Australians love DIY, with home renovation projects proving hugely popular across the country. As a nation, we are spending more on home improvement projects than ever before, both in terms of projects we do ourselves or the investment in paying an individual or company to come and do the work for us.
While renovating your home can mean undertaking big projects that can feel like they’re taking over your life, the end result is usually worth it. On top of this, if you plan your home improvement projects well, then you won’t often find yourself facing undue stress or looking back at projects wishing you’d spent the money on something else.
Why do we Improve Our Homes?
The main motivation for Australians when it comes to home improvement is that they want to boost their lifestyle and enjoy their living space more. Whether that’s with a garden roof, a new fitted bathroom or kitchen suite, or simply painting the living room a different colour and buying some new furniture, even small projects can make a big difference to our quality of life and how we feel about our homes.
When our home is exactly the way we want, we look forward to coming home from work and feel better about ourselves in general.
The added benefit of home renovation projects is that they often pay for themselves by way of the value they add to your property, great for when the time comes to sell your property, or enabling you to borrow more if you’re ever looking at a secured loan.
How should we plan these projects?
Know What You Want!
It sounds an obvious piece of advice, but many of the most popular DIY television shows wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Australians undertaking home renovation projects and deciding they didn’t like the result.
There are two considerations you need to make here:
- What is the style of your home? Is it important to you that your renovation project reflects this? If you’ve bought an older home then it’s likely you prefer this style, so you won’t necessarily be looking at modern looking renovations.
- What style do you prefer? Maybe you live in a newly built property but prefer a more classic or vintage style.
These two points do blend into each other, but it’s important you give them due consideration. The last thing you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on a project and then have to either live with a result you dislike or spend even more money doing something differently.
Something may look good in a showroom or a brochure, but how will it feel in your home? Does it feel like “you” and is it what you want?
How Long will it Take?
The time it will take to complete your project could vary wildly depending on what it is you’re having done.
Painting the lounge or even ripping out and fitting a new bathroom can usually be done in a day, though having a swimming pool installed in your garden, undertaking a vast landscaping project, or having a new kitchen fitted with new sliding doors out to your garden decking could see your home resembling a building site for weeks.
When considering the time your projects will take remember to factor in who’s doing them. You might be able to do many projects yourself, but if you’re not an expert it may take longer, and are you confident that you won’t get distracted or bored and potentially leave things unfinished?
Once you have an idea of how long projects will take – if you use a contractor get a written commitment as you may qualify for a discount if it overruns – consider how you will manage the disruption and plan and budget effectively around this.
Some things you may need to consider are:
- Where will you park your cars if your road is busy but the contractors need to use your drive for their vehicles and/or materials?
- If you won’t have a cooker for a couple of days where can you eat out or get takeaway from, and how much will this cost?
- Will work being done in specific rooms affect how I use the rest of the house?
When Should I Do It?
The final part of the plan is when should you do it? Depending on where you live in Australia the winter may not be too cold or especially wet for you, but the two key questions to answer are really:
- When will you want to make use of your new home improvement?
- Will a contractor charge more for work done at a specific time of year?
- Will weather conditions – be that heat, cold, or rain – influence the efficiency and completion of the project?
For projects that are 100% internal, these factors usually won’t make a difference. However, if you want that swimming pool or decking installed in time for summer, or the landscaping work done so the natural plants can enjoy the winter rains, you’ll need to give them some thought. It may mean that in some cases you put off projects for a period of months, but doing them at the right time will avoid problems getting them done and also mean you can enjoy the outcomes right away.
Budgeting for Your Home Improvement
We will soon be publishing the second instalment of this home improvement series, where we will look at how you should budget for your upcoming projects.
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.