Renovate, Detonate or Just Get Out

Older-style properties present a lot of character and charm, not to mention, history. And, it is easy to get carried away with the redesign and modernising of a property once you start browsing sites such as Pinterest or Houzz. However, there comes a time when the renovations may just be too much to handle and detonating, or just leaving the property altogether, present themselves as an option. When faced with these three choices, how do you decide which is the best one for you?

Ask yourself these questions.

Is the house in good condition?

If the house is literally falling in around your ears, you have wiring issues, and you need to assess the foundation and roof before you even begin the internal upgrades, then the situation may be worse than you thought. Seek advice from professionals to determine whether the base is solid, and put together a cost estimate for the work you want to do. Remember, that major renovations may shed light on additional issues you didn’t even know were there. Due diligence on your part will help you decide what your next move may be. If there are significant issues to be dealt with, and you don’t have the time or the money, then it might be time to make it someone else’s problem.

Does the house meet your current needs?

Is the house spacious enough for you? Are you looking to dramatically alter the layout? Do you want to keep some of the older features of the home or are you looking for a more contemporary build? Consider what the house is worth and what your planned upgrades may cost you. If the renovations are going to be expensive, then it may be worth finding a property which is closer to your current needs or even rebuilding from scratch. Also, you have to consider whether your plans are in keeping with the look of the overall neighbourhood. Removing some of the home’s original features may actually decrease the value of your property.

Will the house continue to meet your needs in the future?

Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Are you really looking at staying in the house in the long-term? Will it still suit your needs if you decide to add to your family, or at the other end of the scale, your kids leave home? Renovating can produce amazing results, but if the house is only suitable in the short-term, you have to consider whether it is worth it. A new build may work out to be cheaper than restoring if there is a huge overhaul to be done.

Is detonating even an option?

Depending on the age of the property and its historical significance, you may be unsuccessful in your bid to seek approval to detonate or even to carry out extensive renovations. If that is the case, it will certainly narrow down some of your options. Of course, that will only relate to specific properties, so do your research before you have committed to one particular course of action. Speak to a designer who may be able to advise you on what you can and cannot do from both a legal and design perspective.

Do you intend making a profit in the long-term?

Is it your wish to make a profit on the property or is it purely a labour of love? If you overspend on your planned renovation, then you may fail to recoup the money if and when you decide to sell. What are the average properties worth in your area? Is your property currently in demand if you sell? Is it at the low end or high end of the market? How much will a renovation add to your property? Use these questions as a guide to determine whether you may be able to sell at a profit or a loss. If the renovations are going to alter the property significantly, perhaps another may be more suitable.

Do you like the area?

If you love the area due to its location to schools, stores or other amenities, then it either modernising or bulldozing may be best. Perhaps there are very few properties available in your suburb, and you really don’t see yourself relocating to another street let alone another suburb. Maybe this area holds a lot of memories for you, and you don’t want to move regardless of your options. If moving is just not on the cards, then you have to decide whether you are going to work with what you have or start from scratch.

In summary, to help you arrive at your decision it is worth running through this helpful checklist.

·         Check with the council to determine local legislation which may be relevant to your plan.

·         Hire a designer to come up with a design plan.

·         Seek estimates for the build and major upgrades such as wiring, reroofing, etc.

·         Compare the price of a new build to your upgrade or modernisation.

Once you have all the facts to hand, then it is easier to make a decision. If you find the cost of a restoration is creeping up towards the value of a brand new home, then you have to decide on the viability of the project. As much as you may like the idea of keeping the house and renovating, it just may not work in your situation. A rebuild on the other hand can present you with a blank canvas and that can be a whole lot of fun in itself.