What's the state of your current home?
If you’re renovating with a view to sell, make sure your home is a suitable candidate – updating old homes can be costly and take some time. Look beyond the floor plan to check hidden elements like wiring, plastering and stumps.
On top of this, be sure to call in the professionals early to understand the task at hand. Architects, building inspectors, builders, electricians and engineers will give you an idea of the scope of work to be done, and cost estimates for complex tasks like moving walls.
"The criteria for renovating is based on the following: budget, flow and structural integrity of the existing residence and orientation," says Nick McKimm, Director at McKimm, a residential design practice in Victoria.
"It's best to avoid undertaking major renovations if you intend to sell straightaway. Focus on non-structural areas that are less expensive, but will have the biggest impact. Make sure you’re maximising the flow and benefit of the house."
If you’re renovating with a view to your needs beyond the next two to five years, more sizeable undertakings might be more appropriate. Either way, talking to professionals and weighing up your budget are the best places to start. We’ve also got plenty of tips on how to finance a home renovation, big or small.
How much should you spend?
Do your best to spend appropriately and avoid overcapitalising: your expenses being more than what you’re likely to get if you had to sell tomorrow.
"If the renovation is for a short-term period you should think very carefully about the costs involved," says Zelman. "Would you get a positive return on your outgoings if you needed to sell at any time? If this is for long-term living, you should consult a competent real estate agent who’ll give you the best advice on whether the project will be a financial gain in the future."
Make sure you know your property's real value before deciding on a fitting budget.
Will your renovation suit your neighbourhood?
In addition to meeting your needs, consider how the new look and layout of your home will appeal to future buyers typical to the area. For example, if your house isn’t close to any schools, creating a family-friendly home might not be top priority.
McKimm also lists three important things to maintain value: an attractive facade, good orientation, and sound structure. "Always try to purchase a house that won't be difficult to renovate," he says.