As we all know, when you are making renovations to your properties there are many ways to go wrong. But by being ‘street smart’, making sure that you have all of the proper permits and hiring the right contractor you are on the path to success!
As with all things in life the old cliché “Failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true. So, start off by doing your research!
And very importantly, when planning your renovation, keep in mind the potential resale value of your property and what appeals most to buyers.
Considering that the average renovation is valued at around $100,000, there are at least one hundred thousand reasons that you should make sure that you know what you are getting into.
When setting your budget remember that about half of the cost will go to materials, with the remaining money going to labour and permits, fees and taxes.
Here is our ‘Top Ten List of Renovation Mistakes’:
One – Being the best house on the street.
Realtors say that three things matter when buying a house; location, location, location. So, being the best house in your neighborhood isn’t going to give you the return you might expect. Bear in mind your neighbourhood and plan accordingly.
Two – Cheap and Cheerful.
Make sure that your renovation blends in with the original structure. One article in a June 2013 British newspaper showed a renovation of a mobile home literally stuck onto the side of the house. Cheap, yes. Cost effective and adding value to your home, no! Make sure that your renovation is sympathetic to your current home to add maximum value.
Three – Illegal additions.
If you don’t have the correct permits before you start work you might find that the local authorities make you take down all of the work that has been done, wasting all that cash and time. Get the right permits before you start. A reputable contractor will be able to guide you, but do your own homework too. Check with your local authorities before you start work.
Four – Do it Yourself.
This can seem like a great way to save money, but faulty wiring and plumbing causes big problems and safety concerns down the line. And having to re-do the work is always more expensive than having it done correctly, and safely, at the time.
Five – Bringing the space indoors.
People want outdoor space, so if your renovation uses up all of your outdoor space you could be in a quandary when it comes to resale value. Make sure that you have an attractive outdoor area where people can enjoy summer barbecues and relax. Also, bear in mind that removing trees is not always a good choice. Mature trees on a lot add value to a home.
Six – Personal choices
You may be sure that those solid gold taps are worth every cent, but the chances are that future buyers won’t share your taste and won’t be prepared to pay for the over the top finishing touches you added to your renovation. Spend the finishing touches cash on items that future buyers will want, such as quality tiling in the bathrooms and kitchen. Luxurious showers never go unnoticed. And going open plan and adding a space for a personal office are always great additions to any renovation.
Seven – Stuck together with spit and glue
The major problems that are caused when extensions are not attached to an existing structure correctly are overwhelming. Make sure that your current building is sound, and that the extensions are structurally matched to the existing building, ensuring they are not impacting negatively on the integrity of the foundations or causing cracks in the building in the future.
Eight – Building your house on sand.
Check your subfloor for soundness! Otherwise you could discover that your beautiful new kitchen or bathroom is destroyed in just a few years. A sound subfloor is essential in successful long term renovations.
Nine – Blocking the Light.
One of the top selling features in any house is the amount of natural light that big windows let in. When planning your renovation make the most of the garden and natural scenery. Put in large windows that let in lots of natural light and consider using French doors instead of windows in downstairs rooms, especially the kitchen were access to the garden is always a bonus. And a bathroom with a garden view window; always a winner.
Ten – Check references.
This should probably be top of the list. But just to make sure that you remember we put it at the end. This is vital. Check every reference that your contractor provides and ask the references for the references that they checked, too! All reputable contractors are happy to provide you with references, and those who don’t want to give references are not the contractors you want to work with.
And as a final point, remember that curb appeal really matters!
Spruce up the front of your home with a fresh coat of paint and some well-planned planting. Spending a few hundred dollars on the first impression that potential buyers will have of your home is money well spent!