The idea of working on your own home and rebuilding it to its former glory can be appealing. Some might say too appealing.

Most romances are tinted with rose-coloured glasses. The romance of renovation is no different. But that passion can soon lose its glow when you are faced with the building site, the mess, the surprises and the trades’ bills.

Before you venture into this new relationship you need to ask yourself the following five questions:

1. What is my true skill level?

We all like to think that when we put our mind to it, we can have a good crack at anything. But there are some jobs that can be beyond our skill level. You need to start by creating a list of what you are confident in doing, what you must by law have a trade do (e.g. electrical) and what you will need some assistance with. This will help you plan out your budget and assist you in deciding how much time you need to allocate to the reno.

Read more: How to: Save money on tradies

2. What is the main goal of the exercise?

Are you going to live in the property, will you be selling it for a profit, or indeed both ( live in it whilst renovating and then sell)? If you intend to live in your property you need to decide if you are ready to live in a building zone. Renovations can be very messy and noisy and they are a place where you say goodbye to privacy when the trades step on site at 7am every morning.

3. Do I have the budget?

Done well, renovations can have a hefty price tag even when trying to do it on a shoestring. Make sure you are realistic about the budget. Paying trades to come and give you a quote prior to purchasing the property is well worth the investment. Due diligence cannot be stressed enough. Working out a detailed budget prior to purchase and having a 15%-to-20% buffer is essential.

Read more: How to: Budget for your renovation

4. How much time do I have?

Remember time is money, so the more you can do yourself the better, but at what cost is this to your normal life?

5. Have I researched it well enough?

Whether you keep the property or sell it you need to be very mindful of the fact that there is a cap on what the property will be valued at and how much someone will be willing to pay. Be sure that whatever work you are doing will not see you over capitalise on the property.

Read more: Riding the renovation boom

If you have the time, resources and budget buying a fixer upper can be the most rewarding and financially beneficial thing you do.

But make sure when you are looking to buy you tilt down those rose-coloured glasses and use the tips above to assess if it really is for you.

Posted by Naomi Findlay – blog on 12th March, 2015