Never leave a job half done

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page -

THOSE that know my rep­u­ta­tion as a residential prop­erty ex­pert – self-ti­tled, of course – should know that doesn’t ex­tend to be­ing a DIY guru.

Re­gard­ing all things do-ityour­self – ren­o­va­tions, dec­o­ra­tions and de­sign ideas – I know my way around pretty well.

I know what’s needed, in what form the task should be taken and what the buy­ing public is em­brac­ing right now. I even have a fair idea of cost.

More im­por­tantly, how­ever, I fully un­der­stand my per­sonal lim­i­ta­tions, and when any­thing prac­ti­cal is re­quired it is best I stand way back and call in the ex­perts.

I would never dream of un­der­tak­ing a pro­ject, big or small, with­out know­ing that it could be com­pleted in full.

In fact, I would pre­fer a task was never started than be un­sure of the bud­get, the abil­ity or the time avail­able to com­plete.

Hav­ing stated all that, now per­haps I’ll ad­dress the real world, where we of­ten con­ceive and ac­ti­vate projects de­signed to im­prove our homes while gen­uinely ex­pect­ing that the pro­ject will be fin­ished on time and on bud­get. My ex­pe­ri­ence, and I’m sure yours, too, will most likely con­tra­dict this school of thought.

Even the best laid plans can still end up de­layed, very of­ten over bud­get, but if you’re plan­ning to sell any time soon the worst mis­take you can make is not to fin­ish that pro­ject.

If you’re plan­ning a pro­ject, en­sure you know that fail­ure to com­plete will not only cre­ate con­sid­er­able frus­tra­tion and up­set other mem­bers of your house­hold, but your in­vest­ment will most likely not equate to any­where near the same in added value if selling the home be­comes a pri­or­ity. And some­times that can hap­pen out of the blue for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, good and bad.

For ex­am­ple, con­sider a ren­o­va­tion of your tired ’80s bath­room. Say good­bye to the blue or peach tones, the faded gold-framed pat­terned glass shower screen, the rarely used cor­ner bath you never could be both­ered to wait the half a day it took to fill.

Rip it all out, smash the tiles off, call the plumber in to close off all the ser­vices and make nu­mer­ous trips to the tip.

Then the mak­ing good starts and the wa­ter proof­ing, mean­while the car is sit­ting on the drive melt­ing in the sun as the garage is now full of new fit­tings, taps, tiles, etc.

The tiler starts his work, your bud­get is blown out, hol­i­days hap­pen, the hot wa­ter sys­tem fi­nally dies, the airconditioning in the lounge room sud­denly blows out its fi­nal puff of cool­ing air, and be­fore you know it the bath­room fund has about $4.73 re­main­ing. All you can con­clude is to be thank­ful you have a sec­ond bath­room.

Now, this is an ex­treme ex­am­ple and in many cases we rarely start one pro­ject, it’s more likely sev­eral com­mence at the same time, how­ever in this ex­am­ple con­sider the fol­low­ing – while a new bath­room in your home could add a cer­tain fairly hard to quan­tify amount to your home’s value, how about the hal­fim­proved bath­room?

This room might have al­ready cost $5000 to $10,000 or more, how much ex­tra does that gen­er­ate?

In this ex­am­ple, ar­guably hardly any­thing. In fact, in its un­fin­ished state it might not only fail to in­crease the value, that un­us­able in­com­plete na­ture could mean all that in­vest­ment is to­tally wasted.

The buy­ing public loathe half-fin­ished homes, ex­ten­sions in­com­plete, partly in­stalled kitchens, started and not fin­ished bath­rooms, halfdec­o­rated rooms, im­per­fect ceil­ings and walls (out­side too), fa­cades not per­fect, ex­te­ri­ors not painted.

Even when a home is priced to en­tice a sale, it’s the home need­ing to­tal ren­o­va­tion or the com­pleted, beau­ti­fully pre­sented prop­erty that al­ways wins in a sales bat­tle.

Why? Buy­ers are con­cerned that the pro­ject might be more costly to com­plete than is ac­tu­ally the case, they might not have the vi­sion or the de­sire to see past this decor dis­as­ter, and a gen­uine con­cern of the qual­ity of work­man­ship to date.

My ex­am­ple re­lated to one room. If you’re mid ren­o­va­tion of a whole prop­erty, the in­vest­ment in works to date com­pared to the po­ten­tial value-add can start to have a gap as wide as an ocean.

You bought your ren­o­va­tor for $500,000, you’ve in­vested $100,000 so far, po­ten­tial sale value of the half fin­ished pro­ject: maybe $525,000?

My ad­vice is never start what you can’t fin­ish and, in my case, you get the pro­fes­sion­als in.

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