Have Fun - Six questions to consider before you renovate

Renovating is your chance to show the world how clever you are at taking what was once tired and ordinary and making it new and fabulous. It’s also recognised as one of the most stressful processes known to humankind. Here are some things you should consider before you embark on what could be a very fulfilling undertaking – if you get it right.

What’s the best use of the space?
The first law of renovating states that no matter how much space you have, you will always want more. That aside, the first step is to prioritise your requirements. A bigger living room, or a separate TV room? A fourth bedroom or an office? A third bathroom or a walk-in wardrobe Can’t decide? Better think about how to make the spaces more flexible, for example, sliding or pivoting doors that open spaces up or shut them down. And remember, spaciousness is not about actual space, but creating the illusion of space. Remember that ‘less is definitely more’. Getting rid of clutter, sticking to simple lines and integrating surface finishes will create visual flow and a sense of space.

Am I over capitalising?
Investing enough money to get a quality renovation is a smart move, but if you’re renovating purely to make a profit, make sure you don’t over capitalise. Think twice before investing a large, sum that you’re unlikely to recoup when you sell the property. It’s easy to get carried away in some areas, especially bathrooms and kitchens. You might think the exclusive Italian tapware is worth every penny. But will prospective buyers know the difference? Perhaps a less expensive version would do the job just as well – you’ll still have a new bathroom to attract a buyer, but won’t be out of pocket.

What sort of style should I choose?
This question comes down to personal preference, but it’s worth considering whether eclectic choices are going to have mass appeal to buyers. Bright pink kitchen cupboards will certainly make a statement about you, but it’s not necessarily a statement that others would want to make. Visit display homes, look though home magazines and work out what is popular. Choose colours and materials that are fairly neutral, so that buyers can imagine adding their own style statements.

How important is street appeal?
In a word, ‘very’. First impressions count, so even if you’ve completely transformed the interior,, the exterior is going to make a big statement about what sort of home this is. If your exterior is tired, a simple coat of paint will make a big difference. If your exterior is dated, consider transforming it with a new state-of-the-art material. With good design and attention to detail, investing in a full exterior face-lift will certainly be re-paid.

How can I control the costs?
Take your time and do your homework. Make sure you understand the building process even if you are using a builder on a full contract:

  • Get competitive quotes and find out what things are worth.
  • Break costs down and down and down. Don’t just look at the cost of the bathroom, look at the cost of the taps. This process will give you some idea of where the money is being spent and if it’s the best place to spend it.
  • Remember that your time is money too. By all means run around on the weekend and choose the kitchen appliances that you like, but ask yourself if your time is best spent putting hours into jobs that might be best handled by an expert.

Which are the best rooms to renovate?
As a general rule, improving the look and function of kitchens, bathrooms, the master bedroom and the living area is always money well spent. Costs will vary depending on size, the amount of structural work that’s required and the quality of the fittings you choose.