Love it OR List it

You have owned your home for a while now, it was perfect at the time you bought it but now your circumstances have changed. The kids have moved out and you want to downsize OR number 3 is on the way and you are running out of room faster than you can say "grab the hospital bag!" Either way, you have plenty of options and today we are here to run you through the benefits and downsides of renovating OR selling.

Lets take the 'empty nester' situation first. You want to downsize. Chances are, in a good market, you will be able to sell a large family sized home and trade it in for a tidy compact townhouse where all you have to do is enjoy your golden years. Things to think about: have your kids moved away and stay with you when they come home to visit? Do you even want them to stay with you? Kidding! It might be worth looking at something that still has that bit of extra space just in case and when its not occupied by guests you have a hobby room!

Preparing a large family home for sale can get expensive so focus on the things that are already fabulous about the home and capitalise on them. Huge kitchen? Wonderful! The kitchen is the heart of the home so focus your attention on that. If a new kitchen is going to blow the budget and the bones are still in sound condition consider resurfacing the cupboards and bench tops for a fraction of the price of a brand new kitchen. Stick with fresh, clean neutral colours and let the new owners decide how they would like to jazz it up. Buyers will forgive a dated bathroom if the kitchen is fresh and clean and 'vica versa' so pick one and make it worth while.

Be sure not to over capitalise especially in this area where a seafront home can sell for as little as 450K. Unfortunately for the sellers, this is not Sydney Harbour, but its a bonus for buyers who want a bargain. Do your research, check the market. Visit one of your local agents for the latest stats or you can check them online at www.realestate.com.au. This is a great tool when checking median house prices in your area and you can also see how your house compares with others on the market.

Situation 2: you need more space! Depending on how urgently you need it, you could consider starting from scratch. Now is a perfect time to buy land. The market is absolutely flooded which is driving prices down. If you are renting while you build it may seem like a lot to take on financially however, you only make progressive payments to the bank which increase slightly at each stage (Footings, Framing & Roof, External Walls, Second Fix, Etc) until completion where the loan is restructured from a BICOE loan (Building In Course Of Erection) to a standard home mortgage. You will be so much better off getting in to your house as quickly as possible so my tip to you is, be organised & know what you want. Making last minute changes can drastically prolong the building process so communicate early with your builder and if there is something that you are not sure about, just ask. It's much easier to change something while it is still on paper rather than changing wall frames. A completion date should be on your building contract so you will be able to budget for this amount of time. And remember short term pain-long term gain.

Renovating or extending is a great way to adapt your existing house to your changing needs. When looking at different extension options bare in mind that you may want to sell your house down the track so doing away with a laundry (for example) for a second bathroom might seem like a good idea right now but you may regret it later on when it comes time to sell. Get a second opinion! Many builders (including us-wink wink) won't charge you for advice or a quote so get that professional opinion. Even just having a fresh set of eyes go over your floor plan may bring about a concept you haven't even considered. 

A popular option when renovating is filling in a veranda or patio. This is an affordable way to add an extra room to your house as its within the same roof line and quite often you will not have to pay for a council application. I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful old home with the front veranda filled in so be sure to keep your street appeal in mind when taking this approach. 

Lastly, remember to always use qualified trades people for your renovations, take advantage of their knowledge and never be afraid to ask questions.