YOUR house is tired but you love where you live – do you renovate or relocate?

It’s a dilemma facing many homeowners who love their neighbourhood, their kids are in the local school but the to-do list on the house seems to be getting longer.

Renovating is a chance to refresh your home and stay in the same location, but it’s not for everyone.

Relocating means moving into a new, perhaps larger home with more modern features, but to find the house that fits your needs and price, you could end up in a different suburb.


Renovating an existing home offers the chance to create the house you want in the location you know and love, Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Enzo Raimondo said.

‘But the difficulties are obvious – the disruption to lives, the need to temporarily rent or live in a building site, the expense and potential for cost overruns, the work involved in planning permissions, design and project management,’ Mr Raimondo said.

Getting the right advice will help avoid the pitfalls, according to Cameron Frazer from Ask An Architect, an online resource for people considering building or renovating from building advisory group Archicentre.

He said builders, architects and real estate agents could help homeowners determine the scope of a renovation, whether it could be achieved for the budget available and recommend what types of works wouldn’t risk overcapitalising a property.

Mr Frazer said an architect could also guide you through the building process, helping obtain permits and providing documentation for builders and solutions when problems arose during the build..


Relocating came with its own difficulties, especially finding the right home in the right location, Mr Raimondo said.

It also meant selling your existing home for the right price and co-ordinating a move from one to the other, preferably without having to rent in the interim.

‘If you decide the upheaval of a renovation is not justified, or are undecided about it, a real estate agent can help,’ Mr Raimondo said.

‘Have your home appraised. Is the amount it’s likely to sell for enough to buy the home you want? What are the chances you will be able to buy the home you want for the amount you will have in the area you want?’

But relocating wouldn’t give you everything you wanted, Mr Frazer said.

‘It’s unlikely you will find a house that’s perfect for your needs. There will always be drawbacks. There will be things, like it doesn’t have a third or fourth bedroom or it has a west-facing deck and it gets really hot in summer,’ he said.


Your budget will determine the cost of renovating or relocating.

The price you can get for your existing home will set how much you can borrow for a new one, but a renovation budget can vary enormously.

Mr Frazer said homeowners could choose between a basic makeover or a complete refit, depending on the budget.

Whatever renovation, Mortgage Choice spokesman Jessica Darnbrough said homeowners had to have a budget in place first.

‘Depending on the scale of the renovations, there are plenty of ways a person can fund the process, from using their savings, to a loan top-up, refinancing their mortgage or even a construction loan,’ she said.


Mr Raimondo said an architect could give you a ballpark figure for your renovation.

But homeowners should also enlist their bank manager or an accountant, and a real estate agent to ensure a renovation was feasible on a realistic budget and you wouldn’t lose money if you had to sell later.

A real estate agent could ensure you’re not over capitalising on your home.

‘If the cost of your renovation will take the amount spent on your home above the ceiling price for homes in your area it may be time to rethink,’ Mr Raimondo said.


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????????????????????????Moving costs time and money whether you do it yourself or use experts.


Do it yourself: Don’t hire a tradie if you don’t need to for easier tasks like painting, replacing door knobs or handles and applying wallpaper.

Budget for a buffer: Unplanned costs will crop up during renovations, so keep a budget buffer to avoid a blowout.

Friends indeed: Those with skills are usually happy to help a mate out when needed, whether helping buy materials at a discount or giving up a few hours on a weekend.

Street appeal: If you’re renovating for profit, don’t underestimate the significance of street appeal.

Posted by Peter Farago – News Limited Network on 14th March, 2015