All posts by Adam Hyatt

Worried about overcapitalising on your home?

Picture this: You go to sell your home only to find out it’s not worth what you’ve spent on it. Your worst nightmare, right? Working out the balance between wise improvements and spending too much is a dark art. How much will your home be worth after it’s renovated? Will you lose money if you decide to sell too early? What renovations yield the best returns? Is it even about the money?

Upfront research is the key to calming your nerves about overcapitalisation. That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step guide, as well as some other discussion points, to get the ball rolling.

Dream home or stepping stone?

Are you renovating for long-term comfort or for profit? How long you plan to stay in your home (after you’ve renovated) will help you decide which changes you’d like to make and how much you’re comfortable spending.

1.Start by putting together an old-school ‘pros and cons’ list of what works at your place and what doesn’t. Include whether you like the area, the community, proximity to schools, work and amenities.

2.Chat to a reputable builder and get them to give you a ballpark cost for the changes you’re considering. Remembering you’ll need to include additional costs like architects’ fees and building consents if you’ll need these.Builders Crack has some rough costs on their website you can take a look at too.

3.Get busy with some market research, looking at properties for sale in your area. Find out what you’d get for your place by meeting with real estate agents or valuers to get an ‘as is’ estimate and an ‘after-renovation’ price on your home. The bank may ask you to do this anyway if you need their finance to do the work.

Once you have all the above information, you’ll have a better idea of whether you’ll be able to get your money back when you sell up or whether you could be overcapitalising.

Overcapitalising or a lifetime of comfort?

It’s ok to overcapitalise in the short term if you’re planning to live in your home for a while – the capital gain you make when you finally sell up will likely absorb your renovation costs. You can’t put a price on the comfort and happiness you’ve enjoyed living in a beautifully renovated home.

Renovating your home isn’t always all about return on your investment. Committed homeowners often take the opportunity to do improvements, which further enhance the liveability rather than the value of the home.

Return on your investment

If you want to make money on your place (and don’t plan to stay long) then minor improvements might be the way to go. Updating elements like wall and floor coverings, light fittings, your outdoor space, or adding a deck can make a big impact without the hefty outlay.

If you don’t have plans to move out in the near future, experts say by converting a three-bedroom home into a four bedroom, you should get double back what you’ve spent; kitchen and bathroom upgrades typically return 1.5 times your investment.

Some investments like swimming pools don’t ever pay off – they’re very expensive to install and many buyers are put off by the idea of having to maintain them.

If you’d like to chat to us further about the steps above or a project at your place, get in touch today.

Your step-by-step guide to a less stressful Auckland home renovation

Thinking about renovating your home can be totally overwhelming. Where to start? Who to seek advice from? Who to trust? How much will it cost? Who does what? The questions are endless. That’s why we’ve broken down the renovation process into bite sized, easy-to-digest pieces to help you understand renovating your property in Auckland.

1. Lock in the right builder

It’s best to engage a builder early in the process, even if your job’s months or years away. Once you’ve found your builder (for tips click here ), you’ll sit down together so they can listen to your renovation ideas, discuss how you want the project management side of things to work, and talk about budget and next steps. A good builder will be able to put you in touch with architects they trust and other experts including surveyors, engineers and even mortgage brokers or property valuers. Need people now? Feel free to call us and get the names of our favourite people to work with.

2. Get plans drawn up

If your project needs it, your architect will complete concept drawings, so you can easily visualise your renovation. It’s normal to have these plans revised several times before they are finalised. Your builder can and should be part of this initial design phase and be happy to meet with your architect. Sharing their prior experience with you and your architect, they’ll help you avoid impractical ideas, unforeseen issues or delays further down the track – saving you time and money in the long run!

3. Cost up your renovation

Using your architectural drawings, your builder will put together a comprehensive quote for your renovation, including a timeline. It’s important not to choose the lowest number on the table but instead to base your decision on how experienced the builder is, how well you get along and their reputation for quality workmanship. Choosing an experienced Auckland building company might cost more upfront but will be worth it once your home is finished.

4. File for consent and sign your renovation contract

Once your plans are finalised, your architect will complete working drawings and submit these to the Auckland City Council for building consent along with any supporting information or reports from engineers or surveyors. At this point, your builder will present you with a letter containing a final fixed quote, a copy of your working drawings to sign off and their building contract. Depending on what you’ve discussed with your builder, you’ll either have agreed on a fixed price contract or a pay-as-you-go option (we’ll discuss these in further detail in a future blog post) . If you’re feeling wary of signing a contract, then have your lawyer take a look before you hand over your autograph.

5. Let the renovating begin!

If you’ve chosen a builder who will also project manage your renovation, they’ll take care of everything: organising contractors, materials and council inspections and keeping you up to date throughout your journey. Now it’s on them to deliver your renovated home back to you, on time and within budget. If you’re project managing things yourself, then you’ll need to be in regular communication with your builder to tee up all of the sub-trades. Keeping the lines of communication is key to a successful renovation so at any stage of the process feel free to call your builder to ask questions or arrange to meet them on site.

6. Enjoy your beautiful newly-renovated home

Once your renovations have been signed off by the Auckland City Council with a final inspection, it’ll be time for you and your builder to do a walk through to make sure you’re completely happy with their work. The final step is to apply for a Code of Compliance Certificate from council and your builder will organise this for you as well as a complimentary home clean. Then….it’s over to you to bask in your new home! If you’d like to chat to us further about the steps above or a project at your place, then get in touch today.

Does your builder tick all the right boxes?

Renovating in Auckland is tough. It’s a competitive market with many a cowboy lurking. The relationship you have with your builder will make or break your renovation so it’s important to take your time and do your research. After all, your home is your biggest asset. With over 20 years building and renovating experience, we’ve put together our five top tips to getting your renovation started (and avoid being taken for a ride!).

Find the right builder for you

Asking friends and family is the best place to start. If that draws a blank or you’re new to Auckland, then Google is your next best bet. Already snapped up an architect? Ask them for recommendations. Make sure you meet with several builders early on, find out about their previous work and request examples. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they think they can add value to your project.

Avoid the ‘man in a van’

You’re looking to save time and money on your renovation where you can, right? Then put ‘experience’ at the top of your want list. The more homes and renovations your builder have under their belt, the better their work will be, the better sub-trades they’ll have on their books and the more experience they’ll have with the all-important consent process. Choose a building company with a team of builders and sub-trades supporting them that has already built a reputation in the Auckland market.

Communication is key to a smooth(er) renovation

To enjoy the renovation process, you need a builder who’s going to work well with your architect and everyone else involved from day one and provide ongoing support and advice while you finalise your renovation plans.

So, before or during your first meeting, do some digging to see whether your builder values clear communication and collaboration. Ask them straight up what their company values are or check their website first. These days builders need to be more than just on the tools – they need to be confident communicators using project management software efficiently, so you know where things are at throughout your renovation journey. You could also ask about their health and safety and other work practices to gauge how they treat their staff.

Don’t go cheap with your biggest asset

Building in Auckland is expensive but who you choose to renovate with shouldn’t be based on price alone. You know the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’?well the same goes for building and renovating. Find a building company that provides support from the design phase right through until sweep up. Look for people who love what they do, are supported by committed sub-trades and use the latest technology to ensure effective project management, clear communication and no surprises.

Choose someone you like

You’re going to be speaking to your builder a LOT through months of renovation. You need to be able to trust them implicitly and ultimately get on with them. Trust your gut. If the fit doesn’t feel right, then keep looking for the right builder. It’ll be worth the wait.

If you’d like to chat about how we can help get your renovation off to a good start, get in touch today.