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With the huge increase in property prices in recent years, many Australian homeowners are taking advantage of low interest rates and increased equity in their homes to finance renovations. All images courtesy Adrian Ramsay.
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Top 3 renovation mistakes and how to avoid them

With the huge increase in property prices in recent years, many Australian homeowners are taking advantage of low interest rates and increased equity in their homes to finance renovations.

In fact, it looks like the building industry is facing a renovation boom with the Master Builders Australia Building and Construction Industry Forecasts predicting last month that renovation work will total a massive $44 billion over the next five years nationally.

So, if you’re considering embarking on a major renovation project this year, such as a second story addition or major extension, what could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty! Here are three common renovation mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

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Turning a Queenslander into a Hampton’s style home can work very easily.

1.  Not hiring an architect or building designer experienced in renovations

For any structural renovation project, you need to engage the services of an architect or building designer, or at least a draftsman to draw up your plans ready for your development application.

But make sure whoever you engage has experience in renovations, not just new builds, as they require very different approaches.

According to Adrian Ramsay, owner of Adrian Ramsay Design House based on the Sunshine Coast, a good building designer will help you discover what it is you really want from your renovation.

“Are you looking to grow your home and keep its character or alter the home and the character completely? For example, turning a Queenslander into a Hampton’s style home can work very easily, maintaining effortless style and flow,” Adrian explains.

“In Sydney or Melbourne however, you might choose to build a very modern contemporary addition to complement a Georgian or Victorian home. Considering the character and how to work within it, or alter it, while maintaining flow throughout the home, is key when designing a successful renovation,” he says.

So how do you avoid this mistake? Do your research and hire a designer experienced in renovations, not just new builds.

 

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An additional bedroom will add value to your home whereas a larger laundry may not.

2.  Going over budget and over capitalising

When renovating, you also have to remember that there’s the cost of pulling something down as well as building something new. And renovating older homes inevitably uncovers unforeseen, and often expensive, surprises.

“Once you pull something down, you have no choice about whether to fix an unforeseen problem – it just needs to be rectified,” says Adrian. A good building designer or builder should be able to advise you before you start renovating as to how much of a contingency fund you might need.”

In addition to going over budget, another major oversight is over capitalising without having done the right research.

“There are rooms that add value to your home, and others that will cost you money with no value add. For example, an additional bedroom will add value to your home whereas a larger laundry may not. At the end of the day, you may really want a bigger laundry, but just be mindful of over capitalising,” says Adrian.

So how do you avoid this mistake? Always make sure you have a good contingency fund factored into your budget. And when it comes to over capitalising, research the local market value of your property, understand what adds value if selling in the future, and then decide on what you will renovate.

 

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Keep in mind the overall look and feel you’re hoping to achieve for your home once all your renovations are finished.

3.  Renovating spaces room by room rather than looking at the entire project as a whole

Another common mistake when renovating is tackling each room one at a time without looking at the home as a whole. Often budget constraints mean you can only afford to renovate one room such as the bathroom or kitchen, but always keep in mind the overall look and feel you’re hoping to achieve for your home once all your renovations are finished.

“Because most people want to add space to their home by renovating, it is also important to consider the size of the space as a whole, otherwise you can end up with rooms that are out of proportion to the rest of the house,” says Adrian.

And don’t overlook the exterior design of a structural renovation, in particular the flow of your existing roofline into any new rooflines.

“Badly designed second story additions or multiple extensions often look like an older style house with new rooms simply tacked on,” says NSW Central Coast builder Brent MacKinnon, BBM Constructions.

“Rather than one skillion roof after another, make sure your final roofline looks like a complete home. Consider pitching a new roof in keeping with the design of the existing house.”

So how do you avoid this mistake? View the home as a whole, consider the flow and proportions of the rooms and make sure any addition is matched seamlessly into the roof line of your existing home.

 

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Adrian Ramsey is holding a Design House Workshop on the Sunshine Coast on 21 March 2018.

Design House Workshop, 21 March 2018

Gain an insight into the secrets of the design process, what steps to take, what trends to follow and what trends to avoid with Adrian Ramsay’s Design House Workshop. Held in Currimundi on Wednesday 21 March, the interactive workshops will encourage you to work on real problem solving, as well as understand and use future trends to optimise your property’s value and potential.

Purchase tickets here.


Do you have any renovation tips you’d like to share with the readers of HomeHub?

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Hedgie Gundry

Hedgie Gundry is an experienced copywriter and content creator. For almost two decades, she’s written on topics as diverse as recruitment and leadership, property and lifestyle, finance and health, and more. When she’s not working her wordsmith magic, Hedgie helps run a residential building company and therefore has a special interest in writing about all things property.

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