15 Oct 2010

3 Questions You Need To Answer Before Renovating

Are you thinking of buying a property requiring some TLC but ‘full of potential’ with the intentions of turning into your dream home or an investment strategy to pay off your mortgage faster?

To see if you have what it takes to see the renovation project through to completion, you need to answer these three questions.

According to Andrew Winter, author of Andrew Winter’s No Nonsense Guide to Buying and Selling Property, there are three areas that are impacted by your choice to renovate for profit or pleasure.

1. Are you ready for a lifestyle change?

At the very least you will become a Project Manager, co-ordinating all tradies and schedule of works. If you decide to go headfirst down the path of DIY, you will also become the plumber, electrician, painter and so on, consuming a large portion of your time.

“Look at how you currently spend your time and ask yourself: do you honestly have room in your life for such a project?” says Winters. If work, family commitments, sports and other hobbies already fill your week to capacity, then perhaps a renovation isn’t the best option at this point in your life.

2. What is your level of ability?

First time renovators are often underestimate the amount of hard work involved and may find themselves getting carried away, going over budget.

A good tip, if this is your first renovation project, is to dip your toe in the ‘renovation lake’ and look for a property that only needs minor cosmetic enhancements that you are confident in completing, to ensure you don’t drown. Then, be prepared to dive in and get your hands dirty!

“If you’re filled with dread at the thought of clearing rubbish, ripping out kitchens and bathrooms, stripping paintwork, clearing yards, spending hours in building supply stores, loading and unloading utes and painting and cleaning, then perhaps renovating is not the option for you,” Winters adds.

3. What are your priorities?

The decision to get a mortgage for hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy an investment property and to complete the renovations is a big one, and Winters believes that once you sign on the dotted line, you need to make the renovation your first priority – for the short term, at least.

“Most people actually have a life outside of houses – I never did, so renovating was always my priority!” he says.

“But you should never underestimate how much a renovation project will take over your life. If you really do not have your heart and soul in the project, and you run out of drive halfway through. you will not have a get out clause. The home will be left half-finished, and could actually be worth less than what you paid for it!”

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