02 July 2018 Renovate or relocate? The first home you buy will rarely be your last. As your lifestyle evolves, kids and pets may be added to the mix, your income may grow and your ageing parents or in-laws may even join the fray. As circumstances change, you may need to consider renovating your current home or buying a new one which poses the million dollar question; which should it be? Here are some of the main things to ask yourself when weighing up your options. Is a renovation possible? Before you even look at costs, take a realistic look at what you currently have and what you actually want or need from your home. Write a list of must-haves and determine whether your existing home can be altered to suit your requirements. For example, you may want a swimming pool, but if you have nowhere to put it, it may be time to move on. It’s also important to do your research and investigate whether council will likely approve the changes you are proposing to your home. A good architect, draftsperson or local council representative will be able to give you some sound advice. Am I the renovating type? Renovating your home is a messy, time-consuming and often all-consuming process. Are you prepared to live through the day-to-day reality of a renovation? It may mean months and months of dirt, dust and tradesmen in your home, endless hours sourcing fixtures and fittings plus the added stress of making countless decisions concerning every detail of the project. Then there’s the added cost and inconvenience if you have to move out for a period of time. Some people love the idea of customising their own home via a renovation, for others the process can seem daunting. Does your location still suit you? What drew you to the neighbourhood initially might now be holding you back. For example, a young couple might love the idea of an inner-city terrace close to bars and restaurants, but once kids come along, the convenience of city living is no longer essential and a quieter neighbourhood next to parks and schools might be more desirable. Take a fresh look at your local area and ask yourself if the amenities will still suit your lifestyle going forward. What are the comparative costs involved? Whilst it’s difficult to compare apples with apples, it’s worth doing your sums on what each option will cost in order to achieve your goals. If an extra bedroom and a double garage are on your list of must-haves, price up what it would cost to add these to your existing home and what value it will likely add post-renovation. Next do some research on comparable homes in your area with these added features. Bear in mind that there are always hidden costs involved no matter what road you go down. Renovations are notorious for going over budget, so it’s prudent to add a 10% contingency to the bottom line. Don’t forget to factor in preliminary costs including an architect or draftsperson’s fee, land survey, engineer’s report, plus council lodgement fees and levies. When it comes to selling up and buying a new home you’ll need to include the cost of stamp duty, conveyancing fees, real estate commissions, marketing costs and removalist fees. For advice on financing a renovation to your home or upgrading to a new home, feel free to contact your local RAMS Home Loan specialist or call 13 RAMS, that’s 13 7267. View more blogs and videos on renovation. Credit criteria apply.