Over the past 15 years or so, renovation shows have been hugely popular both here in Australia and abroad as well-
This has seen a surge in people planning to renovate their homes- then setting out to do just that. Meanwhile, chains like Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware are laughing all the way to the bank as they rake in huge profits from our new favourite pastime.
But before you boldly walk out the door and prepare to bring your grand plans to life, it’s essential you do your homework first. Failure to do so could lead to some costly mistakes. Before you hammer in a single nail or lay a lick of paint, make sure you go through these 10 things first:
#1. What’s Your Motive?
What are the reasons you want to renovate? Is it to:
– Improve your own home due to the growing needs of your family?
– Improve an investment property to capitalize on its rental income?
– Renovate for profit – to buy and renovate a property quickly to gain income?
Once you’ve done this, it’s much easier to identify what needs to be acted upon and what you don’t need to worry about. This can make thousands of dollars’ difference to what you spend.
#2. Sort Out Your Finances
Aside from your reasons for renovating, the most important element that determines what you do is your finances. Knowing how much you have to spend influences your choices. Make sure you shop around for the best finance offer available to you.
#3. Research, Research, Research
Before you buy a property, you need to research what the market is doing. Compare the value of properties in the same area that have similar specifications to the finished look you intend to achieve from your renovation.
There are two major problems to watch out for with renovation works:
1. Going over budget
2. Overcapitalising the property – spending too much so the costs end up higher than the property’s value.
To avoid overcapitalizing, get at least two builders to give you a quote on the work you want done and make sure they are pricing on the same specifications and finishes. That way you’re comparing apples to apples.
Most renovations go over budget by 10% so factor that into your costs.
It’s also wise to ask two local real estate agents to estimate the value of the finished home before you start any work. This information helps you decide if renovating is the right option for you.
#4. Make Plans
Get some objective advice by talking to a couple of architects about your ideas for the home. Draw up a rough sketch of what you want to do and discuss your options with them.
Next, you need to go to the local Council and check how easy it is to get planning permission for what you intend to do.
Be organised! Think about everything from packing up and storing goods that are in the affected zones, to checking out images and samples of what you love so you can select the finishes you want.
Have a clear vision of what you’re setting out to achieve and stages set out of when it will take place.
#6. The Art Of D.I.Y
Doing some of the work yourself saves money. Consider what skills you have and know your limits. You need time to do the work, so if you are time- poor, it might be best to leave it to the professionals.
Renovate cost effectively. Shop around for materials and supplies. There are often huge variations in the cost of products, and there are a variety of materials that can achieve the same look. Look online for deals and also think outside the box by considering second hand materials or revamping materials you may already have. For example, you might not have to change all the kitchen cabinets, you might just need new appliances, cupboard doors or bench tops- these can all achieve what you want at a lower cost.
#8. Choose The Right Builders
This is one of the most important aspects of a successful renovation. You need to decide if you’re going to hire a builder to oversee all of the work, or if you’re going to subcontract the work to independent contractors as an owner- builder.
Recommendations are the best way to find a good and reliable builder. Ask friends and family, local hardware stores or knock on the door of houses you like in the area that have been recently renovated and ask who was used for the works. It’s vital that you inspect other projects the builders have completed so you know they have the skills required for your renovation. Once you’ve decided on who to go with, make sure you have a contract you understand that covers everything from finishes to extras, just in case an unforeseen issue pops up in the building process. Try and be on site as much as possible and have open communication with the builders.
If you’re renovating to sell, use finishes that appeal to the majority of buyers. While you may love purple walls, other people may not. I’ve been called in for colour consultancy on a number of homes that have been on the market for ages without a buyer. While the homes themselves were great, the problem was the décor and the colours.
Dark, strong and multi-coloured walls and furnishings are not always popular, and buyers often won’t see past their first, overpowering impression. With a coat of neutral toned paint and a little decluttering, these properties sold within two weeks of making the changes. So, make sure you keep the look fresh and light, and add your colour through accessories.
Finally, how you present the home to the market is very important. Be objective and look at the home as if you were a buyer. Visit other homes that are for sale and see which ones you prefer and get ideas on the way they are presented.
So now, with these guidelines you’re geared to go forth and plunge into the adventurous world of renovating.