Your fool proof guide to DIY renovations

Just as Masterchef inspired us to be more daring in the kitchen, a rash of new home renovation shows have popped up, inspiring us to renovate-but how can we achieve fabulous makeovers without making costly mistakes?

Tip#1: Be prepared
The secret to success is in careful planning and execution. I’ve personally renovated several properties myself and have co-ordinated dozens more for my clients. I believe that too many people rush into renovations without spending enough time planning and preparing for the task ahead, which can cause unnecessary time and budget hiccups.

Tip #2: Be realistic
Whether you’re keen to spruce up your home or investment property, you need to be realistic in order to minimise any mistakes along the way. This means knowing how long the renovation is going to take, how much you can handle yourself, how much it’s going to cost, and how you’re going to handle the situation if things don’t go to plan.

Tip #3: Be budget-conscious
If you are adamant about DIY, be aware most novice renovators go under budget when estimating the costs. Unavoidable costs often arise from unexpected structural flaws in the property. My tip is to double your expected costs and then work out if it is worthwhile.

Tip #4: Be informed
If your renovation relates to an investment property, I suggest you find a valuer before you get started. One of the biggest misconceptions investors have is that the more capital they spend on a property, the more profit they will make. This isn’t always the case. A valuer can tell you if your $50,000 kitchen renovation will actually add $50,000 to your home’s value.

Tip #5: Be smart
Small scale renovations, such as painting the walls can be achieved without running into too much trouble- but if you have bigger ideas, like re-doing the entire kitchen, then I strongly advise against doing it yourself. There are so many risks involved in managing project alone, and some tradespeople capitalise on investors’ lack of experience, in terms of cost, timelines and attention to detail. Handling the renovation yourself could save money initially, but hiccups along the way might turn your $40,000 renovation into a $60,000 to $80,000 job in the long run- not to mention the added time.

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