June 28th, 2020 in

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Early access to super fund for renovation: why should you consider it?

 

The federal government recently announced temporary early access to your super fund for a limited time. Though it is in two instalments of $10,000 and there is a confusing eligibility criterion, everyone can access it easily. I and my wife had our first instalment out recently.

Superannuation funds are forced savings created by the government to help you after retirement. The government rarely allows early access of super fund. Thanks to the pandemic, at least you get access to the super fund.

The news is pretty old and most might have known about it already. But here is my view on it and how it can help your home renovation/construction project. As I am a construction expert and not from the finance department, you need to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Financial experts keep advising against touching your super fund. Is it really worth to wait 20 more years to get hands-on your super? Is it worth investing the money into your home? Come let’s find answers.

 

COVID-19 early access to Superannuation fund:

One of the many financial aids that have been flowing in due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the temporary early access to the Superannuation fund. Both the permanent and temporary of Australia and New Zealand residents are eligible.

While it is definitely going to help people, who lost their job or had their business shut, many are planning other uses for the same.  Investing in property is wise if you do it right. More on that after going through the process of getting your super fund out.

The temporary early access comes in two instalments of $10,000. Once for the financial year 2019-2020 which you have to apply before 30th June 2020. You can apply between July 1st to September 24th to get the rest $10,000 for the upcoming 2020-2021.

There is more to it. You are not required to pay any tax for the amount withdrawn from the super and the application process is totally free. So, if you get an email or phone asking to pay for COVID-19 early access, you can be sure it isn’t legit.

early access to super fund

Eligibility to access super fund:

The eligibility criterion is where most get confused. Don’t worry we have got it simplified for you. The criteria are going to be different for permanent residents and temporary residents.

Permanent residents and citizen of Australia and New Zealand

You need to fulfil at least one of the three conditions:

  1. unemployed.
  2. You are eligible for any of these benefit schemes.
    • Jobseeker payment
    • Youth Allowance for Jobseekers
    • Parenting payments
    • Special benefit
    • Farm Household Allowance.
  1. Met this condition on or after January 1st 2020
    • You were made redundant
    • Working hours reduced by 20% or greater.
    • Your sole ownership business was suspended or facing a reduction of 20% or more in turnover.

 

Temporary residents

If you are a temporary resident you must be rushing to get your COVID-19 super early release. Because you can only avail it for the 2019-2020 year. Yes, that means you have to act fast and apply on or before June 30th 2020.

You need to be under one or more of the circumstances listed below:

  • Hold a student visa for more than 12 months and unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • Have a temporary skilled worker visa, employed and yet unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • Temporary Visa holder other than the above two and unable to meet immediate living expenses.

If your Temporary VISA has expired during the COVID-19 period you can make use of the Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP) for returning to your country.

 

How to apply for COVID-19 early super access?

The application process is carried over at ATO online services with myGOV. So, you require a myGov account to apply for the early access of superannuation fund.

Things you need to know before applying for the superannuation early access.

  • Know your current super balance before applying. Because applying for higher values will lead to application rejection.
  • You can only apply once per financial year under the COVID-19 early access scheme. That is, once before June 30th and once after. Even if you don’t apply for the full $10,000 the first time you don’t have a chance of applying again. So, decide well in advance before filing your application.
  • You can apply under the COVID-19 early access even if you have accessed your super the same year under any other scheme.
  • You can apply for a total of $10,000 from more than on super funds. If you have two super funds you can access $7,000 from one and $3,000 from other by applying once.
  • Check your insurances linked with the super fund. You might lose it based on the left-out balance after early access to super.
  • You are required to have your Australian bank account to withdraw super. There is no way around it.
  • If you are super is with the State-administered fund, Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) or Exempt Public Sector Super Scheme (EPSSS), make sure they allow early access before applying.
  • For ATO-held super, you need to move it to super fund first before applying under the COVID-19 scheme.

You won’t be able to change information like contact details and bank account information. So double-check on those before submitting your application.

 

The COVID-19 early super access application process:

  • Create a myGov account and link to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • You will find the application available within the portal.
  • Apart from entering the required information, you will have to answer a few questions regarding your current state which will be a deciding factor for application approval.

Once your application is approved your super fund will reach your account within 5 days. The time taken for early super access application approval is also quick.

 

Can I get early access to super fund?

I know the application process seems overwhelming. In reality, it isn’t that hard.

I went through the application process myself. I and my wife applied for the early access of super fund and have got it credited in our bank account. It was a usual application process followed by a series of multiple-choice questions answered.

In my opinion, most of us are eligible for early access. I am no expert in this field, but if you require money just give it a try.

Now that we know everything about how to get your super fund during the pandemic, let’s discuss should you access it right now and what should you use it for.

 

Home improvement as an Investment

Should you spend your super fund for home improvement?

Let me start by taking my scenario as a case study. As I already said we (me and my wife) got early access to our super fund for the year 2019-2020. We are planning to spend it on the new home that we are in the process of construction right now.

For those wondering why to take the extra money when I have everything planned and going right, here is my answer. Though I take some of the important roles in the construction process, there is still a lot that needs to be paid.

This additional $40,000 (20,000 from each of us) can allow room for some significant additions like the addition of swimming pool or upgrading the finishes to luxury ones. There is a possibility of improvising on something that might add value to the house for the years to come.

I am no financial expert, but with my experience in the construction field, money spent on construction can make returns, either directly or indirectly which is why I would like to count it as an investment.

Not just for investment properties, even for your own residences, the $20,000 budget can make a lot of difference.

 

What are the consequences of accessing the super before retirement?

I know there are a lot of debates going on already especially involving financial experts. They claim ‘a wholesome amount of $20,000 withdrawn from the super fund by a 25-year-old could contribute to $64,000 during their retirement. So, it is not wise to access it right now for depreciating goods like cars and big-screen TVs.’

I agree to most of it. But my argument is that you should see spending on your home is an investment. Even a small expense of $5,000 can boost your home’s market value by a significant amount. Or it might help you materialize a home extension project you were thinking for a long time.

After all, home is one of the biggest investments that most of us make in our lifetime.

I suggest now is the right time to do all kinds of home improvement work. Here is why.

 

Why is this the right time to do home improvement work?

With all due respect, with everything going around the pandemic right now, I wouldn’t say now is the best time for construction work. It is ideal to do home improvement work if you are in the thought of it.

Firstly, there are a lot of grants, concessions and rebate schemes that you can make use of right now. The most important of which is the Homebuilder scheme that has announced $25,000 grants for building or substantial renovations.

Banks have lowered their interest rates on loans to encourage loaning during the pandemic situation. Do not consider loaning and starting a home renovation work unless your income is guaranteed to continue.

The pandemic economic fall is said to be one of the worst in decades. It has led to slow down in every industry including construction. Taking up any construction work now is going to provide more employment opportunities for construction workers.

You can choose to do your home renovation work within the super fund alone or you can make use of other schemes and loans to even build your new home. Are you wondering what can $20,000 get you in 2020? Here you go.

 

What home improvement work can you do with $20,000?

For those planning to do home improvement work only with the $20,000 from the super fund, you still have plenty to choose. You can simply spend all the cash on a bathroom renovation and make dramatic changes. Or you can do a cosmetic overhaul for the weathered aspects of the home alone.

The options are literally endless. Be it your residence, rental property or investment property, even $5,000 spent on the right things can boost home value more than itself.

So here are some of the best home improvements ideas for you within the $20,000 budget.

  • Transform the aesthetics (paints, tiles, finishes) of the house with $20,000 in just 5 days.
  • Target on the home renovation areas that improve the market value of the house. This approach is generally used for investment properties only.
  • A complete Kitchen or Bathroom renovation can be fit in the 20k budget easily. Or you can try and renovate both within the same cost. In that case, you will have to do simpler work like painting and tiling by yourself.
  • Spend on one particular aspect of the house like painting the exteriors, upgrading the living room, etc.
  • Spend on one luxury product like Sunken baths which starts at $10,000.
  • Or you can target on improving the home security by adding high-end security cameras.

Check out our full article on what you can get out of $20,000 for a better idea.

 

In my opinion, accessing the superfund is not the difficult part. Spending it the right way that will count as an investment is important. So, take your time planning and setting up everything.

It is okay if you already got your early access to super. The money can wait in the bank while you are working out the renovation plan that will add value to your home.

To remind you again, the advice regarding accessing your super fund is purely my opinion. An opinion from an experienced guy in the building industry and not from finance.

Until next time, see ya! Stay safe!

 

 

 

 

 

June 21st, 2020 in

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The $25,000 new HomeBuilder Scheme: Is it for you?

A grant of $25,000 is announced for homebuilders across Australia by the federal government. The HomeBuilder Scheme that is effective starting June is only available for a limited duration.

There has been a lot of talks about the grants ever since it got announced. There are also contradictions from the expert if the scheme will really bring the necessary change for construction professionals.

More than that, I know many of you are eager to know if you can avail it. The eligibility is mainly based on the value of house construction/renovation and the income. There are other constraints too. Don’t worry, we have covered all of it.

 

What is the HomeBuilder scheme?

You might have already heard about it in the news. It provides a tax-free grant of $25,000 for construction or substantial renovation projects in Australia. Announced by the federal government on June 2nd 2020, it is valid throughout 2020.

COVID-19 has brought in a lot of unpleasant things into our lives. One of which being the economic downfall has hit Australia with a recession not seen in decades. To help stabilize the economy, Morrison’s government have come up with a few stimulus packages.

HomeBuilder Scheme targets the construction workers who are jobless due to the COVID climate. Estimated to provide over 27,500 grants the total cost estimation of the scheme is around 688 million.

This is expected to help over 1,000,000 jobs in the construction field directly and indirectly. That’s not all. You can make use of the first home buyer benefit with this grant saving a good percentage of your total expenses.

The property industry is one of the most important industries in Australia. Some experts say, stimulus package is said to bring back momentum to the construction market. The low interest on loans will add to the convenience of getting into construction for many.

home builder

Eligibility criteria for the HomeBuilder scheme

The federal government has really narrowed down on who can make use of the HomeBuilder Scheme. Mainly based on the yearly earnings and value of the build.

You have to satisfy the following conditions to apply for the house stimulus package.

  • 18 Year of age.
  • Citizen of Australia.
  • Natural person.
  • A salary cap of $125,000 per year for singles and $200,000 per annum for couples based on 2018-19 taxable income.
  • For newly build houses the house value is capped at $750,000 inclusive of land. In case of Substantial renovation, the estimated value of the project must be somewhere between $150,000 to $750,000 and the house to be altered is valued less than $1.5 billion.
  • Investment properties and commercial establishments will not be eligible for the grant.
  • The applicant’s intended place of principal residence only qualifies for the HomeBuilder scheme.
  • The owner-occupier needs to sign a contract on or before December 31st 2020 to be eligible for the grant. Further, HomeBuilder Scheme specifies that all the professionals entering into the contract must be licensed professionals. Professionals who are licensed after the date of June 4th are not eligible.
  • The construction must commence in three months from the date of entering into a contract with the builder.
  • An owner-builder is not eligible for the scheme as it is targeted to benefit the construction market.

 

What kind of home can you build under the HomeBuilder scheme?

Off the plan, apartment, individual dwelling all of which can be bought under the HomeBuilder Scheme with the limitation of $750,000.

It also applies if you are already in the talks or pre-construction phase and haven’t signed the contract. On the contrary, if you have just signed the contract before June 4th, you are not eligible.

For those owning land and want to construct on it, the same condition applies. The cumulative value of land and house that does not exceed $750,000 are eligible. The same goes for complete demolition and rebuild.

 

What is a substantial renovation?

Substantial renovation, according to the fact sheet provided by the treasury means anything that changes the dwelling substantially and does not involve cosmetic changes only.

Even if replacement of foundations, taking down walls are not part of the plan, it must improve on accessibility, safety and/or liveability of the property. So,  Swimming pool, granny flats, sheds, landscaping that are detached from the main dwelling can not be included.

So, cosmetic changes to the kitchen and bathroom probably won’t be eligible for the grant. If you are looking for anything of that sorts your super fund can help.

Home renovation project

How to get $25,000 for your house renovation or build?

The grant is fairly new and the application process is not structured yet. The criteria, itself is said to be means-tested. For now, the applications process is taken care of by the state treasury after your state or territory has entered the National Partnership Agreement with the Commonwealth Government.

You will have to submit certain documents of the owner-occupier and some related to the property. You will need to hire valuation professionals for house value and an architect/building contractor to estimate the project value.

For a clearer view on the application process, we will have to wait or contact your state treasury personally. But do not idle till then. If you have plans of applying for the grant, you should start right now.

The signing of the contract with the building professionals before the end of 2020 is one of the qualifying factors. But signing the contract comes in at the middle of the construction timeline. You can’t get to contracting the next day you decide to build or renovate. There is a lot of preconstruction work that you need to do like applying for development approval etc.

Only buying off-the-plan houses have very less or no pre-construction work as the seller takes care of most of the work.

 

How can you make the best out of the current situation?

The construction market is facing a never seen recession like most other economic sectors. Though it is bad for professionals like us, end customers are going to be benefitted in the form of grants, rebates, stamp duty relaxation and low-interest loans.

Let’s see how much you can save if you have renovation plans in mind. The home renovation costs in Australia range from $20,000 to $300,000 which is well under the scheme limit of $750,000. If you fall under the salary limit mentioned, then the $25,000 grant is already yours. Plus, you can use the superannuation fund up to $20,000 if required. That is a total of $45,000 of relief in the renovation budget.

What about those looking for a new home? For most it is the same as above, you can enjoy a maximum of $45,000. If you are a first home buyer you have grants and relaxations raining. Because the HomeBuilder Scheme does not restrict or demean any other grants/relaxation scheme. You can avail any scheme to its fullest on top of the $25,000 home stimulus.

That can mean savings above $60,000 in some states for first home buyers. ($25,000 Homebuilder grant + up to $20,000 Superannuation fund + $15,000 first home buyer grant + rebates and stamp duty relaxations)

I wish I had these benefits lined up when I planned my first home. But never mind, at least you make the best use of the situation.

But don’t let the offers direct you to a hasty decision. Make sure your financial situation is strong and check for any major expenses expected in the near future.

Spend time on planning and research rather than regretting and repaying.

June 10th, 2020 in

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Common renovation mistakes and how to avoid them?

Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au

 

Whether you’re a seasoned renovator or it’s your first time, there are many renovation mistakes that you should actively avoid when starting out on a new project.

 

From overcapitalizing or renovating the wrong rooms to re-locating plumbing and electrical work, there are several renovation blunders that you should steer clear of if you want your project to be a success.

 

1) Renovation cost estimation: material and labour costs

Failing to research material and labour costs are one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to property renovation. Whether it’s researching labour costs online, comparing quotes from different suppliers or finding out which materials are the most durable or environmentally-friendly, there are many things to consider when embarking on a renovation project.

Soak up all the information you can to ensure that you make the right decisions for your project and don’t fall into the trap of underestimating costs, as this may lead to you overcapitalising on your project (ie, selling your property at a loss).

Overestimating the renovation budget is similarly worse as you end up paying more than required which translates to a lesser value.

 

How to avoid renovation cost issues?

Before you start, get a valuation from your local real estate agent. Given that renovation is a risky business it’s a good idea to get a handle on what your home is worth before starting. Why pay big bucks renovating if you won’t make the money back?

One of the must-do’s in the pre-construction phase is budgeting. Prepare a budget like a hawk. Shop around for fittings both in-person and online. You’ll be surprised at what bargains you can pick up by doing your research. Paying in cash is a great way to get further discounts too.

Also, some retailers are keen to get rid of end-of-line products or display models so ask them if they have any available for you to see. And don’t be afraid to haggle!

Many things can go wrong when renovating and it could mess up even the most finely tuned timetable. Assume that if something is to go wrong, it usually will. Make contingency plans for wet weather, unavailability of contractors, and if a job takes longer than expected.

Remember to also factor in any other indirect renovation costs including local council fees, professional fees, finance repayments, rental payments (if you have to move out during the renovation) and so on. For instance, if you’re taking out a loan to cover your renovation costs, use a calculator to forecast your repayments.

And always, always keep some money aside for the unexpected. It’s best to not skimp on quality or cut corners.

Renovation planning

2) Renovation schedule and timeline

While a lot of people emphasise the importance of budgeting (which is important, of course), many forget to create a renovation project timeline. Once you’ve mapped out the scope of your work, you should estimate how long each task will take and come up with a project completion date. If you don’t set yourself a deadline, you’ll never finish!

Proper timelining is required to schedule the work of the subcontractors. What if you estimated a different time and scheduled your plumber to work a weak earlier? You might have to pay the cancellation fee adding messing up the renovation budget.

How to prepare a good renovation schedule and timeline?

First, know the basic of building construction. Do your research on the time taken for renovation tasks. Or, consult some on in the renovation space for speeding up the process. Don’t forget to include pre-construction phase where the documentation, approval and planning are gonna take weeks if not months to complete.

If you are new to the space, use templates that help with organizing the home renovation project. Getting started with a tried and tested template is going to save a lot of time and save you from a few risks.

 

3) Going overboard with DIY tasks

There are some tasks you can definitely do yourself, such as painting or basic landscaping, but there are also certain things that you shouldn’t attempt. When it comes to more complex work such as plumbing or carpentry, you should always consult a licensed professional, which is also the legal way to get it done.

Attempting DIY projects for complex tasks, particularly those that require specific skills, is not only dangerous but it may end up being more costly if you do it wrong and then have to rectify it later down the track.

Where to draw the line for DIY renovation tasks?

While DIY is appreciable for certain tasks, do not go overboard on DIY. Do things that you have learned, prepared to do. And keep in mind DIY is not that easy either. You need to invest your time and money to learn the skill and get the necessary tools.

I recommend doing basic things like painting, tiling, countertop replacement and not touching any of the complex work. Owner builder license is the right place to start if you have enough time to visit sites, plan and coordinate with the contractors. Though, you might need to buy home indemnity insurance if you take the owner building route.

Be it simple or complex work, it is good to get advice from an engineer, architect or experienced building contractor before starting work than having to hire them later to repair the mess you have created. Speak to local real estate agents about the types of upgrades or features that will add the most value to your property.

 

4) Building Permit, Development Approval and License

Renovation sometimes requires zero paperwork. The other times you need to go through the hassle of getting approvals and permits. It can take longer to process, around 4 weeks for DA alone. It might come in unexpected if you haven’t planned the renovation properly.

Renovation permits and approval are not only necessary to avoid penalties but to make sure the building construction meets the regulations and is safe for the workers and the future occupants.

How to make sure you get all the permit for a home renovation?

Consult your local council, first. That is where you need to start getting permits anyway. If you need a planning permit, hire an architect or building planner to do it.

For Development approval, you can forward the planning permit documents. Regarding the license, there are many types of license to practice various work in home construction.

Finalise the building plans right before you start with permits. Because if you want to change the approved building permit, you need to go through the whole process again to get it approved.

 

 

5) Renovating the wrong areas/rooms

Spending $15,000-$20,000 on a laundry upgrade is just ludicrous. When planning out your renovation project. Failing to focus your energy (and money) on the areas that are most frequently used or occupied won’t add value to the property.

Where renovation tasks should you focus if you are renovating for a profit?

Generally, you should focus the majority of your renovation budget on areas such as the master bedroom, the living room and the kitchen (and less on areas such as the laundry or guest bedroom).

You should also consider the demographics of the area so that you know who you’ll need to appeal to when it comes time to put your property on the market. Knowing the demographic profile of potential residents, such as their age, disposable income or living preferences (eg, do they want to own outright or rent?), will help you reach more informed decisions.

 

Renovation in progress
Home renovation process

6) Relocating electrics and plumbing

Moving around your electricals and plumbing can be extremely costly, so if possible, you should try to leave them in the same location. It requires specific licenses to carry out such tasks.

How to avoid/minimize electrical and plumbing work in a home renovation project?

When rearranging appliances or redoing the setup, design plans that can utilize existing power and pipelines. Especially in the kitchen and bathroom where plumbing and electrical work is more likely required.

 

Planning and seeing through a renovation project can be timely, costly and emotionally draining, so it’s worth doing some research to learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them. Spend some time reading up on prices, materials, installation methods and industry trends so that you can achieve your desired outcome and live in your dream home.

 


 

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June 12th, 2020 in

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Cost to renovate a house: Interior, Exterior and Room wise split-up

The cost to renovate your house can range from $20,000 to $300,000 or even more if you are willing to burn cash to ready your home.

Don’t panic the 6 figure, your renovation project might not require that big a budget. In fact, most renovation projects in Australia costs around $100,000 for a 3-bedroom house.

So here is a complete guide to finding the budget for your dream home. If you don’t have a renovation idea in mind, it is still advisable to know the basics first and then find a design that fits in the budget.

house fund

Renovation cost per square meter

The renovation cost per square meter will give you an approximated figure on how much you will be spending on your house.

According to industry data, the average cost to renovate a house is between $2,000 to $2,500 per square meter here in Australia. In my experience renovating custom projects, the price can go up to $4,000.

How do I get to this number? Well, I have taken all the financial data from every house I have renovated over the last 20 years and the average from all of my projects is closer to $3,000.

That takes into consideration that most of my renovations were custom designs by architects and usually involved putting a second story on a single-story home and fully refurbishing the existing dwelling.

You can get project home builders that pump out the same design over and over for as low as $1,500 per meter square. But if you are on this site you are most probably not looking for that option.

Now, is calculating the cost per square meter the best way to estimate what your renovation project will cost you? In my opinion the answer is NO!

So, how else to estimate the budget by yourself.

Cost Calculators? Yes, they can be helpful to an extent. But most of them generalize the amount and do not provide options to select every varying factor.

Or you can handpick the elements and rooms to be renovated from the list below and nail the budget.

 

complete bathroom renovation project

Interior renovation: Room wise split-up

Do you know the kitchen and bathroom are the most renovated rooms in the house? Not only it has the most potential to be damaged and look outdated over time, it is the most valued areas home buyers look into as part of home evaluation. They are also the most difficult rooms to renovate that requires many different tradesmen.

Kitchen renovation cost: $10,000 to $45,000

This is will factor in the costs of countertops, kitchen appliances, cabinets, and the labour involved in the relocation/re-laying of pipes and electric line.

Bathroom renovation cost: $10,000 to $40,000

The average bathroom renovation expense is around $30,000 for a modern bathroom with bath. Though there isn’t much to buy new, the tiling across the wall and floor, resurfacing the bathtub and many other things bloat the expenses.

Living room renovation cost: $10,000 to $15,000

The most viewed room of any home. Though there isn’t much except furniture, the expenses are directed towards interior design and décor to give a good impression.

Bedroom renovation cost: $2,000 to 25,000

You can do just the paint and flooring for $2,000 or go full on to get a fresh look for $25,000. The price can go up to $35,000 for en-suite bedroom.

Laundry and wash area renovation cost: $15,000 to 20,000

There is not much to choose in this small portion of the house. You can do a luxury laundry renovation for $2,000 more than regular.

 

 

 

Exterior renovation:

Exterior renovation and maintenance is something not many touch unless they are planning to sell the house. But it shouldn’t be the case. You must take care of the exterior paint and garden from time to time.

Exterior painting cost: $10,000

An average-sized, single storey 2/3 bedroom house costs no more than $10,000 for painting the exteriors. If you factor in the recladding and insulation work you might expect a bill around $35,000.

Garden and deck renovation cost: $2,000 to $10,000

Depending on the surface area of the garden and deck you will have an expense lower than 10,000 for landscaping, basic light setup and fencing. For additional elements like an outdoor kitchen, BBQ or bar you might have to go beyond the budget.

Ventilation system cost: $2,000 to $5,000

One of the cheapest in home renovation is the roof ventilation replacement.

Roofing cost: $10,000 to $20,000

The cost of taking down and replacing the roof is going to largely vary with the choice of material. Corrugated Iron Roof is estimated to cost around $15,000.

home exterior

Home extension:

Some times you do not stop with the house renovation. You might need to add an extra room to accommodate the new member of the family or add a pool. Either way here is the cost involved in home extension projects.

Keep in mind this is going to bounce your budget way more than you think.

Swimming pool installation: starting from $35,000

The starting range of 7.5*4 meter fibreglass pool installation is going to cost you $35,000 without taking into account the cost of covers, decking, landscaping, etc. Concrete pools of the same size cost around $55,000.

Loft conversion cost: $200,000 to $450,000

This one thing is going to cost even more than the whole renovation budget itself. But it is an easy home extension if you need an extra room.

 

Miscellaneous renovation cost that you must know:

Individual prices of some of the common renovation work carried out in a house is listed so that you can add them in your budget. Please note, these work costs are already added in the room wise price if they are required. If you are looking for doing any of the specific tasks but not the whole room, only then add these costs to your budget list.

Designing: 5% to 20% of project value

The design and planning play a larger part in the pre-construction phase that can not be overlooked. You will most often require an architect or builders help to plan your home renovation. The price ranges from $1200 to $1800 for new builds and house extensions.

License, permits, insurance and other documents:

Contact your local council for more information.

Double glazing cost for the bathroom: $10,000

It can almost reduce the expense by half otherwise spent on buying new joinery.

Asbestos removal cost: $500 to $9,500

An unsafe process handled only by professionals will vary depending on the size of the house.

Rubbish removal: $300 to $2000

Skip bin is a buffer to store the demolished remains and other waste from the construction site that will later be disposed of. Depending on the waste, you need to order a bigger skip bin.

Flooring installation price: $50 to $200 depending on floor type

Carpet installation price: $175 to $750 for installation alone.

Interior house painting: $600 to $3,400 including labour and paint.

Interior decoration: $170 to $320 per hour (decors to be bought separately)

 

The budgeting doesn’t end here. There are some un-accountable expenses like transportation of materials and then there is the risk factor – unexpected expenses. Every project is different and has its own unique cost factors such as:

  • Access to the property, is it easy or hard to get materials and trucks into?
  • Is the renovation just a square box added to the back of the house, or an architectural masterpiece?
  • Are there any specialised building materials being used?
  • Are the finishes high end or budget?
  • Will major structural modifications be made to the existing house?

The above are just a handful of questions that you need to ask yourself before you take the cookie-cutter approach of adding a cost per square meter to your design. Leave a good headroom of 5-10% of the total cost for such expenses to avoid nightmares amidst construction period.

The geography of the house is a varying factor that you need to take account of while budgeting. It reflects in the cost of material and costs involved in licensing and buying permits and most of all labour costs. For example, the kitchen renovation labour costs an average of $50 in Queensland compared to $80 in New South Wales.

 

So, what is your budget?

Is the number bigger than you anticipated? It is to most of us. The main reason being the numerous renovation TV shows we are used to.

It doesn’t mean renovation shows are false either. Remember they do most of the work by themselves and do not have a profit margin at all. I know you are already thinking about DIY home renovation. But wait.

 

DIY home renovation

DIY home renovation: Things to know before you start

Taking responsibility and doing as much work by yourself is the best way to save money and get more involved in your home renovation project. But there are some caveats.

  • Construction is not easy. You need proper training to do work with the same quality as professionals.
  • Even with utmost dedication, you need to draw a line. You can’t take responsibility for all of the work. Speciality work like plumbing, electrical and Asbestos removal requires proper licensing along with online courses and training.
  • You need to spend money and time in the pre-construction phase if you are serious about taking complex DIY renovation work. The money you need to spend on licenses is going to be lesser than that you pay to the professional otherwise. But make sure you have enough time to spend on learning and on the site, especially if you want to be an owner-builder. Owner builder has a responsibility equal to the fulltime job of a building contractor.
  • With all that set, the risk of falling is higher when you swap out professional workers with yourself. So, have a larger contingency fund. Take proper insurances and be prepared for any mishaps.

My advice is to take DIY work only if you feel so short on funding and have plenty of time in hand.

 

Final thoughts

To wind it up, there is an easy and straight forward way to get an accurate figure or even a ballpark cost before starting your design is to talk with two to three professionals (I.e. Architects or Builders) about what you are proposing to do and take the averages of the estimates to get a starting point.

If you proceed to the next stage of getting your concept plans drawn, this will be enough for you to get tenders on before you move onto the final design, and give you room to scale up or down depending on the estimated costs.

Have you recently been given a square meter price to renovate your home? If so tell us about your experience in the comments section below to start the conversation.


 

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June 11th, 2020 in

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Selection’s process: What is it, and do I need an interior designer?

 

You must have heard the term selections process or finished selection if you have done your research regarding construction or renovation. It is the very important part in the planning phase that is sometimes overlooked.

Skipping on this stage can lead to running back and forth between store and site during the construction. It might even cause a significant delay in project completion. So, here is everything you need to know about to selecting your finishes.

 

What is the selection’s process?

The selection’s process is what I call the system that I use for selecting all of the products, materials, and various items that will be used in putting together your building project. The list of items can be somewhat daunting and will be driven by the scale and size of your project. In my opinion this is one of the most important steps in getting organized and setting yourself up for success.

The list of selection items could be endless and will depend on your individual project. Below I have listed some examples of the items you may need to select or at least have some input on when dealing with any of the various professionals who you may have employed.

You can get a copy of the basic selection’s template I use in the pre-commencement stage of all my projects.

Home finishes

Here are the various items that you need to finalize during the selections process:

Internal Finishes

  • Wall and Floor finishes – Tiles and various stones such as marble, granite, limestone,
  • Paint finishes and colour selections
  • Flooring – floor boards, carpets
  • Wall paper and feature wall detailing.
  • Toilets, taps, and other associated bathroom fittings
  • Shower screens
  • Light fittings
  • Kitchens and appliances

These are the most commonly finishes that most of us are aware of. But there is more to the list that we neglect initially but keep running around later.

  • Stone benches
  • Splashbacks (Glass or tile)
  • Vanities
  • Shaving cabinets
  • Detailed joinery
  • Plaster cornices (or none depending on detailing)
  • Skirtings
  • Architraves
  • Internal doors, door handles and associated fittings
  • Networking cabling or smart wiring for home automation

 

External Finishes

  • Windows and doors
  • Face bricks; cladding
  • Various sheet panelling
  • Rendered surfaces
  • Roof coverings
  • Terracotta tiles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Slate shingles
  • Metal roof sheeting
  • Fascia and gutter styles
  • External surfaces with tiles, stone, or concrete such as driveways, paths, and retaining walls etc.
  • Decks, pergolas, and painted surfaces including colour selections.

The list is endless depending on the level of detail that is required for your project, but you will be surprised because even the smallest projects can include many of these various items.

Depending on the level of assistance you have through your selection’s process, it is going to take you a considerable amount of time to select all of these items — believe me that it will be worth it!

 

When to choose your finishes and finalize the selection?

I have personally been involved in hundreds of construction projects over the last twenty years. I have been at both ends of the spectrum. From everything completely selected right down to the last detail prior to starting onsite, to others that are just so anxious to make a start they are prepared to wing the selections along the way.

Let me tell you that the clients with the latter approach usually ended up with considerably longer build times onsite due to delays with selecting and supplying materials. They were usually the ones that ended up blowing their budget as well. When you’re rushed or pressured for a decision, it does not leave you a lot of time to shop around!

So, the lesson to take away from this is to select as much as you can up-front in the pre-commencement stage. By doing so you will be able to shop around for the best prices. You also get to adjust your selections if you find out that costs are over or under your original budget.

Finishes selection and budgeting

Going out to the marketplace for tenders from various builders, tradesman, or suppliers with your plans before you have made selections will be difficult to compare your prices. It is due to the inclusion of various allowances, either based on their standard inclusions, or guesstimates until the selection is finalised.

Allowances made for items before a selection is finalised is usually referred to as a ‘provisional sum.’ We will touch on this more in our estimating section of the site. My advice would be to try and avoid too many of these before you start because your true building cost will be unknown.

interior design and the selections process

 

How to do the selections process:

Document your selections:

Though the major portion of the selection process is going to be spent in showrooms, you need to spend some time on the table too. Documentation of all the choices is important. I recommend downloading my selection’s template, in my 5-stage process, where I lay how to focus on getting the big-ticket items out of the way first.

The hectic showroom visits:

This part of the selection’s process will involve visiting various showrooms and talking to suppliers about the products you are looking to purchase or receive quotes on. This part of the process can become time consuming and frustrating if not performed correctly.

There are also various showrooms and suppliers out there that are one-stop-shops. If you can select your plumbing fittings, tiles, kitchens, and appliances in one spot, it will save you a lot of running around. Even if you do want to shop around, starting at these suppliers will help you to create a wish-list of everything you require, including prices that you can then take away and break down to shop around with.

Some of these suppliers and showrooms will require appointments, so I recommend you call ahead to arrange one as you will need to allocate a good portion of your day to this process. This way you will be guaranteed to get your showroom representative’s full attention in helping with your selections.

Focus on one segment at a time

If you can plan or block out a full day then you should be able to squeeze in at least three major selection item categories. For example, you might choose to focus on the bathroom fitting and tile showroom, the kitchen showroom, and the window and door showroom. I recommend them in this order because the first one is a the most time-consuming and can be draining when you consider all of the individual fittings, such as taps and toilets, that maybe required in your project.

Kitchen selections can also be onerous, but if you have a reasonably detailed plan of what you require, the process should be streamlined. As for window selections, depending on the level of detail you or your designer has specified, the selection may only be between timber or aluminum, colour of frames and hardware, or a selection of frame-size grade of residential, commercial, or semi-commercial.

Finalize all of the selections before the work commences

I keep saying this until everyone is gonna take it seriously. You need to finish your finishes selection process well before the actual site work starts.

It is even better if you can bring in all the material to the site so that there is not buffer period or waiting.

 

Do I need an interior designer?

If you are time-poor, don’t feel confident with selecting your items, or just want some guidance in the look and feel of your overall design, then an interior designer could be the way to go.

The benefit of hiring an interior designer to take care of your selections is that they have preset finishes schedule and supplier tie-ups. Most companies or individuals will have two or three standard suppliers that they use for individual products that mesh with their overall design style. After an initial meeting or brief from yourself to the designer, a selection schedule or finishes schedule could be generated with pictures and prices of the majority of items ready for you to approve.

Of course, with this method you would probably still want to visit the showrooms and look at the individual items or products you will be purchasing. At least this way all of the leg work and most of the decision making is take care of.

Some architects, builders, and building consultants will also offer an interior design service. So, I suggest shopping around if you need some extra assistance and guidance with all of your selections. However please remember that the more of this process you do prior to starting with your project, the more money you will save!

Good luck and happy selecting 🙂

Best wishes,

James Mason


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

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Yes, I Want to Know More!