Renovating your home can be a cost-effective alternative to selling your home and buying a new one. Money saved on property stamp duty and conveyancing for a new home can be used towards renovations and save you the trouble and expense of moving. It can be a rewarding experience, adding comfort and value to your home.

Spending money on wise-renovating is another way of building equity in your property.
However, before starting, questions you should ask are – will you be adding value or will you be over-capitalising? Will you be better off selling?

So that there are no nasty surprises, it is best to get firm quotes from tradespeople or builders. Depending on the size of the renovation, builders will usually add a margin for contingency, which is an allowance for a variation from the price quoted.

If you are undertaking any structural work, you will need plans and council approval.
Home-owners are often faced with cost blow-outs which is why most lenders insist on fixed price contracts to ensure that when you embark on your project, it is completed within budget.

It is also wise to budget for the unforeseen. Problems such as old and potentially dangerous wiring, rusty plumbing and other defects cannot be detected until your tradesperson or builder starts on the project exposing these problems. If you have not undertaken a renovation before, make sure you do as much research as possible. You may want to use the advice of an architect, interior decorator and visit your local building centre. Advice from your local council can be very valuable even if you don’t need a building permit.

Tip: When selecting a builder, ask for references and if possible, inspect previous building projects that your builder has completed. It’s also important that they hold the required insurance and belong to the relevant industry association. Contact your local building association for information on registered and qualified builders/ tradespeople in your area.