to do so can result in inefficient use of space, poor flow and functionality, safety issues, reduced resale value, and costly modifications.

4. Structural Mistakes

Not Inspecting The Property For Existing Issues

Before embarking on a renovation project, inspect the property for any existing issues. Check for water damage, structural and electrical issues, safety concerns, and so on. If your property has asbestos or lead paint, you may need to get a specialist to take care of that. If you find that you property has a leaky roof, you might need to do extensive repairs before any other work can be done.

Not Addressing Foundation Problems

These problems can include cracks in the foundation, uneven settling, shifting or movement of the foundation, and more. These issues can cause significant problems throughout the home, including cracks in walls or ceilings, sloping floors, or even water damage.

Not Upgrading Electrical or Plumbing Systems

If your property has outdated electrical or plumbing systems, it’s important to upgrade these systems before starting any renovation project. This can help to prevent future issues and ensure that your property is up to code.

Removing Load-bearing Walls Without Professional Advice

Removing load-bearing walls without professional advice can be dangerous and costly. Consult with a structural engineer before making any major changes to the structural integrity of your property.

5. Timing Mistakes

Starting The Project During The Wrong Season

We experience a range of weather patterns throughout the year. Depending on the project, certain materials may only be available during certain seasons. For example, landscaping materials may be more readily available during the spring and summer months. Starting a renovation project outside of the appropriate season may result in delays due to material availability. If you’re planning an outdoor renovation, it might not be practical to start during the rainy season.

Not Allowing Enough Time For The Project

Renovation projects can take longer than expected. It’s important to allow enough time for unexpected delays and to ensure that the project is completed to a high standard.

Not Coordinating With Suppliers & Contractors

Coordinating with suppliers and contractors is critical to ensure that materials and workers are available when needed. Work closely with your suppliers so you can secure the best prices for materials. Working closely with contractors can help ensure that the project is completed efficiently and within the agreed-upon budget.

Not Factoring In Unexpected Delays

No matter how well-planned a renovation project is, unexpected issues can arise, such as hidden structural problems, unpredictable weather, availability of materials and workers, or unforeseen changes to local regulations. If you’re not anticipating these, you will only get frustrated.


Renovating a property is an exciting venture that can add value and functionality to your space. However, there are common mistakes that can be costly and time-consuming if not avoided. Planning, hiring, design, structural, and timing mistakes are all factors to consider when renovating.

By avoiding these mistakes and working with a reputable and experienced contractor, you can ensure a successful home renovation project that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

At Sure Space, they understand the importance of avoiding these mistakes and ensuring a seamless renovation process. As trusted renovation and addition specialists in Sydney’s Inner West and Eastern Suburbs, they take pride in their workmanship and customer satisfaction.

If you wish to chat with Darren and the team about your vision and help you transform your space into your dream home, give them a call on 0434114404 or check out their listing here.

For more goodness and advice on bathroom renovations check out our articles here
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