When it comes to weighing up whether to buy or renovate, TV shows like Love It or List It typically hype the tension between cost and profit potential. In real life, it’s not just about the money, nor is the process as quick as it may seem on television.
A host of other issues such as the neighbourhood, whether the property is intended as a family home or an investment, and even sentimental value, will likely play a role.
Above all, savvy property owners should be aware of the legal implications of either choice before choosing whether to buy or renovate.
Unless you’re just touching up the paint, the answer is “lots.” Pay particular attention to fences, noise, pollution, land use and nuisance. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Adjoining land owners generally share the cost of building and maintaining a fence. Pre-approval by the Council may be necessary, and the Council may regulate height and materials to be used. Intractable disputes may have to be resolved by the Land and Environment Court.
Renovation is messy and noisy, but good site management and time restrictions on the use of power tools may help to avoid disputes. Be aware of recycling, litter and sediment controls and the need for asbestos and lead paint remediation in older properties.
Before any alterations that change the use of land, renovators must apply for consent from the Council. Adjoining owners usually have the opportunity to inspect plans and make objections. A continuing activity or natural occurrence on a property that is unreasonable and preventable, like excessive water runoff, may be a legal nuisance. Renovators should monitor and attempt to address unintended consequences before they become legal problems.
If you list but you intend on staying in the property market, you will also likely buy. Actually, you may renovate, sell and buy. That’s three transactions.
In a sale, the buyer generally has the heavier lift, but since you may do both, this is what you need to know about the buying and selling (or conveyancing) side of things. The conveyancing process typically goes through six steps:
Ultimately, the choice to renovate or buy is yours. The important thing to remember is that there is much more to consider – including the legal considerations – than just the cost and profit potential.