Best suburbs to renovate

April 3, 2012, 1:42 pm Karina May Yahoo7

"Buying the worst house in the best neighbourhood," is a common realestate-ism. But that’s typically where this sage advice ends - you’re left to find the secret suburbs and streets all on your own. This article will help point you in the right direction.

For lots of first homebuyers, the pairing of 'best' and 'new home', conjures up an image of a quaint little cottage with a perfect white picket fence. Although this paints a pretty picture, it often isn’t the smartest financial decision – especially if your dream home is located in an area that’s going nowhere, fast. Your money may be much better spent on a more modest fixer-upper on the right side of town.

Purchasing property in a desirable location makes sense from an investment standpoint. There’s a good chance that the area will remain in demand, and consequently, the land underneath the house will continue to appreciate. Renovations – if executed correctly – stand to further increase this value.

If you’re to believe the constant media hype, Australia’s capital cities are heaving in highly liveable suburbs, rich in renovator’s delights.

Of course what defines a great place to live varies, but most buyers look for good access to amenities such as transport, shops and schools and want to be near things such as beaches and restaurants to maximise their leisure time.

To be classified as a true "renovation hotspot" the area must have evidence of steady price gains. There are hundreds of suburbs across the nation that fit into this category. The difficulty comes when trying to pinpoint them – especially when buying into an unfamiliar area.

What suburbs are on our real-estate renovation radar?

One way of determining the best place to purchase your renovators delight is to look at levels of renovation activity. Sometimes it’s okay to follow the pack, especially if you’re not a big risk-taker and are happy with conservative gains. If it’s good enough for the majority, chances are it will work for you too.

You’ll find that most seasoned renovators will steer away from the CBD ring (0-3km), and try to snap up a property no more than 10km-15km out from the city.

In Sydney, Bondi has topped the list of suburbs with the most renovation activity, with the highest number of home improvement jobs listed on in the last year. In Melbourne, it was home owners in Berwick who listed the most renovation jobs.

If you don’t reside in either of these cities, never fear. Although renovating and then selling for a profit doesn't work in every suburb, as long as you keep the following things in mind you can’t go too wrong:

1) Is the suburb what you would consider "liveable"?
1) Who are you renovating for?
2) What does your target market want?
3) How much does your target market earn?

It’s also important to check there’s not a saturation of properties like the one you're renovating on the market.

Once you’ve locked in the perfect location and it’s time to pick up the tools, make sure you don’t blow your budget on an over-priced renovation and compare quotes online.

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