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The 5 biggest home renovation myths

According to the rash of so-called ‘reality’ shows, renovation can be done by anyone. But in this age of leaky homes and tightening building legislation, is that still the case? We look at five renovation myths that are damaging the industry – and potentially your home.

Myth #1: Renovation can be done by anyone

Renovation Myths exposed


Would you buy a home that had been ‘renovated’ by reality show contestants? Get real, says Rudy van Vlerken, Pzazz Building’s Kapiti-based affiliate.

“The so-called ‘reality’ renovation shows have created unreal expectations,” he says. “Most of the contestants don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years and I would never say I know everything.”

In addition to technical skills, designers and builders need to be aware of the growing volume of building legislation that needs to be followed in order to achieve compliance.

Renovation Myths exposed “The age of DIY is pretty much over,” says Rudy. “So much building work today can only be done by a Licensed Building Practitioner.”

The host of one of New Zealand’s most popular renovation ‘reality’ shows, Our First Home, agrees.
“I'd like to say I was an expert DIYer, but I'm not,” he says. “I'm smarter than that – I call in the guys who know what they're doing!”

Goran Paladin, pictured at left, is the host of Our First Home




Myth #2: It’s cheaper to do it yourself than to hire experts


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“On reality TV shows, labour costs are not normally factored in, so when homeowners are quoted a price that includes labour, they feel like they are being misled,” says Mike Bronswijk, Pzazz Building’s Waikato affiliate.

He notes that he is often called in on DIY jobs to repair the stuff-ups or damage that home owners have done.

“I’ve seen some horror stories,” he says. “What DIYers don’t realise is that it will generally take them 2 – 3 times longer to complete a project that an expert would, and they fail to factor in the cost of the additional disruption to their home and family – as well as the greater risks involved.”



Myth #3: You should always get 3 quotes

Renovation Myths exposed


“That would be fine if all quotes were for exactly the same thing, but unfortunately they’re not,” says Peter Billings, Pzazz Building’s Nelson affiliate. “Every builder has a different picture in their head on what projects will look like and what is included and not included. Home owners think they’re getting different prices for the same thing – they’re not.”

As one of the Nelson region’s most experienced and trusted building practitioners, Peter recommends that people ensure that any quote is detailed, in writing and compliant with recent changes to New Zealand legislation.

“Good renovation experiences are all about relationships, not just price,” says Peter. “We take care to understand exactly what our clients expect, and then deliver on those expectations.”



Myth #4: Renovation projects are always more expensive than estimated

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“There are plenty of cowboys out there who deliberately under-estimate in order to win projects,” says Isiah Reynolds, Pzazz Building’s Taranaki affiliate. “They try to make their money by adding in ‘extras’ that they didn’t include in the estimate.”

In contrast, Pzazz Building affiliates pride themselves on their accuracy and professionalism.

“One of the guarantees we make is our Fixed Price Guarantee for the work quoted,” says Isiah. “We stand by it because, for us, our clients’ peace of mind is everything.”



Myth #5: Renovation projects always take longer than planned

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“Not so,” says Janeen Paynter, Pzazz Building’s Welling and Hutt Valley affiliate. “Ninety percent of my clients express surprise when I complete my projects on time. I’m living proof that the notion of renovation contractors being unreliable and disorganised is a complete myth.”

Pzazz Building backs up its reputation for on-time completion with a Completion Date Guarantee. The only times that the Guarantee cannot be met, notes Janeen, are when unforeseen issues such as hidden rot are discovered after the project begins, or when clients make changes during the course of the project.

“Though I’m finding that clients don’t need to make changes now that we’re creating 3D models before projects start,” she says. See more on 3D modelling here.












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