Top 10 renovation mistakes
Planning to succeed is the key to adding value.

If you’re planning a renovation, there are 10 sure-fire ways to devalue it, according to building advisory service Archicentre.

These range from poor planning to going over the top on things such as taps and ovens. Archicentre’s Angus Kell says the most important step to ensuring value froma renovation is good planning.

If you are renovating in stages, you need a master plan so you don’t waste money.
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Just how much does it cost to renovate a property? The average renovation project in NSW is valued between $75,000 and $150,000. If you want to add an 80-square-metre ground-floor extension with inclusions, you’ll be looking at $164,526 to $310,896.

Less than half of the expense will go towards materials. Labour will cost about 33 per cent of the overall
amount, while fees, levies, permits, taxes and GST will eat up 21 per cent.

If you are keeping the resale value of the property in mind, it pays to consider key trends in renovating that are likely to appeal to buyers dow nthe track.

Kell says the top renovation trends in NSW include:

  • Using bi-fold doors to open up the house at the back.
  • Installing bigger windows to take advantage of views.
  • Creating open-plan living areas by taking out interior walls.
  • Revamping the kitchen with more compact, modern appliances, space-efficient storage and windows to gardens.
  • Opening up bathrooms to outside areas with large windows to capture views of gardens.
  • Establishing separate toilets while making bathrooms more spacious, with expensive tiles and designer showers and basins.
  • Building a parents’ retreat adjacent to main bedrooms and including private balconies and courtyards for relaxing outdoors.
  • Creating a home office either as a nook in a hallway or in a larger room. Usually the office equipment and storage are hidden in cupboards and benches. These nooks can be linked to an outside area with a view or deck to create a pleasant working environment.
  • Freshening the look of homes by rendering and painting the facade.

Ten ways to devalue your property

1. Worry about the Joneses – loss $40,000

A renovation that gives you the best house in the street could leave you out of pocket. The streetscape and
neighbours’ houses influence resale value and sensible renovations should take this into consideration.

2. Ugly little brother – loss $28,000

Don’t add an extension without thinking carefully about the exterior. Renovations should be sympathetic to the original building.

3. Spending too much – loss $25,000

Going over the top on expensive fittings such as imported cooktops, taps, door handles and tiles can burn a hole in your pocket. Purchasers often don’t like the previous owner’s choices and won’t be prepared to pay extra for them.

4. No playground, no barbecue – loss $18,000

The trend is for outdoor living, so try to create a usable outside space.

5. Suburban desert – loss $20,000

Removing trees can cause more damage to a property than if you left them in place. A large, attractive tree can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the value in some areas.

6. Illegal building – loss $30,000

In some suburbs, one-quarter of all houses have an illegal extension. It can cost $30,000 or more to make
it comply with regulations.

7. Faulty structure – loss $25,000

When installing new kitchens and bathrooms, check that the subfloor structure is sound. Some new kitchens are destroyed in the first four years by subsidence.

8. Do it yourself – loss $18,000

Installing your own wiring and plumbing is illegal and can be dangerous.

9. Expensive rip-offs – $8000

Archicentre warns that underpinning to remedy brick cracking may not be the best option. In many cases, low-cost watering systems and tree pruning do the job and underpinning will cause more cracks in other parts of the house.

10. The house that Jerry built – $12,000

Joining the renovation on to the existing building in an unsatisfactory way can result in major cracks appearing because of incompatible structural systems.

Source: Archicentre.

Posted by Carolyn Boyd – Domain – The Ag on 27th September, 2010