Plan your home renovation and future

A successful renovation requires a well thought out process with distinct stages. Deborah Carlyon provides five fresh start strategies for success and tips to achieve your goals.

Achieving renovation goals
ARTICLE Deborah Carlyon

While most of us are great at coming up with ideas – relishing design, construction innovations, energy options, landscaping – the list is endless, planning for a renovation can be a little more complex. A successful home renovation requires a well thought out process with distinct stages.


Map out exactly what you want to achieve from your renovation; formulate your ideas along with your budget; then communicate it to your design and build company.


Expect them to translate your requirements into an architectural concept to show what will be built. A concept plan helps identify things that may not work out as you thought or will cost too much. Compromises can be made it at this visualisation stage.

Working drawings

Detailed drawings will map out the specifications and involve engineers and tenders from sub-trades. If your renovation is costing more than anticipated, make trade-offs to stay within budget.


Following all that planning, the detailed quote should be reliable. But always allow a contingency sum as it’s only when work starts that some unexpected structural factors may be revealed. Building and resource consents are dealt with at this stage.


With decisions made and all parties agreeing on the plan, it’s time to let the experts build and project manage your dream renovation.
Planning for a goal like a renovation or a holiday is easy because it is defined, short term and usually fun. Conversely, how many of us reflect at the start of each New Year on our whole lives and our finances – what have we achieved, where are we headed? Then we resign ourselves to another year of the same work-life routine.
Try applying your short term planning skills to life events, especially if financial baggage is holding you back. Here are 5 Fresh Start Strategies. They boil down to these steps. Dream. Equip. Plan. Step Forward. Enjoy.


Re-evaluate where your life is heading. What are some of those ‘really want to do’ things in terms of travel, family or career? Be specific not vague. Think about how you are going to get there. Having clear goals and priorities is the first step in the financial planning process, and once you’ve made your goals, ask – are you ready?

Equip yourself

This year move your skills forward, increase your own potential. Equip yourself with greater financial knowledge. Take steps to add to your employability skills.


Get organised – for each one of your goals and dreams tailor you’re your financial arrangements to match these. You have a goal to travel? Then earmark a separate account and save into it. If you want a certain lifestyle in retirement you have no choice but to plan for it. Don’t procrastinate on KiwiSaver any more!

Take the first steps

Alongside every goal on your list you should be able to write an action list. Break up the big goals into small steps. The first steps are, of course, the most important. That goal to get qualified? Pick up the phone and find out how to enrol. Your goal to buy a house? Find out from your bank how much you can borrow so you know the deposit you’ll need.


There’s something exhilarating about commencing on a journey. Defining your goals and taking concrete steps will make the process enjoyable.
Tips to making it easier to achieve your goals:
1. Write down your goals and priorities. It’s a good way to commit yourself to action. I have clients who still refer to plans drawn up 20 years ago – they’ve served as a reliable road map.
2. For every goal work out the cost and time frame. That dream of taking time out for volunteer work abroad? How much would you need for those 6 months? Will you rent out your house while you’re away?
3. Calculate. For retirement – do the numbers using the calculators on Sorted. Start by asking yourself how much you’d need each year. Then map out how you will meet it.
4. Allow for the unexpected. Build an emergency fund.
5. Automate what you can. Using automatic payments or deducting monies from your wages beforehand is a discipline; if you don’t see it you don’t spend it.
If your situation is too complex, get a good professional to put a financial plan in place with you. This is just like your architectural plan – it puts the facts and figures around your dreams and desires.
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This article by Deborah Carlyon from Stuart Carlyon featured on page 26 of Issue 013 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.


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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
Deborah is a Certified Financial Planner (CFPCM), a member of the Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) and an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA). She is a principal of independent advisory company Stuart + Carlyon. This column does not provide personalised advice. Deborah’s Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge by emailing

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