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You’ve completed your dream home but even after the last floorboard is laid and the final piece of furniture is in position, there are still a few jobs left to do.
As the Sydney Swans’ Luke Parker and partner, Kate Lawrence, discovered when building their inner Sydney duplex, even when the final whistle is blown, the game isn’t necessarily over. Once the tradies have left, the tools are packed away and a home is starting to look like a home, there are still some essential things to take care of.
At the top of the ‘to do’ list is sorting out home and contents insurance.
“Renovating a home is a thrilling prospect for most people, QBE national householders product manager, Angelo Colosimo says. “But it’s important to remember that when your living circumstances change, it’s likely your home and contents insurance policy should too.”
“Make sure you protect that exciting new home by insuring it correctly. Talk to your insurer and make sure you’re properly covered, should the unexpected happen.”
1. Sort out your insurance
As all builders should have, Luke and Kate’s builder had professional home warranty insurance to cover the building work. But when that wrapped up and it was time to move in, the couple organised their own home and contents insurance.
“We organised insurance for as soon as we were handed the keys,” says Kate.
“We have home and contents insurance and we have extra cover for events like our house burning down. When I was growing up, our family home burned down so I don’t think you can cut corners on insurance if you want peace of mind. It’s also important to understand exactly what an insurance policy covers.”
2. Do the final walkthrough
The final walk-through is a chance to pick up any minor details that need to be fixed. “It’s also a time to be shown how to use appliances,” says Kate. “You might think your oven isn’t working when the safety switch might just be turned off. The final walk-through with a builder is a chance to ask as many questions as you need to.”
3. Clean up
Some builders arrange for a cleaner to do a thorough clean-up at different stages of building and renovating. If yours has not included this perk, stock up on cleaning products and equipment, call on friends and organise a working bee to tackle windows, paintwork, floors, cupboards and any other part of your home that needs to sparkle.
4. Find your furnishings
It can take a few months for furniture to be made and delivered so think ahead. Measure what spaces you have for furniture so you don’t pick pieces that are too big or that will get lost.
“Look at sales while you’re building and if you see a bargain, buy it and keep it at the company’s warehouse until you move in,” says Kate. Her favourite piece is a light timber dining table with a parquetry-style top from Paddington. “I’ve wanted it for ages – it makes me feel like a real adult!” she laughs.
5. Choose homewares, rugs and accessories
Luke and Kate share their duplex with a ‘large slobbery dog’ so practicality was paramount when choosing a rug for the living area.
“A lot of rugs look beautiful in the store but add dogs and children and they don’t look beautiful for long!” she says.
They chose a sealed, stain-proof jute rug. Kate chose to decorate with neutral tones and linen for a minimalist look. “Our everyday dinnerware is plain but I also have beautiful ceramic plates that are my look but don’t touch plates. I like to keep things simple and pared back.”
6. Set up utilities and internet
It can take months to get nbn connected, so talk to your builder about when you should schedule your internet provider to be on site. “We added gas to the property too and you have to allow time for that. Just be aware of waiting times,” says Kate.
7. Set up a maintenance schedule
Luke maintains the pool and garden but the property is designed to be low maintenance. Don’t forget to regularly clean gutters and windows and schedule routine servicing for aircon and heating systems.