People renovate for all sorts of reasons but most of us would prefer to put it off until we simply have to. Call it being in denial. What we're really afraid of is the domino effect — you change one thing and it impacts on another, then another... What begins as a minor alteration can end up a major nightmare. We choose instead to jump in the car, drive to the local hardware store or storage shop and come home with yet another bookcase, tin of Spackle or can of paint. Spending money on temporary solutions to on-going problems is a bit silly really and is certainly not cost-efficient.
With time, all houses, indeed all buildings, go through wear and tear and therefore there's a constant need for upkeep and remodelling. The problem with renovating your own home is that often you've lived there for years and see right past its potential. We all know that a home is a long-term investment, but you should boost its short-term value as well. So think of a renovation as a reinvestment in a home which will add to its future saleability.
So when do you say enough is enough and call the builder?
Renovating the bathroom
Insufficient or incorrect waterproofing in wet areas can eventually cause serious problems. The time to renovate is when the mould on and around your tiles reappears despite cleaning and you suspect there might be water damage beyond the bathroom walls — mould could appear elsewhere in the house as a result and this is harmful. Once your tiles are removed, there is potential for a re-fit or re-design: your bathroom may feel like a dungeon and you desire more natural light or you might have tired of the bath now the kids are grown, and you'd like a luxurious walk-in double shower.
Renovating the kitchen
The current design trend is for a streamlined look, so a jumble of freestanding cupboards, mobile counters and wall units is not going to cut it. If you'd like more integrated storage, now is a good time to tackle a re-design.
Renovating the living room
Everyone in the family needs their own private space, especially if the living room is open plan. When you can't escape each other and need separate chill-out zones or when you require a home office/media room it's a fantastic time to reconfigure the room lay-out and decide whether to extend up or out.
Renovating the bedroom
Clothes storage is a huge issue for some people. When a shoe collection, for instance, begins to migrate to other areas of the house, then it's time to enlarge the bedroom or install built-ins. An unused bedroom could be turned into a customised walk-in dressing room though empty-nesters may want this room as a study. Couples with teenagers and young adults could aim to create a parent's retreat.
Other factors which influence the decision to renovate
And the most appropriate time to begin a stress-free renovation is when all these elements are compliant. Most serial renovators will tell you it's often a case of winging it.
Planning your budget. How much is too much?
It's dangerous to begin a renovation without a firm budget. As a general rule, Archicentre (the architects building advisory service) advise not to spend more than half the value of the property on the renovation. For instance, if your house is worth $700,000 — cut off the renovation budget at $350,000. However, you should realistically calculate for variations in structural changes, plumbing and wiring.
Not every home is a candidate for renovation. If it's going to cost a bomb to get what you want, then it's a better option to move. It's a great idea to get a pre-purchase property inspection or a design concept report from Archicentre so you know if your home's potential can be maximised.
Looking for more renovation advice? Check out our renovation section.