31 May 2016To Renovate ...or NOT to Renovate?

RENOVATION – Renovate; Renew; Restore; Refresh; Rejuvenate to Renovate, suggests renewing by cleansing, repairing, or rebuilding ….to Renew, implies a restoration of what had become faded or disintegrated so that it seem new ….to Restore, implies a return to an original state after depletion or loss …..to Refresh, implies the supplying of something necessary to restore lost strength, animation, or power ….to Rejuvenate, suggests the restoration of youthful vigour, powers, or appearance.

Whatever the state of your property is, Renovating a building is usually the most cost efficient way to improve is value, it’s liveability, and it’s use of space, but the biggest challenge facing anyone who wants to renovate, especially with their home is ….  

…..Where to start? … Where to stop?

You may be considering a bathroom renovation. Perhaps only replacing the kitchen. Or you may intend to renew the paint. Whatever it is you hope to do, it is the perfect opportunity to consider the optimum outcome you want to achieve. Regardless of your plans, or your budget, your long term strategic goal should always be to optimise the potential value of your home.

You need to somehow forecast where your home could be in the future – design wise. You have to activate and identify its optimum value – that dream – that potential, and synchronize it with where your lifestyle is potentially heading (short term or long term).

To do so, you need to ask yourself two questions.

  1. Is this Renovation a property Investment? (i.e. short term capitalization)
  2. Or is this an Investment in the Family Home? (i.e. your long term lifestyle)

The two situations don’t necessarily align … they have different design outcomes, and each requires specific long or short term planning.

If the goal is to enhance the facility of the family’s lifestyle, that lifestyle impacts the planning in a fundamental manner. Family circumstances, for instance could make it necessary to create a stable environment for young children to complete their schooling. The family would probably need a base. You may simply love the community and the neighbourhood is where you want to be. It could be close to the family, schools … everything could be just right. It would make sense then that you consider your renovation to be a lifestyle investment. An Investment in the family.

If the long term design is then done by a professional, and the potential of the property has been optimised, it is not likely that you would over capitalise, because it is difficult to put a fixed value on your family and your lifestyle.

This happens more frequently now, because the baby boomer practice of turning over property every 7 years seems to be over … it doesn’t happen all that much anymore.

If your motivation for renovating the property is financial, you really need a professional to help you get more bang for your buck.

Once you understand the importance of qualifying your motivation for the renovation, you can transcend the narrow focus of your original approach. You are no longer thinking only about that deck extension, or that kitchen remodelling. You are thinking about the property as a whole. You can plan for the whole home and optimise the potential value of whatever you do to it. This in turn will help break down the overall work into effective stages or design elements, into the  ‘Need’ & ‘Want’ categories to realise your current budget requirements, and hence limit any wasted expense, and control the potential over-capitalization of certain zones, or the property as a whole.

If you do that, you will maintain the integrity of the property value and vision, regardless of circumstance, and avoid ever being stuck with an uncompleted project. Then, even if you sell, you are handing over the long term property plan, vision and investment to someone else.


Gary Breakwell.  

Director / Nominee