When is it the right time to renovate? Does it depend on how long you’ve lived in your home, your budget or your future plans? This answer is different for every home owner. Today we want to give you some pointers to take into consideration when making this important decision.
1. FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
You are now all excited about your first home. To save a bit of money you bought a “renovation project”. (Of course it was advertised by the estate agent as “needs some TLC”…) Now it’s time to decide how to spend that extra bit of money to make it your own. STOP RIGHT HERE! Only about 5% of renovations of first time home buyers are successful if they renovate within the first year. Why? Making good renovation decisions take experience. If you are a first time home buyer, we always recommend clients to first live in your home for at least six months before you start planning your renovation. You will have a much better spatial awareness of how you actually use your home and what features are missing what you desperately need to add.
2. EXPECTING A BABY
Nine months. Actually 8 months since you first find out you’re pregnant. And yes, we all know the last two months you’re the size of an elephant with the mobility of a hippopotamus. That literally gives you 6 months to really project manage a renovation before baby arrives. Take into consideration your fluctuating hormones and constant short term memory loss (believe me!), the worst thing to add to this package is a renovation project. If you just want to update a bathroom or kitchen, it might be manageable. Even a new paint job, flooring or moving a wall or window can be orderly timed and finalised. If you need any council plans which involves drafting, engineers, certifiers or council approval, rather pitch a tent in the dessert and stay there for a few months. That will be a much more enjoyable experience. You don’t want to hurry renovation decisions and later be devastated because you spent your money unwisely. Take it one “building process” (read baby) at a time. Even the first few months after baby is born, is stressful. Why add noise and dust to the equation. I am talking out of experience…
3. SAFETY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR EXISTING HOME
I’m with you, just do it! Nobody needs a bathroom that constantly leaks from upstairs down into your kitchen. Been there, done that. Every time my daughter pulled the plug of her bath, I had to run to the kitchen and hold a bucket mid-air to prevent water dripping on my kitchen shelves. Another big problem is infestations. You don’t want to be invaded or overrun by pests. If part of your home needs a semi-demolition to fix this problem, save enough money as quickly as possible and get the renovation done. These can cause other long term problems which eventually cost you even more. If you’re a first time home buyer, and expecting a baby and you realise you have infestation problems… well I have no idea what you should do! Run away to the closest hotel and hibernate for a year.
4. FINANCIAL DECISION
Renovation projects can start from $10,000 and end up to be up to $500,000 or more. Every family knows their own budget. Don’t forget that there are many costs before you even write the first cheque to your builder. You will need a drafter to draw plans for Council. (This is a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your renovation) You might need an engineer to assist with structural issues. (Another few hundred or thousand dollars). You need to pay a certifier or council to submit your plans and get it approved. (Mmmm… another few hundred dollars) Sometimes you need to demolish existing structures, also at an additional cost. There are always a few hidden or unprepared expenses too. Your builder can suddenly report to you that there are asbestos in your walls or roof. (Another few thousand dollars to have this removed by a specialised team). Okay, I wasn’t intending to scare you, just to warn you that you should always add another 20% to your budget for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t need it in the end, you can have beautiful new furniture and an awesome house warming party!
Remember that you can ask your mortgage broker to assist you to apply for additional finance or to refinance your home. Some people play it safe and first save all the money for their renovation. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes this means that you never get to the stage where you can commit to your renovation.