7 home renovation mistakes that Australian homeowners make

Reduce Home Loans 7 home renovation mistakes that Australian homeowners make

Australia is a nation that loves renovations, with upgrading the family home or making over an investment property one of our most popular past times.

But there are some common mistakes and traps that home renovators can fall into if they’re not careful and simply imitate the latest home improvement or interior design TV show, instead of doing the proper research.

Whether you are a first time renovator, building a new home, or are a long-time property investor, there are a multitude of construction and renovation pitfalls you can easily make. Let’s explore how you can best avoid them to create a dream home.


Most common home renovation mistakes

Budget blowouts

It goes without saying that the budget you must work with is the foundation of your entire renovation project. Whether you’re working with $5,000 or $50,000, sticking to your budget can be a challenge for even the most seasoned of renovation experts.

Issues, such as not performing your own home inspections, ignoring the little costs or simply not planning for the unexpected, can significantly hurt your spending funds. This is why experts recommend planning a 10-20% contingency for any renovation just in case.


Keep things neutral

In When Harry Met Sally, Carrie Fisher famously says: “Everyone thinks they have good taste… but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste”. And this is especially relevant when it comes to investment property renovations.

Another costly mistake home builders and renovators can make is thinking about their own personal style as opposed to what buyers may want. Prioritise keeping design and spaces neutral as opposed to injecting too much of your own personality into a home.

For example, while bright, neon colours may be your favourite, a neutral colour palate is an easier sell for future home buyers. You want to create a space that home buyers can fit their own ideas and dreams into, instead of being distracted by your unique renovation choices.


DIY disasters

Doing parts of your renovation project yourself is a great way to stay under budget. However, you need to identify when to roll up your sleeves and do the work, and when to let go of the reins and hire help.

Three of the biggest areas to ditch the DIY attitude for and hire a tradie are electrical, plumbing and heating work. In fact, doing your own electrical work and not hiring an electrician is not only dangerous, but illegal in Australia. This is due to the high risk of electrocutions, fire hazards, faulty wiring as well as negating your home and contents insurance.

Not knowing when to outsource your renovation work and pay the professionals is one mistake that can cost renovations tens of thousands of dollars in repairs as well as time to complete the project.

Knowing when to be cheap

While maintaining a healthy budget is a main priority of any home renovation, this doesn’t mean you should be cheap.

Choosing the most affordable materials, fixtures or appliances may end up costing you more in the long run, in terms of repairs and replacements. Do your research carefully around which materials or aspects of your home renovation have affordable alternatives that won’t impact the overall design or create long-term issues.


Not looking at the bigger picture

It’s not realistic to expect homeowners to be able to renovate an entire property at once. Typically, homeowners will plan upgrades room by room. However, this can be an issue if you forget to look at the big picture.

We’ve all seen how jarring it can look when the owner of an older home adds a very modern second storey to the home without considering the aesthetics. It’s easy in this instance to look like someone just tacked on a new room, which can be off-putting to buyers if you’re looking to sell.

Always keep in mind the overall look and feel of a home when planning for any renovation project. This includes the size of the space as a whole and making sure you’re not impacting the flow of the rest of the property. Will expanding your living room cut down your available floorspace for your future kitchen renovation? You want your renovations to move seamlessly, creating a coherent style inside and outside the home.

And this also applies to the outside of the home, including considering landscaping to suit the environment as opposed to buying plants, shrubs and trees just because they look pretty.


Time pressures

It may not be avoidable but planning a home renovation on a tight deadline can backfire for home renovators. The unexpected can (and will) happen with a renovation.

For example, owner-occupiers may be hoping to complete a total upgrade in time for a new baby. While this is a reasonable goal to plan, just like your budget it’s worth creating a time contingency to allow for delays or unexpected issues to occur, such as discovering faults in the plumbing or the baby coming earlier than expected.

Further, the old saying is “you can have it done right, cheap or quick; pick two”. If you are time poor and want a renovation done quickly, you may find that mistakes can occur and issues may be overlooked, or you could pay through the nose to meet your strict deadline. Both of which create issues for any homeowner, regardless of their budget.

Not utilising space

Not taking advantage of every square inch of available space in a home may prevent you from maximising your property’s value. This is especially true in smaller properties like units or a semi-detached house.

Carefully review the floor plans of the property and look for areas you can utilise, such as adding storage wherever possible or adding a study nook to the end of a kitchen. In smaller homes or dense urban areas there may also be opportunities to build upwards, such as adding a vertical garden or adding an additional storey.


Financing your dream home renovation

Whether your home renovation is still in the daydream stage or you’re ready to engage with contractors, you’ll want to ensure you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s to prevent budget blowouts.

One of the most popular ways to finance your home renovation goals is through accessing the equity in your property. In fact, you may be able to leverage your existing equity to refinance to a more competitive home loan and give yourself a budget boost in the process.

Alternatively, if you’re considering a new build it may be worth engaging with a trusted lender like Reduce Home Loans and considering a construction loan.


For more information on refinancing to access the equity in your home, or to discuss the details of a construction loan, please reach out to our helpful Reduce Home Loans team on 1300 723 833.


Any statements are general in nature and do not take into account your financial personal situation, objectives or needs. You should consider whether any statement/s is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. Before making any financial decision, consider your circumstances and the product disclosure statement.

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