5 common property renovation project dilemmas

As a homeowner faced by the idea of renovating, you’ll raise a lot of questions. Asking questions is a good sign because the answers allow you to make informed decisions. But often, these questions are caused by confusion. So for the purposes of clarification, I’ve come up with the top 5 renovation dilemmas that homeowners have asked me about over the years

Should I renovate or build a new property?

To answer this question, you should ask yourself: do you intend to sell your property in the near future?

If you intend to sell, it’s more effective for you to renovate than to build something new from your property’s original footprint. That’s because every neighbourhood (or suburb, in general) has its own characteristics that influence property prices in that area. If you build new and it ends up being valued at $3 million in a $1 million neighbourhood, then you’ll likely encounter challenges when you put it on the market.

So if renovation becomes the more practical option for you, you should now be aware of ‘over-renovation’. This means that while you still want to add significant value to your property, you only have to focus on the things that appeal to buyers and what they’re willing to pay for given the characteristics of your neighbourhood.

Should I renovate now or later?

In Australia, you can renovate all year-round. However, there really are ideal times to do so, and it depends on three factors:

Timing. Even if you plan to work with a professional renovator, you should also make sure that you have the time to get involved in the renovation process. There’s a lot of things that goes on during renovation that warrants your attention and that need your decision.

Seasonality. On one hand, the end and the beginning of each year are typically when business is slow for contractors. This means that you might get a better deal. On the other hand, peak times like spring and summer can affect prices and turnaround times.

Affordability. This means that you should have enough funds to get the renovation project in motion. The last thing you want to happen is stop in the middle of an ongoing renovation because of budget constraints.

How much will I spend on renovation?

Every renovation project is unique, so ballpark figures can vary. But the good thing about that is when you work with a renovation expert, you’ll get an accurate estimate of the renovation costs well before work commences.

To give you an idea about what factors into the cost, you have to consider labor, materials, the duration of the project, the extent of the renovation, and the quality of the renovation you wanted. I’d strongly suggest you reach out to several contractors and get at least 3 quotes, so you can better make your decisions on who to work with.

How long does a renovation project last?

Typically, cosmetic renovations last from 4-6 weeks. But depending on the extent of the renovation, it may go beyond that time period. The key thing to consider when renovating is setting up a realistic schedule by thorough planning. If you end up setting an unrealistic schedule, it may generate extra costs, push back completion dates, and affect the entire workflow organisation.

How do I get started on my renovation?

This is the usual question raised by property owners. That’s especially when they haven’t been involved in any renovation projects prior. For me, I believe that the best way to get started is by performing due diligence on your own property. The renovation has to comply with applicable zoning laws and has to have the necessary permits.

In addition, an inspection of your property’s systems has to be done prior to any renovation work. Standard home systems include plumbing, electrical, and structural systems.

If you decide to work with a renovation expert, you usually get a written specification detailing the scope of work, the schedule of work, work order and distribution, and the things that you need to prepare before work gets started.

Should I move out or stay while the renovation is ongoing?

If you have the means and budgets, then move. Providing an ample workspace for contractors to do their job is important throughout the renovation period. However, if you have an area-specific renovation, like kitchen-only or bathroom-only renovation, then you can stay provided that you have an alternative area to continue with your lifestyle. That is, where to cook, where to shower, etc.

If you won’t be able to temporarily relocate, what you can do is to assign a space where all of your belongings can be placed undisturbed. If you want, you can rent a storage room to temporarily hold your things. What’s important is that the renovation work can flow seamlessly without concerns about causing damage to your belongings.

The key towards completing a successful renovation is being fully informed. Being fully informed means that you can make informed decisions. When you make informed decisions, you can minimise the risks. And when you minimise risks, you’ll be able to complete the project in a timely manner and in a cost-effective way.

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