There’s nothing quite like a room makeover to bring new life to your humble abode, but thanks to the increasing popularity of renovation shows and reno couples (we’re looking at you Chip and Johanna Gaines), it seems we’re more eager than ever before to hitch up the tool belt and get to work.
While a full-house makeover seems easy when it’s edited down to a half an hour show, the reality is a bit more daunting – and so is the cost.
According to the Renovations Roundup report from Housing Industry Association (HIA), half of all renovations in Australia are valued between $40,000 and $200,000.
When you meet with new renovation clients, what’s the first thing you do to work out the renovation cost?
“I like to work backwards. I think it’s important to start with the value of the property and then estimate what you think it’s going to be worth once the renovation is finished. I do this because I’m really big on people not
Then I would speak to the clients about what they’d like to do their home – is it a kitchen renovation? Or just a bathroom renovation? Perhaps it’s both. Once we’re done, we’ll talk about what the property might be worth when it’s renovated – this is how we establish the budget. I always go through this process. It’s important because some people don’t want to capitalise on their renovation because it might be their forever home.”
Does it really make a difference if someone wants to live in their house forever or are planning to sell?
“Some clients might say they have $100,000 to spend and it’s their forever home. This means the decisions for renovation will be different compared to if they were going to sell.
For example, if they were going to sell, I’d suggest prioritising external areas like the front of the house – or even the kitchen. We know kitchens sell houses. If a prospective buyer looks at a house and it has an amazing living area or kitchen and then they get to the bathrooms but they’re not amazing, it doesn’t matter as much because these people already know they like the house. If it is a ‘forever’ home though, I make sure the focus is really on what clients want for their own purposes and what’s good for them.”
Is it more about how you spend, not how much you have to spend?
“A big part of renovating is allocating the money around the property so that you can do as much as you need to do without running out. A client may have $100,000 but only want to spend $5,000 on the exterior, for example.
I see a lot of people spending $20,000 more than they should on the kitchen, which takes them into the next phase of their budget, which they eat through quickly, even though they haven’t renovated all the areas they want to.”
What’s the biggest misconception about renovating?
“A lot of people really underestimate the cost. That’s partly due to a lot of TV shows that give them unrealistic ideas. Let’s not forget a lot of those shows use DIY to save on costs. Most people know what they know, and they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s when the problems occur.
If you’re renovating a bathroom, you may not think about things like relocating the plumbing – and there’s a knock-on effect from decisions like that. Sometimes people might overspend two or three thousand on a room without planning on it because of issues like unseen damage.”
At what point is it best to spend a bit on a professional instead of trying to do it yourself?
“Let’s say you’re looking at the bathroom or the kitchen – you need a certain number of square metres of tiles, shower screens, a bath, vanities, this and that. There’s a big benefit to having someone who’s done all that before.
This could be a designer, builder or project manager – someone who can anticipate extra costs so you can do your best to not go over budget. Do you want to try to save some costs by doing it yourself but risk going over budget? Or do you pay a designer or a project manager to deliver the project for you – someone who is unlikely to overspend because they know what things costs and they can manage these against your budget.”
What’s the best advice you can give prospective renovators?
“You don’t have to spend a lot to make the job look good, but you do have to spend money on the right things. Remember, there are areas to save and areas to spend
I always advocate buying good taps and using a good plumber. If there’s a leak with those products because you’ve bought them cheaply, then you’ve got to get into a wall, or go through the tiles – those kinds of issues can be so costly. Save yourself the hassle.”
How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen?
According to Hipages, renovating a kitchen in Australia could cost anywhere between $10,000 and $45,000.
The price varies depending on the extent of the work you’re carrying out, the materials and products you use and your kitchen’s size.
How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom?
Hipages says that renovating a bathroom tends to cost between $10,000 and $35,000. Replacing tiles often pushes up the cost of bathroom makeovers.
How much does it cost to renovate a living room?
One of the more affordable room renovations, simple changes to living rooms cost anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000, according to Hipages.
If you’re thinking of replacing flooring then you’re
How much does it cost to renovate a bedroom?
A basic bedroom renovation might cost as little as $2,000 – if you’re replacing carpet or painting walls – or as much as $35,000 – if you’re adding an en suite bathroom.
Words by Alana Wulff.