Six costly renovation mistakes no one can afford to make

April 20, 2012, 12:28 pm Karina May Yahoo7

When planning a successful renovation, knowing what NOT to do is just as valuable as knowing what to do.

Avoid these 6 renovation blunders at all costs – or risk devaluing your property!

1. Failing to look at the bigger picture

The fastest way to run into trouble with your renovation is short-term thinking. Before picking up a hammer you should have some firm plans in place. Determine the purpose of your renovation, e.g. are you looking to sell or do you need some more room for your growing family? Decide on your budget and make a list of everything you want and need in your new renovation, including fixtures and fittings.

2. Not shopping around

Another common mistake is overpaying. Renovators are frequently ripped off by renovation companies or overspend on expensive fittings and fixtures. The best way to avoid breaking your budget is to shop around for materials and quotes from tradespeople. There’s a good chance you’ll make some big savings by comparing prices. A recent survey by showed that only 40% of renovators got quotes from multiple sources!

3. Not getting council approval

Don’t renovate without permits. Approval is required for renovations that involve changes to the structure or shape of your home. This includes new additions such as the reconfiguration of an internal space by moving or removing walls and installing structures such as carports and pergolas. An illegal extension could end up costing you big time in fines and expenses to rectify. If the works don’t meet the standards of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) you will be asked to re-do them.

4. Not being green

Even if you’re not a big tree hugger, no renovation should be started without some thought to sustainability. While "green" features like solar heating can be real winners with potential buyers, the big thing here is aspect.

A west-facing extension can quickly create a "hot" house, while another poorly oriented addition can just as easily create rooms that are cold and unappealing. You shouldn’t make any rash decisions about removing any trees that are shading the rooms either a large, attractive tree can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the value in some areas.

5. Being too concerned with smoke and mirrors

It’s all well and good to have the most impressive looking house on the street, but there’s not much point having a pretty façade if it isn’t structurally sound. If the house needs something major done like re-wiring or re-plumbing then do that first. Putting time and money into cosmetics, will only pay off if the appearance matches the functionality. If you’re renovating to sell, you won’t be fooling anyone once the building inspectors turn up. On the flipside, don’t add an extension without carefully considering the exterior. Renovations should be sympathetic to the original building.

6. DIY if you can’t DIY

Attempting renovation jobs that are beyond your expertise such as installing your own wiring and plumbing is illegal and can be dangerous. It’s a good idea to recognise your limits – before it’s too late. If you're starting to feel a little overwhelmed by your renovations it's smart to seek some professional help. A qualified professional can help you get the most out of your renovations, the right way.

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