Don’t fall into ren­o­va­tion trap

Herald Sun - Property - - COVER STORY - JOR­DAN MAR­SHALL

“HOW hard can it be?” Th­ese five words are the mantra of many am­a­teur ren­o­va­tors.

How­ever many are learn­ing the hard way that it is much more dif­fi­cult — and ex­pen­sive — than they first imag­ined.

“It’s amaz­ing how many peo­ple get caught up in it,” said ar­chi­tect and judge Joe Snell. “Peo­ple know what they want and think they know the best way to achieve it.”

Mr Snell said am­a­teurs un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the scale of the job was un­sur­pris­ing.

“It’s an age-old prob­lem where peo­ple see it as some­thing fun they want to have a crack at them­selves and don’t prop­erly con­sider the amount of work and money re­quired to fin­ish the job,” he said.

“The re­al­ity is a lot of heartache can be avoided if you seek ad­vice from a pro­fes­sional. If you were spend­ing that much money in any other part of your life, you’d seek pro­fes­sional guid­ance, so why not with houses?”

Mr Snell said there were many times he’d been called into a ren­o­va­tion job too late.

“Peo­ple such as my­self of­ten get called in once peo­ple have al­ready done a lot of work, spent a lot money in the wrong places and the house is still not their dream home,” he said.

“Some­times you just have to walk in there and say ‘I’m sorry but you’ve re­ally killed this house.’ It’s al­most death by a thou­sand cuts some­times.”

As­sum­ing a prop­erty’s ba­sics were all in or­der was an­other com­mon pit­fall that would-be Joe and Fil, Victorian con­tes­tants on the new se­ries of Chan­nel 7's ren­o­va­tors of­ten fell into. “With­out pro­fes­sional ad­vice you can end up spend­ing $60,000 on plumb­ing or electrics and the house looks no dif­fer­ent,” Mr Snell said.

“When you re­sell, buy­ers aren’t go­ing to pay more for a house be­cause it has re­ally fan­tas­tic plumb­ing. They will take that as a given.

“So it’s important to make sure a ma­jor­ity of your money is go­ing to go into aes­thet­ics not struc­tural is­sues.”

Mas­ter Builders As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Radley de Silva agreed pro­fes­sional guid­ance was vi­tal.

“A very smart step in ren­o­vat­ing your home is choos­ing a reg­is­tered builder. This is one of the vi­tal things you can do to make your ren­o­va­tion project the best it can be,” Mr de Silva said.

For­ward plan­ning to make sure the mag­ni­tude of the task was un­der­stood was also

in­te­gral. “Be­fore you look for a builder, de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive bud­get and have clear, de­tailed plans,” Mr de Silva said.

“De­cide on what you want to achieve from the be­gin­ning and en­sure ev­ery­thing is in place and doc­u­mented to pre­vent un­fore­seen, costly amend­ments and con­fu­sion later.”

jor­dan.mar­shall@news.com.au

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