Just starting out in the big bad world of property development and renovation? Both the budget and the end result should be your main priority, so take care not to make these rookie errors!


So you’ve made the decision to renovate? Don’t get too carried away unless you’ve come to terms with the possibility of not getting returns on your hard work. Over capitalising isn’t always a concern. If you’re renovating for yourself rather than a profit, it may not matter what the resale value of your home is post reno’s or if you’re able to get back out what you’ve put in initially. But for those who always keep an eye on the market or toy with making millions as a property mogul than keeping the reigns on your reno should be high on the agenda.

Before starting any project it’s wise to talk to some local realestate professionals and have your house valued. Ask them what elements of your home are holding it back and what local buyers are currently looking for. It might not change your renovation plans, but at least you’re more knowledgable of where your house will sit in the market. Show them your plans and get a rough indication of what your house might be worth post reno’s and compare to your builder quotes. If the former is less than the latter, you’re over capitalising! But don’t worry too much if you’re not planning on selling straight away.

Eye’s bigger than your renovation stomach

Or biting off more than you can chew. Cliches aside, not completing your renovation project may be one of the most costly mistakes you could make. According to a report conducted by Westpac in 2014, homeowners who have renovated spend an average of $47,984 on their project, but only 80% of renovators thoroughly plan for their renovation. On top of that, only 65% of renovators prepare a budget and even less allow for a contingency.

Remember the 6 P’s… Proper planning prevents p*** poor performance. If you want to successfully complete your project and recoup costs, you have to plan and budget efficiently. If not planning on undertaking the full monty from the get-go, break up the renovation into affordable chunks, but make sure each chunk is independent and can be completed in its entirety without relying on the next segment. For example, you may be planning to lift your Queenslander, add a new rear deck, renovated the kitchen, upstairs bathroom and build new living quarters below but plan to tackle it in 2 renovations up to 5 years apart. Plan each stage independent of one another. Lift the house, renovate the kitchen and bathroom, add the deck and map out where your internal staircase will be positioned. Project number 2 might involve cutting through the floor and installing your stairs while building in below for the extended living quarters. If your situation changed in between projects, you can sleep soundly knowing your home is market ready without half a renovation visibly incomplete.

Think of yourself

Renovating for you unless you plan on staying in the home forever is risky. Removing a bath from a family sized home because you’re not a bather is short-sighted and potentially reducing your saleability. Other examples may include removing all your gardens and replacing with concrete for the ‘low maintenance’ effect, turning the third bedroom into a walk-in robe or combining bedrooms to make one large room. Think long-term and make sure any major changes can be easily reversed for the market if required.

Bang on Trend

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Remember those avocado toilets suites? They were all the rage once… If you’re the type of person that likes to stay bang on trend with your decor, a trendy renovation will mean you’ll need to spend a heap of cash again in the near future to keep your home at the forefront. Black tap-ware, busy patterned tile work, marble everything, who knows where these things will sit on the trend hierarchy in a few years time? There are certainly a few tried and tested design concepts that never seem to age. Focus on designing your space around what you like and feel comfortable with and if a trendy design is something you’re looking for, consider statement furniture, art, paint and wallpaper to achieve the desired outcome.


Has a builder quoted an exorbitent amount to build your deck extension? Consider doing it yourself, but make sure know your limits. There are a number of decorating jobs such as painting and simple landscaping or carpentry projects you can DIY to save cash. However, it’s fair to say if you’ve never picked up a paint brush, tackling the exterior of a 1920’s Queenslander wouldn’t be the best place to start. Likewise, if you’ve never hung a picture, your rear deck is not within your reach. Remember, plumbing and electrical should be left to the professionals and some renovation projects will require council certification and planning applications so it’s best to get the pro’s involved.

If you’re not confident in your finishing abilities, think twice. There’s nothing worse than a house full of amateur renovations with poor quality finishes and workmanship to turn home buyers away. Not to mention, uncertified renovations and extensions may be found in property searches which will cause a bone on contention with prospective buyers and authorities.