SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN RENOVATING:
CALCULATORS ARE A GUIDE
A number of budget calculators are available online to provide a rough estimate of costs and help you plan. At the end of the day, calculators and online tools are a guide, National Australia Bank head of mortgages product management Robin Lim says. “Nothing can surpass professional advice from people who know what they’re doing.”
HAVE A PROPER BUDGET
Mortgage Choice spokeswoman Jessica Darnbrough says it’s a good idea to have a paper budget. It’s not good enough to have an idea or what you can spend or afford, she says. Write it down and formalise it in a spreadsheet and know exactly where the money is going.
GET A NUMBER OF QUOTES
NAB advises getting at least three quotes from builders or tradespeople, as they can vary widely. Ms Darnbrough says make sure you’re dealing with licensed contractors, suggesting seeking references or reviews from family and friends.
KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
Whether renovating for profit or lifestyle improvements, the biggest return on investment will likely come from sprucing up the bathroom or kitchen. “While these tend to be the more expensive rooms to renovate, by budgeting you can ensure the cost of the renovations is less than the value they will add to your property,” Ms Darnbrough says.
SHOULD YOU DIY?
DIY on even some of the easier tasks can help your budget but only if you have the necessary skills. “If you don’t think it’s in your skill set, don’t even try it from the start – seek professional help,” Ms Darnbrough says. “It’s not as easy as it looks on the shows, that’s for sure.”
It’s important to take into account the time required for a renovation as it is an inconvenience, Mr Lim says. In some instances it may require you to look for alternate living arrangements while the renovation is occurring. Ms Darnbrough says you should remember to seek and allow time to receive council approval for structural changes, and don’t underestimate the significance of street appeal if renovating for profit.