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Renovating on a budget

31 July, 2014 / Category: Blog

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Whether you’re in a modern city flat or a coastal fibro shack, there’s a good chance your home isn’t meeting your needs the way it could. But don’t pull up stumps on your great Australian dream just yet –renovating could just be the most practical, cost-effective solution to getting the most out of your property now, and in future. With the right approach, you’ll find there are more than a few ways get your dollar to go the distance – after all, spare change is as good as a holiday:

Make a plan:

Hitting the nail on the head takes balance, patience and a solid foundation. At Infolio, we’re sticklers for planning for the potentially windy, bumpy real estate path ahead. Look beyond ‘the now’ and map out your renovation according to your long-term priorities, ensuring you always stick to a realistic budget.

Overcapitalising comes only too easy when you’re sprucing your spaces, so beware the temptation to spend where you shouldn’t. If you’re renovating for the future, you might consider saving a little longer: Australians should be spending up to 5% of their property’s current value on highly frequented, functional spaces such as their kitchens. Infolio suggests capping the combined costs of your renovations at 10% of your property’s value.

When you’re mapping out your budget, be sure to cost everything, and don’t forget to leave a buffer of at least 15% for those sneaky extra expenses: there’s always a few! In fact, spending a little extra now might just save you a lot in the long run: energy-efficient modifications such as double-glazing your windows and adding extra insulation will reduce your power bills for years to come.

Give DIY a try:

Many smaller, non-structural or cosmetic undertakings can be cost-effective to get stuck into yourself, so if you do possess the skills and know-how, then why not pave your own way to a primped property?

Tiling, joining and some painting might be well within an amateur’s reach -in a figurative sense, at least! If you’re dying to have a go but are relatively inexperienced, consider starting with the laundry. While all functional spaces are important in your property’s value, nobody’s going to complain if your laundry isn’t Archibald prize-worthy.

If your walls could talk, they’d tell you to keep it simple. When selecting your own finishes such as paint or wallpaper, neutral colours provide a timeless base for decorating your home as the decades – and fashions – roll on by. The same principle applies to your floor coverings and any ‘big ticket’ furniture items. Add fresh, inexpensive pops of colour with scatter cushions, curtains and throws instead.

Bring in the Experts:

It’s important to know your limits well before you take a hammer to your biggest investment. Whether the work is structural or cosmetic, if it has the potential to significantly impact the value of your property, leave it to the pro’s.

While forking out for a qualified, licensed professional may sound counterintuitive in your quest to save money, tackling the bigger Block-esque tasks yourself could end up costing you an arm and a leg, as Infolio’s Nicholas Morrison will tell you: http://bit.ly/1oirsSt

Shop around:

Whether it’s granite for your bench top or a deck’s-worth of timber you’re after, you’ll be surprised at just how much you can save by shopping around.

Before you reach for your wallet, compare quotes from multiple sources and don’t be afraid to negotiate: ask for trade prices, seek samples from suppliers and check out a few examples of your tradie’s workmanship before signing them on.

All hail the world-wide-web: sourcing and comparing labour, supplies and materials has never been easier. As any online shopaholic will warn, the only problem is the abundance of choice. While we wouldn’t recommend risking second hand electrical equipment, don’t forget your good old fashioned local trading post or its online contemporary Gumtree.com for a huge range of potential bargains for your renovation.

Where possible, it’s great to support local businesses who can offer you one-on-one service and expert advice. While you may spend a little more now than at the major retailers, the right advice and good rapport with the locals can be your saving grace in the long run.

When all’s sanded and dusted, think not what you can do for your property, but what your property can do for you! When it’s done the smart way, renovating is an investment in your quality of life: not only in the sense of your immediate comfort, but in your family’s future. If you’re raring to renovate your investment property, get in touch with an Infolio property manager today for expert advice on maximising your returns on life’s biggest investment.

Yours sincerely,

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