05 September 2016 5 things to consider before you start renovating The old adage “a person’s home is their castle” is still very true. Our home is our most important personal place, likely our biggest asset and expense, our refuge from busy lives and the place we raise our children. Adding value to your home has to be functional but also enhance our daily lives in some way and this requires a level of design skill and planning, combined with the knowledge of building and regulations. DIY renovation shows can make the process of renovating seem like something that any of us can do, perhaps without quite so much personal drama. But the truth lies in what you don’t see: the team of experts in the background who ensure that these projects are built safely and to regulation, and who come back later to patch up the defects. When considering how you can add value to your home, think of practical and creative solutions that enhance your enjoyment and your way of life. For instance, how the position of the sun on a spring morning lends itself to a window in that special spot to bring sunshine into the home and light up the breakfast table - goodbye winter, hello spring! Before you start renovating, these are 5 things you should consider: 1. Ask yourself: Why are you renovating? Renovating for lifestyle is all about you, your family and your needs. This type of renovation means you need to think about long-term growth of not only your kids, but also how you will age within the house. Renovating for profit is all about improving the immediate capital value of your property, so the decisions you make are driven by what will add the most value for the least cost. 2. Budget ahead – reality bites! Renovation also comes down to dollars and sense. How much you can spend will determine both how big your renovation is, and the quality of finishes and fixtures. Try not to have visions of ‘a champagne renovation on a beer budget’. Where money is concerned, reality bites. Consider delivering your renovation in stages. It may commence with upgrading your existing kitchen or bathroom, or perhaps with a modern extension to accommodate your living areas now and renovating the former home, over time. 3. What style are you after? These days there are so many sources of visual inspiration and ideas. Start your own mood board using magazines and clippings, use Instagram or Pinterest or any other online media. Set a look and style in your mind whether it is modern or classic and try and stick to it. A design or renovation that includes aspects of different themes, can risk ending up disjointed and simply not working. This is where qualified help can be money well spent, to protect your renovation investment. Visiting display homes or open for inspections are also great places to consolidate your own style and inspiration. 4. Learn from the experiences of others Talk to family and friends who have renovated, about their experiences. Word of mouth recommendations as to designers, builders and what not to do can be invaluable! 5. Get expert advice Renovating can be complicated and expensive, so having someone to give you trusted independent advice is a must. An architect is a good place to start as they are the experts and, combined with their own experience, can bring your dream home renovation into reality. An architect will actually help you get the greatest value for your budget and will be able to help you consider a choice of materials and provide a range of costs and options to suit. By consulting with a qualified professional, you will be able to identify what aspects of the existing home can be retained so as to maximise the inherent (or untapped) value in your property. Things like opening walls up and increasing the floor plan can give old properties a new lease of life and add instant value, but this requires a technical skill to identify the potential risks and costs involved.