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Renovating your home is both exciting and, at the same time, nerve-racking. When you renovate your home, you invest everything in it: your finances, your emotions, and just as importantly, your time. But what if that renovation doesn’t meet your expectations? What if that second story addition doesn’t go well? What if your house doesn’t turn out to be the way you wanted it to be?  To avoid that scenario, we have prepared ten questions for you to ask a home renovation builder before you commit.

1. Are you skilled and experienced enough?

This question is one of the more critical questions to ask your renovation builder. Make sure that your renovation builder has an abundant knowledge of renovation, home styles, council areas, and heritage rules. This is because every home renovation is different, and some builders prefer to specialise in certain areas. What renovation one builder may be suited towards completing another may struggle with. Ask your builder how long they have been renovating residential homes and how many they have completed to get a scope of their expertise.

2. What are your testimonials like?

Ask the renovation builder for some testimonials from old clients, or view them for yourself on the builder’s website. Most residential renovators will make it easy to read or watch their testimonials there. Pay more attention to recent testimonials or reviews as they will better reflect the builder at the current time as opposed to how the builder was years in the past.

3. What services do you perform?

It is important that you ask your renovation builder about their services, because as above, some are specialised. This factor is essential because all renovation workers might not include many benefits. Be sure to ask them about any plans, if you do not have any. Ask whether they would arrange the necessary materials or if it is a task that you should do.

4. Can I still live at my home?

Your builder will always tell you it depends on the builder’s and your needs. Our How To Live at Home During Your Renovation article gives you some tips on what to expect when you’re staying, but your specific needs should be discussed with your builder beforehand. Your children’s school needs, your pet requirements, your tolerance for noise, and your spare space all need to be communicated effectively.

5. Are you licensed?

This is a commonly overlooked factors of renovating builders. Many people do not check whether the builders are licensed or not and go after convenient rates. Find out a builder’s license number either by asking them or seeing it on their website or advertising (it’s a requirement that the number is visible on pretty much all sorts of advertising,) and then checking the details online here. This website can tell you when the builder obtained the license and when it will expire, as well as if they have incurred any warnings or insurance claims.

6. Do you have any insurance?

Every licensed builder will have insurance. For every home building project over $20 000, builders need to take out Home Building Compensation (HBC). Builders also need to show you proof of their HBC cover before starting any work.

7. How do I pay?

Everybody’s financial situation is different, but you can rest assured that nobody pays upfront! Some businesses such as Sandcastle Finance work with banks to offer you construction loans, which are home loans with special construction conditions. Payments are then made to your builder as each stage in the building process is completed.

8. How long will it take?

As each renovation is unique, and each builder has a unique timetable, it is impossible to know without much prior communication and planning between you and your builder. Allowances also have to be made for delays beyond anyone’s control, such as poor weather or supply issues, as well as extra time for variations to your contracted plans you may decide to add. You can, however, ask if your builder will pay you a penalty if they build over their schedule.

9. Do you have any other jobs?

If your builder has many projects in their schedule, your home renovation may have to wait additional weeks or months before commencement. At certain times of year and in extenuating circumstances, this cannot be avoided so some patience is required. On the other hand, if your renovation builder is free to start today, this could be a cause for concern if other builders are very busy. Of course, you could just get very lucky with the timing!

10. What if something goes wrong?

While this is often covered in detail during contract signing, it’s best to get a broad understanding earlier on in the renovation. Understand your builder’s process if there are delays, accidents, or problems so you’ll be prepared for what will happen in any scenario.


Do you need some advice on how to renovate your home? Do you want to know how to transform your house into the home of your dreams? Do you also live on Sydney’s North Shore or along Sydney’s Northern Beaches?

If you answered yes to all these questions, it is time we meet. We’re one of the leading home renovation builders in Sydney, so give us a ring on 9417 5777 today.