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6 Tips on How to Keep Your Property Improvement Project On Plan and On budget

30-Oct-2017
Upgrading and improving your property is one of the most exhilarating, yet also frustrating, things that you can do as a property owner and investor. Turning a property that is okay now into something truly amazing is a tremendously creative venture. While you want to strive to achieve something which is visually stunning, you also want to ensure your building and upgrade plan stays on budget.

We've all heard horror stories of how a simple project has gotten out of hand, and the budget and scope of works has blown out from what was originally planned. Known as ‘Project Creep’, not only can this have an immediate effect on the hip pocket, it can also leave your property dramatically over-capitalised for the real estate market it is located in. This makes it harder to profit at sale time and, if you’re a property investor rather than owner-resident, it can reduce your property’s yield as well as eat into capital growth.

The following 6 tips, however, can help you achieve something which is aesthetically pleasing and also cheerfully on budget. These tips can help you restrain that small property improvement plan and prevent it turning into a monster.

#1 - Keep the building’s perimeter small

This tip is a very simple step which can help to keep your property improvement project on budget while achieving maximum square metres; which is essential to keeping your capital investment in line with the expectations of the local market. This is especially important to property investors who are not only seeking a desirable building which will attract premium clients to rent a property but need their properties to generate consistent and stable positive cash flow.

A large perimeter will increase the costs of building because walls – especially external structurally significant ones - require the services of so many more trades and specialists. If you can keep your perimeter smaller while also maintaining the total square metres of your property you can achieve more for less, thereby increasing the value of the property, not only to yourself but also to potential buyers of your property in the future.

#2 - Increasing your property’s thermal efficiency

The idea behind this is to enhance your property’s ability to receive warmth in the winter while also being able to keep cool in the summer. Maximising your property’s solar passive design can save money in the long term by using far less energy in your home. It helps your property to be more comfortable as well as less reliant on electricity-hungry artificial heating and cooling.

#3 – Designing comfortable spaces for people to use

The trend to building large homes with big spaces is declining as people find larger homes both more intimidating as well as more expensive to maintain and keep clean. In recent years, there has been a change in thinking by design experts who now say homes should be comfortable with room sizes that are more intimate and encourage human interaction. This has the benefit of cutting the overall expense incurred in building and constructing homes today since smaller spaces mean less area to cover by building more house.

As you contemplate your property’s building project, keep in mind that big is not necessarily more beautiful, and it is almost certainly more expensive.

#4 - Using the most cost-efficient materials

While massive leaps in building and construction materials technology have been made in recent years, at this point in time it is still most efficient to use brick veneer. This material is readily available and easily transported to the building site. It is also more thermally efficient than many other types of building material available, meaning on-going costs of ownership can be reduced over the long-term.

This may change in the future but for now, brick veneer is the king of construction material.

#5 - Avoid demolition if possible

If you’re building extensions or renovations to your home it may not be possible to avoid demolishing part of your home to make way for the new building. Before you set out to take down large parts of your building, though, keep this in mind - demolition work is very expensive and intensive.

Minimising demolition, as far as possible, can help to avoid many of the potential flow-on costs involved with demolition; like repair and make-good work and, an even more serious budget killer, structural changes and remediation work. Things can go wrong when demolishing parts of your building, and when they do it can hurt you in the hip pocket. By minimising the amount of demolition work involved with your building project you can reduce the potential of incurring some of these serious expenses.

#6 - Cut down on the ‘more expensive’ square metres in your project

When it comes to building and constructing the rooms of your home, not every room is awarded the same amount of budget to get the job done. As you imagine what your home may look like it becomes very obvious that parts of the building, like kitchens and bathrooms for example, will need to have more money made available to realise your home improvement plan’s vision.

When you're building kitchens and bathrooms the question you really need to ask is 'how big do I really need it?’. This is because the larger the size of your kitchens and bathrooms, the larger the expense you will incur in bringing your building project to fruition. Minimise the size of kitchens and bathrooms and you will lower the final build cost of your project.

If you’re a fan of the television program, The Block, you will understand how stressful renovating and improving your property can be. There will be long and arduous days of back-breaking physical labour, and other occasions where you can't seem to find the energy to carry out the work. Somehow though, like the participants on The Block, you will make it through to the end of your project intact. You will likely be amazed at the end result, and when it finally does come time for you to sell your property, those hard days of intense toil will seem all worth it.

Give 1on1 Property a Call for Excellent Advice on What Matters Most When You're Improving Your Property

If you are a property investor or first home buyer and thinking about renovating, extending or knocking the building on your property down and re-building it can really help you to discover what kinds of changes make a real difference to your property's value. Give us a call here at 1on1 Property on 02 4014 1900 and one of our expert property professionals can give you some advice that can really save you money.

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