We caught the renovation bug here in Queensland during 2018/2019. Still, even though major home renovations have decreased, the latest forecast from Master Builders shows that there will be a modest but steady increase to the quarter of 2023/24 thanks to the ultra low-interest rates. But don’t get too excited when buying a house to renovate; resist buying the first house you see. Where everything may look good on the surface, it’s difficult to know what lurks beneath, particularly if you don’t know what to look for.
Before you buy a house to renovate in Brisbane
You’ve decided that buying and renovating an old house is your goal and start your search through properties for sale in Brisbane. There are plenty of property ads saying ‘Renovators Delight.’ But are they? And how do you know how much everything is going to cost in the end? You’ve got to do your homework and be prepared to split from your emotions.
Core Logic explains the psychology of buying a home in this infographic; they also mention that 44% of home buyers spent more on a home because they ‘really liked’ it instead of using logic. Don’t fall for your impulses and find out as much about the property as you can.
Ready to find out?
Structural vs Cosmetic Improvements
Visualising a new kitchen, bathroom and floor plan is lovely, but don’t forget to check the structural aspects of a property first. When you’re looking at buying a house to renovate, it’s the structural repairs that cost the most yet bring no value to the property.
Structural and foundational repairs can easily make a renovation budget skyrocket. For house renovations in Brisbane and surrounds, try to stick to properties that only require cosmetic improvements.
Renovation Guru, Cherie Barber, suggests that structural improvements like replacing the roof, re-concreting the driveway and rewiring may not add value to a house. Even so, don’t forget that safety is important and structural safety, including balustrades, is essential. It’s still evident though, that cosmetic improvements like a new kitchen, bathroom, tiles, paint, flooring, lighting and windows add value.
What to look for when buying a house to renovate
When buying a house to renovate, pay close attention to the following:
- Signs of building movement
- Foundation cracks, settling, sinking or upheaval.
- Damaged cement rendering
- Unsquared walls
- Wall and floor cracks
- Doors that don’t open or close properly
- Unlevel flooring
- Sagging ceilings
- Bowed walls
- White ant signs (Termites)
- Wood rot
- Failing stumps
- Old wiring
- Cracked, rusted or leaking roof
- Gaps around windows and doors
As a highly experienced and qualified independent building inspector in Brisbane, Safeguard Inspections will inspect all of these areas during a pre-purchase building and pest inspection. However, it makes sense for you to do an initial check yourself. Doing your check will give you a pretty good idea of whether your renovation budget will blow out or not.
On the other hand, if you do get a professional building inspection, structural problems can potentially give you some negotiation power and getting a good price may mean the outlay for structural repairs isn’t as painful.
But be careful. Once you’ve discovered everything that needs repairing, get quotes and figure out not only how much it will cost, but how long the repairs will take because we all know that when buying a house to renovate, time is money.