Should I move or renovate? - Misc. AU
Should I move or renovate?

Should I move or renovate?

Words by Construction Concierge

Whether to renovate or relocate is a question that comes up a lot. To be able to make an informed decision you need to take the time to do the research and run the numbers to avoid the situation of either going through a renovation and realising you’re still not happy where you are, or going through the process of relocating and realising you didn’t know how good you had it!

This advice guide aims to help you through the decision-making process, and give you the tools you need to make the best financial and lifestyle decision for you and your family. Here are the most important things to consider.

What do you love and what would you change about your home?

Identifying what you love and what you would change is the crucial first step of the decision-making process.

Thinking about what you love most can help you significantly with your decision. Are the traits you love going to be difficult to find elsewhere? For example, north-facing yard in a quiet cul de sac street. Or are they traits that you could re-create or find without much trouble? For example, Large bedrooms and a swimming pool.

Once you have isolated what you love, it’s time to have a look at what you want to change, to assess the value that a renovation can add to your lifestyle. Are your least favourite qualities in the home changeable? For example, kitchen needs modernising. Or is it going to be better to look elsewhere for these traits? For instance, The land is too small, or the house is in a busy position. If the issue is location, no renovation can change your address, and it is time to look for a new home.

Here are a few traits that you can renovate to change, and others that will mean it’s time to start looking elsewhere:

Renovate to change:

  • Floor area (depending on zoning)
  • Style of the property (depending on zoning)
  • Technology
  • Amenities, eg. swimming pool (depending on zoning)
  • Size of the bedrooms
  • Bigger master bedroom with ensuite
  • Style of the home
  • Layout of the home
  • Modern bathrooms and kitchen

Time to look elsewhere:

  • Land size
  • Land aspect, eg. North facing
  • Traffic on the street
  • Location
  • Zoning restrictions

Detailed planning and preparation

Planning is an essential and crucial step to any big decision. Putting pen to paper to draw up the vision you have for the property is a valuable exercise.

Ask yourself:

  • Which areas you want to change
  • What experiences you want the home to provide and,
  • How you want the home to feel

Answering these three questions will give you a good idea of what kind of renovation you want to do. Once that is complete you can begin to engage some trades and get quotes.

Is the renovation relatively simple, or will it take some time? Regardless of how simple the renovation may be we always recommend using licensed and experienced builders or trades for the work. Whichever route you select, bring in 3 different builders or individual trades and get them to supply you with quotes including materials and GST. Ask them about time frame and disruption to your current lifestyle. We would also recommend consulting with an architect to make sure the final product matches the vision you have.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Do the numbers make sense?

Crunching the numbers before you commit to either decision is the next important step of the process. Calculate the changeover costs of relocating to work out the figure you would either need to outlay or extra cash you would have in the bank. (For a free changeover cost assessment, contact Construction Concierge). The next thing to do is add up the cost of the renovation, add it to an up to date property appraisal and run that figure through a changeover cost assessment to see how much you would be able to spend on your next purchase. You can then go out in the marketplace and attend some open homes and look at some properties. You may find what you are looking for already exists in the current market and is attainable within your new budget.

Dollar productive renovations

If you decide to go down the renovation path, it is crucial that you don’t overcapitalise. If you have plans to sell in the future, a smart renovation strategy will significantly boost your eventual sale price. In saying that, if you plan to live in that property forever then any money spent on a renovation can be considered an investment in your lifestyle, and as long as you are within your means, we encourage you to make the home yours and renovate to your desires.

So, what does a smart renovation strategy look like? A smart renovation strategy must take into account the marketplace the home is in. What types of homes are most in demand in your area? How many bedrooms do buyers in the area look for? These questions should significantly influence your renovation strategy. As a recent example, there was a couple who wanted to sell their house however decided to renovate it prior. They decided to convert their third bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, in a marketplace where 3-4 bedroom homes were the highest sought after. The $45,000 renovation ended up devaluing their property by thousands of dollars.

Appealing to the right people

The style you go for is essential, do you love the Hamptons feel? Or are you after something more modern? No matter the style you select, we recommend sticking to neutral colours where you can, to cater to a broader range of prospective buyers. The majority of the marketplace find it difficult to see past bright coloured carpets or overpowering wallpapers. Street presence is vital; a buyer will make a judgement on your property within the first ten seconds of seeing it, make that first impression count.

For a guide to your renovation style, we recommend focusing on the six principles of design:

  1. Balance – Balance in design is similar to balance in physics. A large shape close to the centre can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge. Balance provides stability and structure to design. It’s the weight distributed in the design by the placement of your elements.
  2. Proximity – Proximity creates a relationship between elements. It provides a focal point. Proximity doesn’t mean that elements have to be placed together, it means they should visually connect in some way.
  3. Alignment – Allows us to create order and organisation. Aligning elements allows them to create a visual connection with each other.
  4. Repetition – Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Repetition can create rhythm (a feeling of organised movement).
  5. Contrast – Contract is the juxtaposition of opposing elements (opposite colours on the colour wheel, or value lights/dark, or direction – horizontal/vertical). Contrast allows us to emphasise or highlight critical elements in your design.
  6. Space – Space in art refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below or within elements. Both positive and negative space are important factors to be considered in every design.

For a design consultation with an architect or interior designer, contact Construction Concierge

Living with the renovation

When building a renovation plan, most people forget they still have to live in the home during the project. We don’t recommend this as it can create an unhealthy space to live in surrounded by multiple hazards, unless the renovation is minor. If you are undertaking a major renovation it is best to allow for rent or other costs if you must move out.

Speak to the experts

Using the resources available to you will save you time, money and frustration. Before you consider doing any renovations you should speak to the experts that can help you make the right decisions.

  1. Real Estate Agent – They know the marketplace, and they know what buyers are searching for. Property is their business, and they are here to help you with whatever you need.
  2. Architect or designer – Getting design consultation from an architect is a must do before you start the renovations. Your architect is the expert who can take your vision and put it down on paper to ensure the final product is exactly what you were expecting.
  3. Financial Advisor – Before making any decisions which require a substantial investment, we recommend consulting with your financial advisor to be able to act with confidence and without stress.
  4. Builder – Depending on the scope of your renovation, hiring a builder to manage the process is highly recommended. This allows you to lock in a price for the entire job as well as a time frame. Get a committed time frame from your builder, and add in the agreement a penalty for late completion. This clause will give you greater control over the project.“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
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