Northbridge / Castlecrag

Real Talk

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Ratings juggernauts like The Block and House Rules would have us believe that renovating is a simple way to get a dream home and significantly add to the value of your property at the same time.

But to get the home you want, without having to take out a second mortgage to pay for the renovations, there are some simple but little-acknowledged strategies and tips you can use to get your ideal result.

Get Your Costs Right
It is fairly obvious that to get the right result from your renovation project, you need to have a budget. But how do you arrive at the right amount to save for? Property experts say that the first step is to get your home valued, as it is.

This gives you a “base line” figure to work from. For example, if your home is worth $500,000, it does not make much sense to spend $200,000 gutting the interior and completely changing the structural layout.

On the other hand, for that same $500,000 home, a kitchen renovation worth around $25,000 would probably represent a good investment. That’s because that figure makes up 5% of the value of the house, and kitchens are one of the most used and scrutinised rooms of any home.

Remember that the goal of renovations is to add value to your home. A simple rule of thumb is that for every dollar you spend, you should see two dollars increase to your home valuation.

Get Professional Help
Getting professional quotes from architects, landscapers, and builders before you begin is also a great way to make sure your costs are realistic. These people deal with renovations and building work every day, so their best estimates are likely to be much closer to the correct figure than anybody else.

Target Your Investment
Getting expensive imported European accessories for every room in the house will blow your budget within a week, but quality is important as well, so cost should not be the sole focus.

As a general guideline, spend larger amounts on higher use areas like the kitchen, family room and bathrooms, and save costs in lower traffic areas like the spare bedroom, storage rooms and garage.

Embrace Technology
Technology makes buying and selling homes simpler, but it can also make renovating more efficient and effective. For example, the Paint My Place app lets you take a photo of a room and “paint” it with over 25,000 colours on your phone or tablet, which means no more paint sample pots!

Another useful and practical app is the DIY Handyman Toolbox, which groups all of the calculations and conversion measurements you’ll need when renovating in one place.

And for inspiration, Pinterest is like a dedicated renovating magazine shop with literally thousands of “boards” dedicated to renovating and decorating ideas.

Build a Back-Up Fund
Finally, the best thing you can do after budgeting for your renovation is to add 10% - 20% to the final figure. No matter how well prepared and careful you are with your planning, the law of renovations will mean that something unforeseen will come up, and when it is unforeseen, it is usually expensive.

Do not budget to the last cent then find yourself caught short during your renovation. In a best-case scenario, you will not need to use it, and you can use it to upgrade your existing renovation choices!

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