Renovating a home is a lot like having children… before you experience it first hand, you wonder why everyone seems to find it so challenging.

Even a small renovation project can take up a great deal of your time and headspace. If you are busy with your job while trying to upgrade your home, life can quickly become very stressful.

Here are a few tips to help create a more seamless process when you build or renovate in Mosman.

Plan, plan, plan

Your very first step to renovate your home is to be clear about what you want. Spend some time doing research to get a feel of what’s out there and what’s possible. Fortunately you can do a lot of this from home by looking at websites like or Pinterest.

The first person you call should be your real estate agent, who can make practical recommendations to improve the value, looks and functionality of your home. Even if you don’t plan to sell in the short term, having this advice makes sense so you always have a place with market appeal.

For a major renovation, the next thing to do is schedule some time with a building designer. If you’re not able to meet them in person, schedule a draftsman to come over, perhaps on the weekend, to measure your home and prepare an accurate floor plan. Take lots of photos and some videos to walk your designer through your existing property. It’s likely that the builder will measure again but having clear details like this will be very helpful for the planning stage.

An interior designer is an essential contact for anyone who doesn’t have hours of time to devote to choosing tapware, flooring or figuring out where every light should be placed. These experts can also work remotely and catch up with you in after-hours video calls to talk about your preferences.

As part of their service, your interior designer will create shortlists based on your taste and your budget. They will also research the pros and cons of each choice; for example full timber floors vs tiles or engineered timber.

Designers also have a great deal of hands on experience. They’ll know which brands and products to steer clear of based on their past projects, insider knowledge and client feedback. With them on your side, every decision will be easier and will take less time.

No matter how busy you are, you will also need to make time to meet with your Mosman builder. Share your plans, walk them through all the details and introduce them to your home designer and interior designer. Often questions can be asked and problems resolved between these people without you having to be there.

Have back ups

You can spend hours debating tile choices with your partner, only to realise the option you can agree on is unavailable.

When you’re occupied with work, it can be very frustrating to suddenly hear that the stunning Italian bathroom tiles you found online have sold out and won’t be available in Australia until 2025.

It doesn’t hurt to have a few back up options just in case. As an alternative, when you make a decision, get your designer to ring the manufacturer and make sure what you want is actually in stock.

In these times, aim to shop as local as possible. This will minimise the risk of delays due to delivery setbacks.

Hire a project manager

It is not possible to liaise with your builder throughout the day when you’re flat out at work. However, your builder needs to be able to get answers so they can coordinate tradespeople, decide exactly where the towel rails should be mounted and check if you want add-ons that you may not have thought about during the planning process.

With a project manager on board, you won’t be constantly interrupted by phone calls during your renovation. They can make non-major decisions without you and keep the project flowing.

Of course, some questions will need your attention. Put time in your diary, either at the beginning or the end of every day when you can speak with your project manager. This way they will know they can reach you and you won’t come home to features and changes you never signed off on.

Your project manager will also take over ordering materials and items so they are ready when needed. For example, the dishwasher will be one of the last things installed in your new kitchen but the plumber will need it early on so he/she can prepare all the connection points. The same goes for your showerhead, toilet, taps and basins.

It is difficult and time consuming to go back and start again if you realise the bathtub you ordered doesn’t connect correctly to the drain. Having a project manager means things are far less likely to slip through the cracks and interrupt the flow of your renovation.

Move out

Coming home to a building site after a long day is not pleasant. Even a small renovation project on a Mosman home means lots of dirt and your belongings in disarray. When you upgrade a kitchen or bathroom, the home can be unlivable.

Especially if you’re working, try to find a place to rent somewhere close by for the duration of your project. This way you can still live in comfort and not have the stress of builders showing up first thing in the morning.

Allow for setbacks

Every project will have a few stumbling blocks which impact the timelines.

A project manager helps minimise delays but some are unavoidable. Be prepared for everything to take a little longer than initial estimates and you will be less stressed when you get a call with bad news.

No renovation project is stress-free but just like having kids… it will definitely be worth the effort. Once everything is complete, you will have a beautiful, modern, convenient home which is more liveable and valuable.

Want advice on smart, cost-effective upgrades for your Mosman home? Contact De Brennan Property.

Jonathon De Brennan & team

Jonathon De Brennan & team

As Principal of De Brennan Property, I'm proud to offer a bespoke real estate service for clients with properties located in and around Mosman. Having repeatedly delivered record results across Sydney’s Lower North Shore, our proven home sale strategies achieve enviable prices for local, expat and international clientele. Your property campaign will be unique and tailored specifically to your property and it's ideal buyer. You'll receive daily contact from me alongside a personalised level of service from my dynamic team.

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