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What upgrades is your home crying out for? The scope of your renovation will determine your financial, emotional and time commitments.

So, is it a lick of paint throughout the house, or a bathroom overhaul? Does the backyard need revamping with garden beds and hedging or is paving a patio more in order?

Renovating for sale requires a different approach to renovating for lifestyle reasons. When renovating for sale you need to carefully evaluate your level of capitalisation (how much you invest). It can be helpful to have a real estate agent assess your home to suggest key renovations that will attract buyers and provide an estimate of a renovation’s return on investment. This will help determine the scope of the project and your expenditure.

If you are renovating your home to enhance its livability, consider how your family uses the home and evaluate renovations based on impact. Would adding a bathroom save needless arguments? Could the family room do with an overhaul to make it better for entertaining and relaxation?

Once you have decided on the scale of the upgrade, you need to work through the following steps.

Check with council

This step is numero uno on your renovation checklist. If you are undertaking major works in or around your home – including knocking down walls, building an extension or doing anything that will affect your neighbours – you will require a development application (DA). A DA is normally followed by a construction or building application (BA), which outlines the build details. You cannot begin work without these approvals as they ensure your renovation plans are safe for one and all.

Building legislation differs between local councils, so check with your local planner if a DA or BA is required. This step can save major headaches down the track as unapproved works may be halted or even unceremoniously removed!

Superficial renovations, and most small structures like decks, sheds and fences, are generally deemed ‘exempt developments’ and do not require a DA or BA. At times, exempt developments may still require some level of approval or a licence (think heritage and water-efficiency restrictions). If you are uncertain, contact your council.

Units, apartments or townhouses may be subject to estate, strata or body corporate guidelines that could affect your renovations.

Set your renovation budget

It is important to plan out your renovation costs and create a basic timeline for the project. Most DIY renovations will fall into the exempt developments category and will not require a costly DA or building application (BA). But even exempt developments can require council approval, so check first to make sure your budget is accurate.

If you are undertaking part of the renovation yourself and using a trade professional for the jobs that require qualified help, (for example, a plumber to fix your bathroom pipes while you lay the tiles), divide up your budget estimates.

For the DIY component, estimate the materials and tools required for the job. Ask friends or family for tools you can borrow and enquire about equipment rentals. Second-hand building materials are also worth considering, so compare quotes between different suppliers and between new and used supplies. Reuse where possible for an environmentally friendly reno. It is also important to factor in any reduction in income due to time you may need to take off work.

To find the right tradie, ask friends and family for recommendations and make sure you obtain at least three quotes. Don’t be caught out by hidden costs; ask questions if anything is not clear or if a quote seems surprisingly low.

It is a good idea to incorporate a buffer into your renovation budget for unexpected costs. Ten per cent is usually sufficient.

How to renovate and add value

Some renovations deliver much greater rewards visually, functionally and in value. You cannot go past a coat of paint in terms of return on your investment. This is a relatively cheap renovation that most of us are capable of tackling. It produces big visual results and adds value to your home.

Landscaping, or revamping your backyard, is a close second when it comes to getting a good return for your investment. Materials and equipment are generally cheap, and by adding an outdoor entertainment area you can create real lifestyle value around your home. And don’t forget curb appeal if you are selling your property, potential buyers will assess your home from the street before they buy.

Of all the renovations, remodeling the kitchen or bathroom will add the most equity to your home. Wet areas in the home generally require the largest investment but they also have a significant impact on the property’s salability and price. Domain research shows approximately 35 per cent of all home sellers plan to renovate their kitchen or bathroom in preparation for sale.

Continue reading the DIY Home Renovation Guide with: DIY renovation project management.


Posted by Jacqui Thompson – Domain Blog on 27th June, 2015