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10 things you need to know about spotting potential for home renovation

Good Bones

Look for a property that’s in pretty good condition as well as one that doesn’t require work like re-stumping, re-wiring or re-roofing. The less money you need to spend on the existing building, the better.

 

Permission to Plan

Investigate planning controls and building regulations to ascertain whether your home improvement ideas are possible. Things like heritage controls and restrictions on tree removal may have a major impact.

 

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Room to Grow

If you’re looking at increasing the house size substantially without building upwards, be confident that the property comes with enough land space to achieve this while also allowing for an outdoor living area.

 

Go North

Look for a house with a north-facing rear yard. This will offer the potential for developing the front of the home as sleeping quarters and the rear of the building as an open-plan living area with maximum winter sunshine.

 

Internal Exam

Look for an existing floor plan layout that will readily support your ideas for modification. Keeping things like wall removal and support beam addition to a minimum will help simplify the process and reduce costs.

 

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Plumbing the Depths

Ascertain whether the current location of the kitchen and bathroom fits your renovation concept. Having to relocate plumbing and fixtures may get expensive.

 

Lay of the Land

While probably not a make or break issue, a house on a flat block may well offer the least resistance to change. In contrast, a sloping site may require lots of expensive excavation and scaffolding.

 

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Overheads

Don’t be too concerned about a property’s existing roof style when it comes to installing skylights, roof windows, solar panels or solar hot water systems. Flat, pitched, or vaulted designs are all similar propositions in terms of installation cost.

 

Perfect Match

If planning to extend in the style of the original building, ascertain whether you can accurately match the original building material. Having to work with a construction system no longer in use or a brick that went out of production 40 years ago may be a challenge.Green Credentials

 

Green Credentials

For large renovations, factor in the costs of bringing the original part of the house up to 21st century sustainability specifications. Also, look for the potential to add solar panels and rainwater storage tanks.

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Owen Thomson

A regular contributor to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age for over a decade (sections include Good Weekend, Sunday Life, (Sydney) Magazine, Drive and My Career), Owen Thomson's journalistic work has also featured in newsstand publications including The Bulletin, GQ and Men’s Style.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.