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Things to consider when renovating your home

Home renovation programs have saturated our television schedules.

They have also introduced viewers to the idea that project managing their renovation is fun and creative.

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Before you decide to project manage your renovation, ask yourself: Is this a wise decision?

In fact, the first question to ask yourself should be 'why you are renovating at all'? It’s a common misconception that a renovation will always add value to a property. But the local housing market may suggest otherwise. A better justification is usually to improve your own lifestyle.

All would-be DIY project managers should start by honestly assessing their own objectives and skill set. If you have the training and skills to manage many aspects of the work yourself then that's okay.

Factors that need to be taken into consideration include the time involved and whether you will hold the project up. In most cases, it is advisable to get a professional builder in to project manage as much of the work as possible.

What’s involved when you project manage your renovation?

There is a common perception that taking on your own home renovation will save money, but this is not always true according to Clint Bryant, owner of Melbourne’s myplumber. “You need to have some idea of the building process and how trades work together,” he says. “If you don’t, then pay a professional. Many tradespeople like me end up charging owner builders more over time because there is a disconnect between experienced professionals and them, which can lead to delays.”

Bryant says paying for an experienced project manager is certainly worth it considering all they do. “Depending on the scale of the job, there is a lot of multi-tasking to do,” he says. “Designs, architects, planning and permits, a plumber for drainage, a concreter if you're doing a slab, a carpenter, the plumber and sparky for the rough in, a plasterer, tiling, a carpenter again. Then the fit-off with the painter, plumber and sparky.

“It’s a professional’s job to know all the different stages in the building process and to organise the work to be completed in a smooth and efficient manner.”

The skills gap

Even professionals who advise others on building and renovation can be tempted to go down the self-project-manage route. Doug Piening, a Mortgage and Finance Broker who specialises in building and renovations, was about to begin renovating his own 1932 Californian bungalow. While at first he liked the idea of project managing it himself, he decided to instead hire a professional.

“When we bought we assumed that we would knock down the back, do it up, make it all awesome and we would do that for a couple of hundred grand,” he says. “We were wrong and we were probably blinded by the renovation shows and reality TV that made it look easy and fun. It isn’t easy and it’s not fun.”

So, despite what the TV shows say, if you don’t have the necessary skills, it might be better to hire someone that does, and end up saving both time and money in the long run.

Get the most out of your renovation

If you decide to renovate, here are some suggestions which could help maximise the final value and resale value on your home:

  • - Choose classic, timeless designs over what's trendy
  • - Complement or closely match the original architecture and design of your home
  • - Demolishing a brick wall will cost you 50% more than demolishing a timber wall
  • - Extending out is cheaper than going up 
  • - A new staircase can cost over $10 000
  • - Swimming pools rarely add value to any home.

Therefore you can see that there's a number factors you might want to consider when deciding on a home renovation. Whether you are thinking about managing the project yourself or hiring a professional, it's always worth doing your own research, so that you can make an informed choice. 


In the market for a loan to finance a renovation? Send us an enquiry or call 1300 131 141 to find out more about our how we can tailor a finance solution for you.

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      The information contained in this webpage is general in nature and has been provided in good faith, without taking into account your personal circumstances. While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is accurate and opinions fair and reasonable, no warranties in this regard are provided.