Sell with Confidence
Read More

Renovations are back — but is now the time to upgrade?

Supply chain issues are settling down and the construction industry is edging back to normal. So should you renovate your Brisbane home in 2023?

During the pandemic, supply chain issues combined with material and labour shortages as well as low interest rates to create a perfect storm for the construction industry. 

While it became easier to borrow money between 2020 and the start of 2022, prices shot up and finding anyone to hammer in a nail, let alone take on a major renovation project, became incredibly difficult, not to mention expensive. 

Now, with China coming back online after months of intense lockdowns, local facilities stepping up manufacturing capabilities and migrants returning to our shores, things are beginning to settle down. As a homeowner, this may have you thinking about whether now is the time to renovate. 

It’s a bit of a ‘crystal ball’ question but here are some things to keep in mind.

Should you renovate now or wait? 

Deciding whether or not to renovate comes down to your goals. 

Let’s say you plan to stay in your home for the next few years and would like to upgrade it but you’re not in any big hurry. In this case, it may make sense to start reaching out for quotes and comparing your options. With labour prices still high, you might want to wait a while until new migrants and holiday visa worker numbers pick up again. In the meantime, choose a few small projects to DIY and tick them off at your own pace. 

On the other hand, you may be in a position where you would like to sell your place. A ‘turnkey’ home which allows the buyer to simply move in without needing to do a thing will always sell for more. When you speak to your real estate agent, you may realise investing $50k in some renovation work may result in a value jump of far more than this amount. Even if it doesn’t, it is likely to give you a much smoother, faster sale process and more offers to choose from. 

If you have time on your side, locking in a quality trade provider to upgrade your home before you sell can definitely pay off, even if it means you stay in your home for a little longer than planned. Don’t forget to factor in the time for council approval if your project involves major changes. 

For urgent sales, you may need to stick with smaller cosmetic upgrades such as fresh paint and updated fittings. This will give your home a fresh, clean look without the long timelines of a home upgrade. When combined with styling, this can still be a great strategy to move a property relatively quickly. 

The other thing to factor in is the cost of money. Most families find they need to borrow in order to pay for a reno project. The Reserve Bank of Australia has indicated it will keep increasing interest rates this year. You may wish to focus on getting finance (opt for slightly more than you think you will need) before rates rise again. Then you can decide what to do with the money. 

Get an understanding of costs and the benefits of renovating

If it has been a while since your last project, the jump in costs may surprise you. Speak to some builders to figure out the cost of achieving what you want. This may even influence your decision to sell or stay in the home. 

The truth is prices tend to go up, not down. With the war in Eastern Europe and global economic uncertainty still impacting supply chains and labour, you may find taking action now will help you save money in the future. You can enjoy living in the home then take steps to freshen up rather than dive into a major project when the time comes to sell. 

The final word: if you want to renovate and you can afford to, it’s almost always worth it. Find a builder who offers a fixed price contract and ensure you have insurance in place so you are protected from any worst-case scenarios. 

I hope you enjoy the read.

Matt Lancashire