To Renovate Or Not To Renovate?

Updated: Oct 15, 2018

As Hamlet would say, “That is the question.” Deciding whether to renovate your current home or upgrade to another home is in fact a very big financial decision that needs to be weighed very carefully.

First of all you will need to determine your financial situation. This means contacting your lender or mortgage broker, having a valuation undertaken of your current home and finding out how much you can borrow without overstretching yourself financially. Then you can do the number crunching on how much a renovation would cost and compare it to the cost of buying another house that better suits your current needs.

When you are doing your calculations be absolutely sure to include items such as Council fees in your renovation costs and selling, buying and moving costs if buying another house, including selling agent’s fees, pest and building inspections, bank fees, removal costs and stamp duty. For a renovation you also need to consider the costs of living elsewhere while the building work is being carried out.

Do your research thoroughly

If you decide on renovating as your favoured option visit your local Council to determine what, if any, renovations would be allowable on your site and if there are any heritage issues, easements, water pipes etc that could disallow or change your plans.

Visit display homes and building materials, kitchen and bathroom suppliers to gather ideas and get an idea of costs so you can decide on the quality of materials and fittings that will fit within your budget. When you sit down with your architect or building designer you will then be able to brief them well on your own ideas before they design your renovation.

Ask around for referrals to find reliable builders and tradespeople in your local area. Internet is also a good resource for finding local tradies. While you are getting quotes from them, make use of the free consultations to find out as much as you can about each stage of the building process, ways you could save money and fresh ideas that may not have occurred to you!

Both moving house and renovating are often cited as stressful life events. Approach either in a cool-headed, well-informed manner, however, seek the right professionals to help you and you will come out a winner.

Deciding what you need

After you have determined your budget sit down and weigh up your needs and wants. What are your priorities? Do you have an emotional attachment to your current location or would you be happy buying a new or fully renovated home, possibly in a suburb with lower property values so you can afford something larger? If you decide on renovating can you reduce costs by doing some of the work yourself or with the help of friends and family? Could you stay with a family member during the renovation to save on rent?

Here is how one couple went about it

Simon, a building designer, and Tanya, a graphic designer, had bought a three-bedroom semi in a trendy inner-city suburb when they were first married. By the time their third child arrived, the small house was bursting at the seams and they needed to make the decision to renovate or move house.

They wanted to stay in the area and, after looking at suitable homes for sale and comparing the cost of buying a larger home against the cost of renovating, they calculated that renovating would be the cheaper option if they stayed in the home throughout the renovation process rather than paying exorbitant rent for a temporary home big enough for a family of five.

All the family’s household goods except the bare necessities were piled into two bedrooms and the hallway. The children all slept in one bedroom at the front of the house, while the parents slept in the storage space in the roof. A temporary shower and toilet were installed in the small living room and that’s where the family cooked, ate and bathed for almost a year while the rear of the house was demolished and a new light-filled modern extension built including mezzanine master bedroom. bathroom, large kitchen and open plan living and dining area opening out to a rear courtyard.

The pair managed to save further money as Simon, of course, designed the extension himself, they shopped around assiduously on the net for bargains on building materials and items such as lighting and tapware and they undertook some of the final detailing such as painting themselves.

Simon and Tanya both freely admit that the living conditions during the renovation were horrendous but they now have a beautiful home with plenty of room for their growing family and the clever, cost-effective additions have vastly increased the home’s value.

At The Mind That Creates we can take a whole lot of stress out of renovating or knock-down rebuild projects, from designing your project and drawing up plans for Council, to doing highly accurate and comprehensive costings and taking expert care with your build using a trusted team of tradespeople. Call us today to discuss your needs and ideas.

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