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What to consider before renovating

The decision to renovate is a common sticking point for homeowners, who can spend hours weighing up the cost benefits. Whether your motivation is to add value to your property or to add a touch of your personality to the home, renovations are expensive and debt often follows. It is important to find the right solution that benefits your long-term goal, rather than hindering any future plans.

A survey by found only 27% of homeowners think refinancing their home loan to renovate is a feasible option to raise funds for the next big step. In this survey, 93% of homeowners who refinanced to renovate, said they had concerns over whether they would be able to afford the repayments, and whether the proposed renovation would actually add value to the property.

It’s important to reassess your current financial position, run through your plans and future payments, and decide if you can afford to take on more debt.

Laying the foundations

The next step is to investigate and calculate how much you need to borrow to renovate. Work out the specifics of your renovation, what the average cost to renovate is in your area and how much you are eligible to borrow. Aim to spend no more than five per cent of your property’s value on a renovation.

If renovations are likely to take over your living quarters for an extended period of time, you may need to also consider the additional cost of accommodation for the renovation period – another cost to factor in to your budget.

Getting bang for your buck

Once you decide to renovate, if you are trying to add value to a house to resell, it is important to look at the rooms and areas of the house that will add the most value. These are average renovation prices for key rooms, however prices will fluctuate based on the city and suburb.

  • Kitchen: If you are a fan of any renovation show, you will know that kitchens sell houses. According to, the average renovation cost you should be spending on a kitchen is between $12,000 and $16,000.
  • Bathroom: The average bathroom space in Australia is six square metres. So look to spend around $9,000 to $12,000 as the bathroom is a highly trafficked space and needs to appeal to a wide variety of investors.
  • Other areas: An extra bedroom or a deck outside adds appeal, more living space and improves the standard of living for the homeowners.

Finishing touches

The final hurdle to look at when deciding to renovate is the council fee. The council can charge you up to $2,000 for an application fee, although prices can vary depending on your suburb. After speaking to a broker and finalising the renovation, make sure you account for an extra 10 per cent in your funds, to cover any unexpected costs.

Deciding on the type of loan   

If after the initial assessment and investigation you do decide to renovate, there are three types of loans to consider in helping refinance and renovate your house: a line of credit loan, a construction loan or increasing your existing home loan.

These options suit different people for different reasons. It is important you seek the right advice to determine what is going to work for your particular circumstances.

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