5 questions to ask yourself before renovating

Before you take on the much-loved Aussie tradition of renovating, let’s look at the often forgotten – but crucial – questions we need to ask ourselves before reaching for the sledgehammer.

1. Why am I renovating?

Have a reason: Who are you renovating for? Yourself or for others?

If you’re renovating for yourself and to improve the quality of your home life – or just feel like burning a giant pile of cash – the (reno) world is your oyster.

You may want a more user-friendly kitchen, a bathroom you can swing a cat in (they’re all the rage in Europe) or an open living/dining combo.

Figure out what you really love and then roll with it. Make choices that you’ll not only love living with, but that add value to your home if you decide to sell down the track.

DIY backyard deck

A backyard deck to extend your entertaining area outdoors is a smart renovation, that can also be done affordably. Picture: Getty

If you’re renovating for others (i.e. to rent out or sell the property), you need to get as much bang for your buck as possible and emotion is best left out of the equation. Keep things simple.

If you’re renovating for a tenant, hardy surfaces and ease of maintenance are key. If you’re renovating to sell your home, figure out who you’re selling to and then structure your reno to suit them. If your main market is made up of young families, for example, a decent kitchen and space to run around in will likely appeal to them. It’s all about knowing your market.

2. Do I really have the time (and flexibility)?

Whether it’s a quickie re-vamp of the bedroom or a total bathroom re-build (don’t even get me started on kitchens), renovations tend to interfere with your life a lot more than anticipated. That could mean weeks, or even months, of tradies coming in and out of your home, your family eating takeaways on the balcony for dinner, or even dealing with bedrooms that can’t be slept in.

It’s important to work out whether your family can be flexible or not – and if you can’t accommodate for disruptions, it might be best to move out and give the run of the home to your tradies. They’ll finish the job faster that way and you won’t have to stress about all the dust, the door being left open or a plasterer walking in on you mid-shower.

renovated kitchen

Ask yourself – can you really live through a renovation? Picture: Getty

3. To DIY or not to DIY?

It’s mighty temping to take on the reno, all guns blazing, by yourself, but reality soon hits home. Crappy trades (i.e. YOU), make for a crappy job.

Think about hours of painting your home in the evening after work. A professional painter may take a week all up and my general rule is that a tradie’s 40-hour week of work will roughly equate to 1.2 million years of weekend warrior work.

If you’re not competent, it’s really best left to the professionals.

woman DIY floors

While you might save on labour costs when you DIY, you’re likely to lose a lot of time (and patience!). Picture: Getty

4. How will I feel a year from now?

We all have regrets: Some of them have amounted from cheap wine and bad decisions and others are better left buried, deep down. Your reno shouldn’t be one of these regrets.

Rather than jumping onto the trend bandwagon, renovate for your future and not for the now.

Trends should be for accessorising, not for renovating. If you invest in solid quality now, you’ll be thankful 20 years on. I’m pretty sure anyone who’s added the giant letters spelling out ‘EAT’ in their kitchen, ‘SLEEP’ in their bedroom and ‘RELAX’ in their lounge will one day rue their decision.

Check out this hip renovated terrace located in a waterside cul-de-sac.

outdoor kitchen

The outdoor kitchen at 22 The Avenue, Balmain East, is an investment that will keep giving back. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy

5. Have I considered structure?

We all want open plan living, a two-car garage and bigger and better rooms – but don’t assume you can just take out any wall, any time you like.

Talk to, or leave it to, the professionals. Believe it or not, walls can be in a home for a reason. While some walls may simply divide rooms, others hold up the roof, support the ceiling and generally hide all the electrical, water and waste that we need for our homes to function properly.

Talk to a builder or a structural engineer before you start swinging a wrecking ball like a 20-something Miley Cyrus, and unlike Miley, always wear your personal protective equipment when you’re undertaking any DIY work.

man renovating worries

If your renovating dreams include structural changes such as knocking down walls, do consult the professionals. Picture: Getty

SOurce: https://www.realestate.com.au

Posted by Steve Aberline