If you’re thinking about purchasing property to renovate for profit, or you’re thinking about renovating an existing property to increase its value, you may need to think twice about doing the renovations yourself. Getting it wrong could cost you a lot more than you gain! Many people believe that doing renovations themselves will save them money, when in fact it may end up devaluing their house because they simply lack the experience to do a professional job. Botched renovations and home improvements can seriously devalue your property and make it more difficult to sell. According to a recent report, 75% of all homeowners have attempted their own repair or renovation at some time, with over one in five bungling the job! In 2013, Australians spent more than $380 million on hiring tradesmen to put right botched home improvement projects. Doing it yourself to save money can be an effective strategy if the job is a small one or you know you have the right skill set for the project. It’s important to be realistic about your capabilities and take the time to plan properly and thoroughly before embarking on any home improvement project. Here’s a few things to take into consideration. How much time do you have? If you’re planning on renovating a house and doing the labour yourself, chances are you have probably underestimated the amount of time it will take you to complete the project. Generally speaking, the longer a project takes to complete, the more it will cost. Estimating time, materials and costs is probably the most difficult part of any DIY project. It’s easy to underestimate how much your materials will cost unless you can create a detailed list of everything that’s required and go to the trouble of costing it out with a supplier. If you perform this exercise, you may find that doing it yourself does not save as much money as you expect because tradesmen enjoy discounts on materials that are not available to the general public. In addition to performing a thorough costing yourself, always get several professional quotes on any project. That way you can be realistic about costs and ensure you are getting real savings by doing it yourself. Also remember that you must get council approval for any structural work, extensions or additions and a proper building permit can take as long as six months. Check with council before you do any work as even removing the front fence or painting the exterior of your house may require a permit. Getting it wrong can cause your alterations to be deemed illegal – particularly if they contravene the building regulations. If you don’t get the correct permits before commencing any work, you may be required to reinstate your property back to the original condition or make additional changes to satisfy council requirements and this could be expensive. You may also find yourself in the position of having to pay hefty fines. Consider the dangers involved. Qualified building contractors are required to have insurance to protect themselves and their workers in the event that anything should go wrong. If you are doing the renovations yourself, check with your health insurance provider to see if you are covered in the event of injury during the renovation. Additionally, if you accidently cause damage to your property in the process of performing a renovation, the mistake could prove costly. Renovations are often not covered by existing house and contents insurance. Talk to your insurer before you begin your project to discover exactly what is and isn’t covered and arrange extra coverage to cover the works, equipment and any insurable events that may arise during the project. Many insurance companies will only insure a renovation project if a registered builder is engaged to do the work –so it pays to check your insurance before you begin any DIY work. Leave the hard stuff to the experts. As a rule of thumb, leave anything that requires a certificate to a qualified expert. Always use a qualified electrician to perform any work on the wiring and get a proper plumber if you plan to do any works on the pipes. Most councils require this kind of work to be completed or at least checked and certified by a properly qualified professional, and the consequences of getting it wrong can be dire. Plumbing is a particularly tricky DIY project if you don’t have the proper training. Improper installation of your pipes could lead to water leaks, drips or burst pipes causing untold water damage throughout your property. It could also cause mould to grow inside your walls – which is a serious health hazard. If you do botch the job and end up with black mould growing in your walls, having it rectified could cost a lot more than having a plumber do the work in the first place. If you’re planning to renovate or extend your home, we can help with finance options to help you afford to get it right the first time! For more information, contact us today.

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