Common reno trip-ups to avoid

For new renovators, the idea of taking on a project is filled with excitement and the promise of big profits. However, failing to recognise common mistakes and trip-ups could see you losing money, rather than making it.

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You’ll hear it time and time again, but budgeting is absolutely crucial. Styled by Hibernate’s Brianna O’Neil explains that this is one of the most important points to get your head around.

Part of this is working out what you should do yourself versus what you should pay for, “weigh up time versus money and how handy you are,” Ms O’Neil says.

“If you have to take two weeks off a well paying job to paint a house, maybe it's worth your while to pay a painter/decorator.”
Remembering to budget for every aspect of the renovation is also crucial – don’t forget the exterior!


“Painting, rendering, roofing and landscape gardening is expensive. Whilst making some improvements to its curb appeal can add [value], be aware that this can come at a cost, so budget accordingly,” she advises. Also consider the miscellaneous costs of tools, brushes, filler, sandpaper and so on. If in doubt, assume the costs are 50 per cent or more over the actual cost.

Renovating for Profit’s Cherie Barber explains that there are simple budget choices investors can make that still have a big effect.

“Wallpaper can cost anywhere from about $60 a roll upwards these days, even just one wall sheeted in funky wallpaper can really take a very ordinary property and make it look extraordinary. Feature lights from any lighting store can cost $60 up. A lot of plastic lights look great and you can’t tell they’re plastic until you look at them up close,” Ms Barber explains.

“You need to look for those items that are going to add a lot of “wow” but don’t actually cost a lot of money.”

Forgetting to do your homework

Make decisions upfront and being clear on your goal are crucial steps that many investors fail to do – and these are the start of your homework and due diligence.

Without these thoughts in mind, investors can go no further. “Decide first up whether you are planning to stay long term or turn over quickly as this will affect your approach,” Ms O’Neil explains. With this decision, begin to undertake your research.

“If you are doing the bathroom, kitchen and laundry, get them quoted together so that cabinetry, tiles and fixtures have a sense of flow and consistency. Also it will be cheaper to have tradespeople come in once,” she suggests.

Taking untested shortcuts

While every savvy investor is looking to get the most out of their investment property – and this can involve cost-effective shortcuts that don’t significantly scrimp on quality, ensure you know what you’re getting.

“I've tried things like painting spray guns with little success. Sometimes it's best to just do it properly,” says Ms O’Neil. Investors who have, however, used spray paint guns successfully in the past may be more adept at using them for their renovation.

Ms Barber explains the same goes for “touch up” paint, saying that it’s always noticeable. “Repaint the wall again, do it in a couple of hours,” she says.

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