Renovations | How to do it on a budget!

Renovations | How to do it on a budget!

Renovating is a goal of many budding Property Moguls like ourselves. But does it have to be as expensive as we anticipate?

No, it doesn’t. You definitely can renovate a property on a budget. Sure, you may want to splash the cash on a $300,000 luxury renovation, but can you really afford that? And is it really worth it?

Often, the answer is no, it definitely is not really worth that at all. The danger is over capitalisation. This is the term given when improvements are made to a property beyond that property’s resale value.

This can be a danger, and depends on many factors. If an area is very up and coming, bit of a rougher area, and you built a luxury pool with outdoor area, caesarstone benchtops and glass splashblack and sandstone tiles, it may not be worth the $400,000 you’ve poured into it.

It’s important to consider what is valued in the area, what does drive prices up, what buyers look for. So keep that in mind. Some people may simply hire a commercial pressure washer company to clean up the exterior as 9 times out of 10 it’s inexpensive in comparison to the results it achieves.



Paint is powerful, a very underestimated tool. A room can be transformed with just a lick of paint, changing the mood, making it seem bigger and brighter.

A room can also appear different when scuffed, dirty walls, along with ugly skirtings are removed. Potentially, one paint job can change your renovation plans entirely once you see the room in a new light (or paint).

Even outdoor furniture, indoor fittings such as shelves, cabinets, tiles, are things to consider also, as you’ll really liven up and change a room.


Some people engage the services of an architect for their renovation needs. Often, unless you are undertaking a large renovation job, may not be needed. The use of an architect comes where you will need large scale submissions and approvals through council, or when you need a larger scale project management role in your renovations, but often, a draftsperson will get you by quite easily.

Leave the Plumbing (And Electrics) Alone

Biggest rule of thumb, don’t touch it. Leave the plumbing and electricals alone. This will keep your costs down, as you don’t need to enlist the services of a plumber or electrician for a large period of time, but it will also avoid big headaches. Moving fixtures, mean replacing old pipes with new, and you will have some problematic weeks dealing with the inevitable problems.

As much as you can, leave them alone.

Natural Light

If you want natural light, you don’t necessarily need to splurge on French Doors or expensive windows to bring in natural light. Sky lights have become increasing popular, and are not necessarily too expensive.

Mirrors can also assist bouncing light around a room, however it must be done properly. Tips like painting an exterior fence a lighter colour often reflects more light into a home.

Get the nitty-gritty done yourself.

Lots of the easier stuff, do it yourself. Leave the plumbing and electrical stuff to a plumber, but get stuck in. Rip out tiles, take apart a kitchen cabinet, rip up flooring, patch up walls, paint, clean, load it up in the skip bin or curb (if you’ve booked a cleanup of course). You can do all of these yourself.

Minimise Mistakes

Don’t make costly errors. Make sure you get it right. Measure correct, be diligent and confirm your numbers. Get it wrong, and your expensive item may become next to worthless.

Get Smart(Phone)

Just like the article we posted before, get yourself on some apps.

Paint My Place: Trial a range of colours from the top paint brands, so you don’t have to sample paint, and this can save you some coin. Take a photo, and change the colour. Simple!

Houzz: We spoke about this before, but get interior (and exterior) design tips from this, crowdsource database of renovations and beautiful interiors. There are a a range of professionals on there to assist you with your renovations if you do need the help. Save images, save pros, save products, all helping you put together a scrapbook for your renovation.

Magic Plan: Again, we’ve features this before, but Magic Plan creates floor plans based on photos you take. Stand in the middle of the room, point and shoot. It will measure, mark doorways and windows, but use as a guide only.

Invest in your area’s WOW factor

Don’t buy a benchtop if no houses in your area has it. For every dollar, try get $5 back. Or even $2. Just don’t over capitalise. If your going outside, work on the visual appeal. Cement rendering as an example, can really modernise a home, and change it from the ‘Red Brick Housing Commission” stigma, to the renovated dream home. First impressions are everything, so why neglect the first thing people will see?

Shop Wisely

Be frugal. Pick up items that will liven up the home, not bog it down. Make sure you shop around too. For every tap you find, there will be a cheaper option that is just as good, but not as expensive. Doesn’t always have to be name brands, but it does have to look good enough to pass. Invest in the small things, the small items that liven up a room. No point spending thousands on a sink, splashback, when the taps look quite ugly. Often you could have gotten away with a cheaper splashback, and nice taps.

Be methodical when you shop around. Use your head not your heart. Think carefully about what you buy, consider the costs and work around your budget. Be careful, one bad purchase could really push the envelope. For any upgrades you may desire you’re going to want to make sure you get the installation done properly. For example, if you were to install a new heating unit you’re going to want to use someone like, to ensure the job is done right.



Michael Turner is a Property Development and Analytics Specialist operating in Sydney's Growth Centres and corridors. He is a Director of YPI, along with several roles at property development firms and agencies. He can often be heard on various radio mediums talking about Football and Property. You can find him on Twitter @mturnerypi or email him directly at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *