With The Block wrapping up for 2018, we sat down with past winner Josh Barker of @joshandelyse and got his top tips on how he tackles a renovation. Grab a cuppa and let’s settle in for a read.

Tip #1 – Property Valuation

Remember that whilst renovating can be very financially rewarding, it comes with some potentially crippling consequences too. By engaging an experienced professional property evaluator, it will give you a property value to compare to recent sales of houses in your suburb which will help you better understand what you are likely to achieve once the renovation is complete. It is a very common mistake people make when they let their emotions get in the way of smart financial choices, also known as over-capitalising. This is particularly important if you plan to sell the property.

Tip #2 – Budget

There are many variables that can and will affect the overall cost of your renovation so always budget for the ‘worse case’ scenario and if you come out ahead then it’s a little bonus from the project. Bad weather, unreliable or unavailable tradesman are all factors that could drastically effect your budget. A little bit of spare cash tucked away can mean you may not have to skimp on fittings and fixtures at the end of the job when its most needed. Or you might end up in a money sucking black hole.

Tip #3 – Advice

Get advice from experienced and seasoned renovators like builders, architects or designers, they can give you an idea on what the latest trends are, along with what things should and will cost. Be careful and listen to your gut feeling when choosing the right tradespeople for the job, avoid the cheapest quotes or often the earliest available trades as they may not be busy due to their poor quality of work.

Tip #4 – Research

Have a look around the suburb you live in and take notes on what things people have built, keeping in mind the type of house you are renovating and what other people with the similar houses have done, and done well. It’s important to create something that people are going to want to own but has a point of difference to everything else on the market at that particular point in time. You don’t want your house to be just as good as the others, you want It to be better.

Tip #5 – Council Rules and Regulations

It is important to make sure you research the local council rules and regulations when it comes to building or renovating. The last thing you want when you are on a strict budget is to be hit with avoidable unforeseen charges that are associated with building that you were unaware of such as bush fire protection, flood damage prevention or important heritage restrictions of specific suburbs.

Tip #6 – Planning

Before engaging architects and draftsman it can help your budget a lot by having a strong idea of exactly what you want to achieve out of your renovation as they will then lend their expertise and give you other options that may be more cost effective and more practical.

Continuous changes to the plans can prove costly. The sooner the plans are completed the quicker you can get them into to town planning for your planning permit – this process can take 3 months or 3 years so it’s imperative to get this ball rolling as soon as possible to avoid further delay.

Tip #7 – Get involved

It’s very easy to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when renovating by doing most of the labour intensive non-skilled tasks yourself like carpet removal, partial demolition, plaster removal, fill bins etc. Be careful what tasks you choose to do however, as some tasks like electrical and plumbing should only be performed by experienced professionals as this can be very dangerous, or fatal.

Tip #8 – Avoid polarising finishes

It’s very important to keep your renovation colour palette current but neutral, you don’t want to rule any potential buyers out by choosing the wrong tile or a loud paint colour. It’s easy to add colour with your styling items like cushions, rugs, curtains, paintings, fittings and fixtures. These items can be easily removed and replaced with new trends each season.

 

And that’s it! We’d love to know, have you ever renovated a property? Comment below and share your experience!