Buying and renovating a ‘fixer upper’ is nothing new in Australia. It’s basically the premise for most home renovation shows on television. Before they take the plunge, renovators, aka you, must take a moment and consider these points before powering up the tools.
- Check the structural integrity
Before anyone picks up a hammer, get the builder and an architect to walk through the property to check the foundations. Will you need a new concrete slab? Are the wooden frames free from termites? You must know if there’s going to be any problems going forward. Knowing the risks means you can prevent them.
- Set up an emergency fund
Delays happen, unforeseen circumstances pop up. Have 10 – 20% extra money added to your budget just in case. It’s better to be over prepared than taken by surprise.
- There’s rules…
In Australia, homes with heritage listings have a host of rules that builders and renovators must abide by. This ensures the character of the property and the area around it is preserved.
- …and permits
There’s a list of conditions on the Brisbane City Council website about demolishing and renovating. You need approval for your project if the home or planned development is in a certain area. It’s best to get on these early, preferably right after settling. Building approval and planning approval aren’t the same thing so educate yourself early.
- Be flexible
Renovating an old home, and even just in general, is stressful and you’re going to feel under the pump. You’ll feel like time is against you. In reality, you must learn to take the setbacks in your stride. Be flexible with dates by one or two days.
Essential deliveries, like concrete and pipes, and setting up the frames, are your main concerns. Everything else will need to come second to those ‘foundation’ activities.
These aren’t the only things you need to be aware of when renovating an old home, or developing in a heritage area. Australia has a rich history reflected in its architecture, hence the rules. Internal developments, like a concrete slab, are acceptable in most cases. But it’s better to read the rules, and to be safe than sorry.
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