Have you been sitting around your living room at night catching all the latest episodes of The Block, knowing you really need to renovate your house but don't want Scotty Cam all up in your spot? Here's five tried and tested renovating tips you use to give your home a cosmetic makeover on a shoe-string budget.

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1. Make a budget and stick with it.

Once you spend more than 10% of your property value, you have already started to spend your profit. Make a list of the important things that need to be fixed, and stick to your original budget. For a cosmetic makeover, you should be aiming to be spend around 5% of your current property value. Start by seeking out a local real estate agent and get professional advice on what will add value to your home in the short to long term. The key is to avoid over capitalising and spending money on areas you won’t get back when you sell.

  • PLAN – What renovations are you going to do? Break them down room by room into small projects.

  • MONEY – How much do each of the small projects cost?

  • BUDGET – Can you afford to do all of the renovations planned? Be realistic and prioritise the renovations that will add the most value.

  • TIME – How many weekends can you give to the renovations? Can you pay the bills on time?

  • CONTIGENCY BUDGET – Renovations almost always cost more than first planned. Have a buffer of 10%+ set aside in case of any structural issues etc that may come up during the renovations.

Planning renovations and prioritising budgets will require some will power, so be prepared to accept the fact you may have to compromise on some areas. Look at your big ticket items such as kitchens and bathrooms first. If you are looking to keep living in the property don’t overlook the longer-term savings that energy-efficient products such as LED Lights, rainwater tanks and solar panels provide.

2. Befriend a tradie.

Alright, I know at the start I said we didn’t want Scott Cam coming into your house every day to critique you, but tradies are incredibly handy to have on call. A small investment here could save you thousands of dollars when a buyer conducts a building and pest inspection, only to find you moved a support beam! Know your renovating capabilities and don’t risk it to skimp a couple of hundred bucks!

Always get professionals involved in all electrical, plumbing and structural work, unless of course you are a tradie yourself. If you are looking to relocate fixtures like toilets, sinks and showers, keep in mind this may uncover some nasty surprises that blow your budget out. Always get at least 3 quotes for any work and remember, cheaper doesn’t always mean better.  Tradies almost always are able to source products far cheaper than the general public as well, but if you still are not convinced, go buy a high vis shirt and ask for a discount at your local hardware store. Another option is to try online sites such as GraysOnline and Second Hand Building Suppliers, but my first tip is to ask around families or friends as almost everyone knows someone who has a trade.

3. Buy a paint brush.

Painting is the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to renovate. A simple colour change from a dark to light colour can completely change the mood of a room and make it seem much brighter and larger with the simple stroke of a brush.

Stick with neutral colours which reflect the light around the room, and buy quality paint. By doing yourself you are saving a tonne of money so don’t waste the opportunity to make your property truly shine.

How to pick the right colour? Lucky for us renovators there are simple phone apps such as Paint My Place from Dulux, where you can simply take a photo on your smartphone and upload it to the app. Once the photo is uploaded you can trial more than 30,000 colours on the area you would like to paint and let it virtually change colour right in front of you.

Pro Tip: Remember to keep it white and bright in places such as the bathrooms and kitchens. Add a pop of colour with accessories such as appliances, cushions and towels.

4. DIY floating floors.

Thanks to all of these budget renovation shows on TV, DIY flooring products are now easily able to be done by yourself in one day. New flooring can make rooms appear bigger and instantly add value to your property.

As great as that 1960’s brown carpet was back in the day its time to rip it up and replace with a nice hard surface such as cheap and easy laminate or engineered flooring from Bunnings Warehouse (plus you can pick up a cheap sausage and coke combo). There is a massive range now available and laminate does come with extra layers of protection that withstands the tomato sauce dripping from the Bunnings' sausage sizzle. 

5. Find your green thumb.

A beautiful, healthy garden can instantly add street appeal to your property. Dust off those hedge clippers in the shed and declutter the outside of your home like you have on the inside.

There are a number of small jobs which can instantly increase street appeal and add immediate value. Consider borrowing your neighbours gurney and giving the front of the house a good cleaning, include the driveway for an instant facelift. A lot of renovators don’t include kerb appeal in their budget but for every $1 spent nearly $10 in value can be added! Look to include concrete rendering in your plans and installing new garden beds with native Australian plants that require little maintenance. Jazz up your front door with a fresh lick of paint and install a new letterbox, all of these tricks can make people think you have spent far more then you actually have.

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These budget renovation tips are just some of many out there on the internet and in our living rooms through the television. If you are planning any renovation, be it small or large, the first step is always to research as much as you can. There are plenty of renovation forums on the internet to get advice from fellow renovators. Knowledge is power in so many ways, but most importantly in this case it can help you avoid a massive budget blow out. Best of luck to everyone currently or about to embark on renovations, I would love to see some photos of your progress! Don't forget you can contact me for a free consult any time to help sell your home. Happy renovating!

 

STEVEN WEBSTER