Are you thinking of buying a fixer-upper property, with plans to transform the ugly duckling into your dream home or investment?
 
If that’s your plan, you need to answer these three questions first to make sure you have what it takes.
 
According to Andrew Winter, author of Andrew Winter’s No Nonsense Guide to Buying and Selling Property, there are three key elements of your life that will be affected by your choice to embark on a property renovation.
 
1. Are you ready for a lifestyle change?
“Never underestimate the effect that your decision to renovate will have on your lifestyle,” warns Winters.
 
Even if you outsource the majority of your renovation tasks, like electrical, plumbing and painting work, the act of project-managing your contractors and suppliers can be very time-consuming.
 
“Look at how you currently spend your time and ask yourself: do you honestly have room in your life for such a project?” says Winters. If work, family commitments, sports and other hobbies already fill your week to capacity, then perhaps a renovation isn’t the best option at this point in your life.
 
2. What is your level of ability?
There’s no way around it: renovating is hard work, and it’s very easy to get carried away and go over-budget, especially for first-timers.
 
If this is your first renovation project then look for a property that only needs minor cosmetic enhancements, to ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Then, be prepared to get your hands dirty!
 
“If you’re filled with dread at the thought of clearing rubbish, ripping out kitchens and bathrooms, stripping paintwork, clearing yards, spending hours in building supply stores, loading and unloading utes and painting and cleaning, then perhaps renovating is not the option for you,” Winters adds.
 
3. What are your priorities?
The decision to actually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a property and commit to a renovation project is a big one, and Winters believes that once you sign on the dotted line, you need to make the renovation your first priority – for the short term, at least.
 
“Most people actually have a life outside of houses – I never did, so renovating was always my priority!” he says.
 
“But you should never underestimate how much a renovation project will take over your life. If you really do not have your heart and soul in the project, and you run out of drive halfway through… you will not have a get out clause. The home will be left half-finished, and could actually be worth less than what you paid for it!”
 
 

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