Home Renovations 101

Justin Andrews

What is a Home Renovation?

Basically a home renovation describes any kind of change or upgrade to an existing house and restorations to any outdated features, rooms or building structure. Renovating your home can not only make it more satisfying and pleasant to live in but can also help enhance your home value quite significantly.

A Home Renovation is a great way to make you realize your dream home without investing a large amount of money associated with building a new custom home from scratch. Renovations are also a great way to add value to your home if you plan to sell it in the near future. Home renovations can significantly improve the look, functionality and value of your home, as well as providing structural improvements that result in a larger, more practical spaces for you and your family to reside in.

Why do home owners choose to renovate?

Many homeowners prefer to stay in the same place rather than buy a new home, as they don't have to deal with all the costs and stress associated with moving location (such as stamp duty, agent fees, moving schools, etc). Many growing families often renovate their home when they are expecting a new child or one has reached the age where they require their own bathroom and more private space.

What are the types of renovations?

There are many kinds of home renovations, these are the most common:

• Kitchen Renovations
• Bathroom Renovations
• Internal Renovations
• Major Home Extensions
• Raise and Build Under
• Full Home Renovations

Can you add value by renovating?

Absolutely! When it comes to adding value to your home, one of the first places you should think about is renovating the Kitchen and the area surrounding it. Kitchens are a great starting point, as a modern kitchen makes a big impression with potential buyers. Kitchens are often thought to be the heart of the home, and buyers are more than willing to pay a premium for homes that have immaculate kitchens. A well designed kitchen area that provides functionality is a great way to add value to your home.

Completely re-configuring the layout of the kitchen, installing new cabinetry and adding in new kitchen benches and appliances is often the best way to achieve a stunning make over. Alternatively, you can simply give your kitchen a minor makeover. Swap outdated fittings and appliances for more contemporary ones and give the kitchen a new look by repainting cabinetry, installing new drawer handles and ensuring all changes fit under your chosen colour schemes and materials.

Be sure to keep the bathrooms in mind when trying to increase the homes overall value. They can often be updated at a not so hefty price tag, when all fixings (toilet, sink, shower) are kept in the same spot, and are simply replaced with more modern ones.

Be sure to research the suburb you’re renovating in and look at sold properties in that suburb to see what features add the most value. For example, some suburbs where houses have a pool won’t increase the value tremendously, however a pool in an inner-city family orientated suburb will significantly increase the value of the home – It’s all about the buyer demographics in the suburb, and the only way to find this out is research!

If you intend on selling the home once the renovations are complete, you should seek a real estate agents' help. Get the opinions and advice from an industry expert that knows the real estate suburb better than anyone else. Some agents are happy to give advice for free, especially if you plan on selling the home through them.

Should you knockdown and rebuild or renovate?

Knocking down and demolishing a house is daunting, to say the least, but just because it seems that way, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider doing it. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day one will be more suited to your situation.

It really comes down to costs, if you’re looking to do minor to major renovations to your home then its probably not very suitable to completely rebuild. However on the other hand if you’re looking at changing multiple structural elements and creating some major changes to your home, then sometimes it can be more feasible to demolish and build a custom home.

Completely rebuilding your home means you can change every single aspect of the property to fit both your requirements and your taste - although you can change most things with a renovation, it can become quite expensive depending on the level of alteration you seek - especially if you want to make major structural changes such as raising the home, or building large extensions - especially when working with a difficult block.

There’s absolutely no shortage of council laws in regard to renovating and rebuilding homes, and the costs to do either can drastically change due to local council laws or even how accessible the building site is. We definitely recommend commencing legal research for your block and area long before you get too far into your decision-making process. You may be limited in what you can do by local laws such as character overlays and heritage sites.

Whichever you decide to go with, make sure you do adequate homework first.

How do you choose colour schemes and materials?

It really comes down to personal preference, but if you’re at square one and have no clue as to what you like, then a great place to start getting inspiration is by browsing through social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram by searching for interior designers and architects - they often have fantastic taste and the platforms are great to brainstorm ideas. Online publications such as Archdaily, Behance and HomeAdore feature many stunning homes and you can even filter the results for different design styles (Hamptons, contemporary, modern etc) and also by rooms (kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, outdoor etc).

It’s a great idea to make a document that you can populate with your favourite ideas and the best colour schemes you’ve found online. We recommend giving everyone in your family access to this document so you can all brainstorm and share any great ideas you might have. Getting everyone on the same page from the start will tremendously help your budget down the line - so you're not chopping and changing everything once construction commences.

Now, of course, the colour scheme can greatly affect the mood of your home, so it’s quite important to choose wisely, and imagine how these colours will affect the overall feel and mood of your home. Be sure to keep in mind that you could possibly be selling this home in the future, so try to add a bit of extra value by using a really nice colour scheme and range of materials throughout - ensuring the colours are going to be appreciated by a large demographic.

Using the same materials throughout your home is a fantastic way to make it feel more luxurious and look stunning. For instance, having all doorknobs, door handles, hinges, taps etc. the same colour and material. Consider using an interior designer to help you plan out the interior - remember to share your brainstorming document with them as this will help the project brief tremendously!

Should you DIY or hire a professional?

Most Australians that want to be hands on and involved in renovating their home struggle to decide whether to do it themselves or bring in a professional builder. A Lot of people that want to DIY get a real buzz out of doing the handy work themselves and love the fact that they’re getting their hands dirty. But is that always the smartest decision?

Far too many home-owners dive into DIY renovations with little or no actual knowledge of what the project will require, only to discover during the project that they haven’t purchased the right materials or simply don’t have the right tools and expertise necessary to complete the project.

A professional builder will be able to tell you exactly what materials are required and how much everything else will cost. They also have all the necessary tools and access to the materials through their suppliers, which saves you from having to buy or rent equipment - only to use the equipment once.

Even if you have all the tools and expertise necessary to carry out a DIY renovation, you need to ask yourself if it would really be worth the money you’d save. Sure, it might be cheaper to do it yourself, but is it actually worth the time you’d spend away from your family and also your work? Even if you were to just manage the project, and hire the suitable contractors and subcontractors to carry out the works, you're shooting in the dark when it comes to who you will hire. Experienced builders have trades that they use for every job - because they know that they're good at their trade and trustworthy when it comes to price.

A professional custom home builder will also be able to complete the job a lot faster than you could, so you’ll be spared the headache and stress of living in a construction site for months on end while you attempt to complete a project in your spare time, constantly running behind your schedule and trying to allocate all your free time to it.

Some projects, such as those that involve plumbing, electrical work and structural renovations, can be very risky if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t have the necessary experience. But aside from the fact that you could be putting yourself in harm’s way, you may not be properly licensed to carry out certain jobs, which means your insurance may not cover damage or injuries that result from your DIY projects.

There are definitely some small, minor projects you could complete around the house, such as minor landscaping work, painting and installing small fixtures like curtains, but again, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then how do you know that you’re not going to end up with a low quality of work? All in all it’s definitely recommended to engage with a builder to carry out your renovation work. This way you can sleep well at night knowing your most valuable asset is in proper hands.

What kind of renovations does Abode Construction do?

Our team of home renovation builders specialise in major renovations - which fall in the budget range of anywhere from $500,000 up to $1,000,000. Projects that fall into this scope undergo a massive transformation. Often with the addition of 3-4 new bedrooms, adding a few additional bathrooms, adding in an extra lounge area, as well as a complete transformation of all existing rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, balconies, lounge areas, stairs and most importantly, external upgrades.

Abode Construction
Justin Andrews is the founder of Abode Construction and boasts over 30 years of experience in the industry - backed with the experience of building over 100 homes across Brisbane.
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Abode Construction

157 Abbotsford Road
Albion 4066

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