There are lots of reasons why you might want to renovate a property. Sometimes we get fed up with staring at the same four walls (especially after the last few years), and sometimes we’re moving into a new place that for whatever reason we decide needs a bit of love and attention. It might be an investment property that needs some updating to remain competitive in its market. Whatever the reason, the fact is that what’s stopping most of us is the cost of renovating.
While asking what a home renovation costs might be like asking how long a piece of string is, there are some major factors that can impact the price. Asking yourself these questions will help you not only plan your renovation better, but also get a better idea of how much it might cost you.
1. How ambitious is your renovation?
There’s a big difference between a lick of paint and replacing some fittings to knocking down walls and gutting the kitchen to put something brand new in. Before you embark on your renovation journey, make sure that you know exactly what you want doing. Not only will this help you scope the work for quotes, but it will also give you a plan so that you don’t get distracted and change your mind halfway through (yes it happens!).
Also consider the quality of the materials that you want to use. There’s a big difference between a tin of paint on sale at the supermarket and a custom colour from a quality brand. Even a small difference like that can make a huge difference in price, so double-check that your budget can handle the materials you want before you commit.
2. How quickly do you want the renovation done?
Succinctly put, the quicker you want the renovation completing, the more it’s going to cost you. You’ll need to find people who are willing to work within your time frames and prioritise the work on your property, which will usually cost you more. Alternatively, if you’re happy to take your time or work with the tradespeople’s availability, you might be able to get it done cheaper.
Also consider that the cost of materials can be impacted by all kinds of events (which we’re seeing at the moment), so if you want work done quickly, you may find those costs blowing out to ensure the project is completed on time.
3. How old is the property?
The simple fact is that older properties will generally cost more to renovate. Why? Because often there are issues lurking in the walls that won’t be uncovered until work starts. This might be simpler things like fragile fittings that break during the renovation, or it might involve asbestos removal or rewiring, depending on the age and condition of your home. If you’re considering renovating an older property, be more generous with your budgets than you might be with a newer property. If you’re trying to keep your budget contained, it might be worth keeping the project smaller to avoid creating or uncovering expensive problems.
4. Where is the property located?
The location of your property will make a difference for a few reasons. One is that it will affect the cost of the labour you’ll need to do the renovation. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, for example, work will be more expensive as the people completing your renovation for you will need to travel to get there. Alternatively, you might be in a more populated area but require specialised labour because of the nature of your property. If you want specialty work done, like a custom kitchen rather than a flatpack kitchen installed, you’ll be at the mercy of the market for people who can work with that material locally.
5. How much of the work will you do yourself?
Here is where we have to learn to be honest with ourselves. If you’re considering DIY, make sure that you’re up to the challenge. You might feel excited at the prospect of rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty, but once you start, you need to be committed to the project. The tradie joke is that you can do it for half the price but you’ll pay double their original quote for them to fix up the mess that you make. So, if you’re not confident that you’ll be able to see it through, then it might be worth paying for professional labour in the first place. This will stop you blowing out your budget and your timelines by finding someone willing to fix the original problem AND the mess that you’ve made.
6. How much will skilled labour cost you?
Ultimately you’re going to have to pay someone else to come and do some of the work for you. Even if you do the bulk of the work yourself, chances are that you’ll need someone to review what’s been done and sign off on it (depending on the type of renovation, of course). Now that you’ve thought about what needs doing, and how long you’re happy for it to take, it’s time to start calling tradespeople and seeing who might available and willing. Be as clear with your requirements as you can and listen to what they have to say about cost and timelines. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you think it should cost if the quotes you get are very different to that number.
So while we don’t have a hard number on how much your renovation will cost, hopefully that’s helped. The cost of your renovation will depend on what you want doing, how specialised that is, how much labour and materials will cost and how quickly you want it done. And, of course, there’s no way of knowing what else might come up over the course of a renovation, or indeed in the world around us. But if you do your research as to how involved your renovations are likely to be, and you feel confident that the quotes are realistic, then you have the best possible idea of how much your home renovation will cost that you possibly can, up until the final invoice comes.