What are you trying to achieve as the end result? Are you renovating to sell in the hope of achieving a higher price? Is the renovation for personal reasons, such as needing a larger home for your family? Are you in a position (financially and emotionally) to go through the process of renovation?
Then, it’s time to get your calculator out. Work out the cost of your renovations by getting several quotes from reputable tradespeople, builders or architects to ensure you’re not going to blow your budget or overcapitalise and end up with more debt than your property is worth.
Knowledge is power, so it’s wise to know as much as you can about your local area, too.
“Research is the key, along with the expert advice of a good local agent who knows the market well, says Michelle Delaney, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Australia. “That way you can make an informed decision and make the right choice for the investment in your home.”
If you’re considering renovating…
There’s no doubt renovating can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you’re planning to stay in your home to enjoy the finished product, whether it’s a new kitchen or a pool. Regardless, you should consider what value any improvement to your property will add to your home in the long term. “A good question to ask yourself is whether the property will remain in line with the current market and demographics of the area,” says Michelle. “Or will a major renovation price you out?”
There are degrees of renovation, from a fresh coat of paint and a tidy up to a full-blown knock-down of walls or the addition of a second storey. Again, consider your end goal to determine what level of renovation you’ll undertake. Can you live there while the work is being undertaken? Or will you need to live elsewhere until the work is finished? And remember, you will need council approval if your work is of a significant scope, so always check with your local council to find out what you need to do before you get started.
Or considering selling…
Even seasoned renovators will tell you it’s a big commitment, so you should ask yourself if it’s a process that will suit your lifestyle, personality and time (or willingness) to supervise the work in progress. Depending on your circumstances, sometimes it is better to look for another suitable property to purchase in the area. You might find your dream home and not have to go through the renovation at all.
If you do decide to sell, or think it’s worth investigating, the first step is to get an appraisal done. It’s a simple process, where an agent will take a good look over your property and then come back to you with an estimation of what they think your property is worth. Michelle recommends owners get three separate opinions from reputable agents to get the most accurate picture, and use the process as a preliminary ‘interview’ process for potential agents. “Also, drive around your area and see which agent is the most proactive in the market place – the listed and sold signs will tell you,” she advises. “You will know when you meet the agent whether you think they are right for you. Follow your instincts.”
Other factors to consider
The age of your property is also worth considering in the renovate versus sell decision. As properties age, they can require more drastic intervention to bring them up to date, which can mean a bigger and more costly renovation. If you’re unsure, seek the advice of a local builder who can check the foundations and structural integrity of the building as a starting point.
The size of the land is also a factor to consider, along with current market conditions. Speaking to friends who have renovated in the area is helpful in order to get a more personal insight on the ins and outs of the process. Ask them whether they felt the process was worthwhile, from both a lifestyle and financial perspective.
Whichever way you go, just be sure to do your due diligence and you’ll be well equipped with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.