• Alex Bernshteyn

GET THE BIGGEST BANG FROM YOUR RENOVATION BUCK

Whether it’s doing up the bathroom or kitchen, or adding an entire new wing to the house, some focused planning will help your home renovation project run smoothly. Here are some tips to help you get the biggest ‘bang’ for your renovation buck.

1. Budgeting and saving

Renovating is a major expense so unless you’ve already saved up the necessary funds you will either need to prepare for increased loan repayments or get cracking on a savings plan.

First up, prepare a couple of budgets - one for the renovations, and another for regular living costs. Then, with your current spending and future savings needs laid bare, it’s time to play the penny-pinching game. Can you take lunch from home rather than buying it every day? Does avoiding the toll road add that much time to your daily commute? Are you paying for bottled water? And can you still enjoy life with less eating out or ordering in?


2. Avoid hidden surprises

Make sure that the fabric of the existing house is sound. Depending on its age, have the house inspected for asbestos. Its removal can add time and many dollars to your renovation. Termites and rot are other unwelcome surprises.


3. Find the right contractors

Shop around, get multiple quotes and check references and reviews. Also ask to see contractors’ licenses. Don’t just go with the lowest quote; make sure you have confidence in the tradie’s ability to do the job.


4. Release your inner handyperson

How much can you save by doing some of the work yourself? Most people can do a great job painting a room. How about laying your own tiles? The Internet abounds with ‘How to’ videos for all sorts of renovation skills.


5. Call in a favour

How many chippies, sparkies and plumbers in your family or friendship group? Of course, you won’t want to stretch a friendship or impose on them, so maybe you can swap one of your skills for some of theirs.


6. Shop smart

Extend your budget by buying seconds or second hand. Check out Gumtree and eBay, or get to know your local auction rooms - bidding at auction can be both fun and rewarding. Can you deal directly with any suppliers, and who can offer you mate’s rates?


7. Select your materials with your budget in mind

Hand basins, shower screens, kitchen sinks, taps, flooring, light fittings, ovens… Everything comes in a wide range of styles and prices to suit every budget. However, appearances can be deceiving. A cheaper bench top or bath can provide all the visual appeal of more expensive alternatives. Still, sometimes you may have to compromise and opt for ‘good’ rather than ‘best’. And if you’re renovating with a future sale in mind, it’s also important that you don’t over-capitalise on your renovations.

Undertaking major renovations can be a daunting prospect, but some thought and planning can deliver not just a more valuable home, but also one that provides you with years of satisfaction.

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