Dreaming of renovating? Don't touch that hammer just yet

What’s your vision for your Melbourne property? Dreaming of an addition? Or is a revamped kitchen more what you had in mind?

Renovations are a great way to increase resale value and change the way you feel about your home. That said, projects of any size can be expensive and disruptive. That’s why we’ve created this checklist – an essential step-by-step guide to responsible renovation.

1. The three P’s – Prioritise, Pick, Plan

Take a look around your home – what do you want to change? Many property owners have a long wish list of adjustments, from finishing off an unsightly utility room to painting the front door. Some are big and some are small, so decide what’s important to you.

Once you know which project you want to get started on, begin making early plans around what you’d like the finished product to look like.

What area in your home do you want to update?

2. Crunch the numbers

Next, determine what you can afford.

At this phase, come up with an estimate of your total spend. It’s important to be flexible as unexpected costs can always crop up. Keep in mind the risk of overcapitalisation. You don’t want your renovation spend to outweigh the resale value add.

With large projects, it could be a good option to refinance. This is a big decision, so work closely with your lender, broker and dedicated agent.

3. Consult the calendar

While you might be eager to get to work, hold off until you’ve fully planned. Renovations can disrupt your life so it’s always best to expect the unexpected. Work could take longer than anticipated and become a major hassle.

It’s always best to expect the unexpected.

That’s why finding the most suitable time is imperative. If you have kids, for example, you may want to wait until after the school holidays. Is January your busiest time at work? Steer clear of this period.

5. Interview contractors 

Your home is likely your largest asset so be diligent about who you allow to work on it.

Take the time to interview several candidates. You want to compare prices, but you should also ask prospective contractors for their thoughts and insights on your renovations. The right person will offer advice and point out things you may not have considered yet.

Be sure to ask:

  • Who will be at my house each day?
  • How will you communicate with me?
  • Which aspects do you subcontract?
  • Who are your suppliers?
  • Can you share a portfolio with me?
  • Do you have references I can call?
  • Will you call me before making any changes we haven’t agreed to, including costs?

    Be sure to ask questions and keep a record of everything.

5. Reno-ready your home

It’s nearly time to touch that hammer! Just one more step – getting the rest of the home prepared.

This might include covering your belongings or moving them out of the way. If work will take up much of a room, you may need to get everything out of there to avoid having to go in and interrupt the process. Big projects may even make the air in your home unsafe to breathe, so plan a couple of nights away if necessary.

6. Time to get to work! 

Step six should only happen when you’ve done one through to five. If you aren’t adequately prepared, you could face reno-nightmares from running over budget to experiencing major life interruptions.

At Nelson Alexander, we love being a part of every aspect of your home ownership journey. We’re glad to talk about potential renovations during the buying process, when you’re looking to sell or when you’re leasing out your home. To find out more, reach out to our expert team today.

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