Reality TV might make renovations appear easy, but according to The Block’s resident builder Matt Menichelli they can be anything but straight forward and getting things wrong can be costly.
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The hipages tradie says too often enthusiastic renovators fail to call in the right expert at the right time and the result can be disastrous.
“Nine out of 10 clients are working to a tight budget and often they try to start the process themselves, getting plans drawn up without consulting a builder,” he said.
“My advice is always engage a builder at the outset because they’re the ones who’ll be swinging a hammer on-site and they can give you real insight into cost-effective, appropriate options that will streamline the process.”
Mr Menichelli, is the hipages tradie who worked with Tess and Luke on their winning home on The Block this year.
When it comes to streamlining that process, Mr Menichelli said the first area to look at was the structural integrity of the home.
“You’ve got to fix the real bones of the house before you get carried away with cosmetics,’’ he said.
“Time and again I’ve seen renovations which are just a spruce-up of a very dated property and that’s going to lead to serious and expensive problems down the line.
“The bottom line is do it once and do it well.
“Engage a professional because this is what they do day in, day out and the money you spend upfront will offer a better result, save you further cash later and achieve the vision you’re looking for.”
Any renovation should be clear in its intentions, he said. “You’ve got to know what you’re trying to achieve.
“Are you renovating for profit or renovating for your growing family?
“Because they’re very different and this will decide your wants and needs.
“If you are renovating for a profit, you need to know what the market wants in that area and play on that without over capitalising.”
And when it comes to buyers looking at renovated homes, he also offered an essential tip.
“Do get a quality building inspection,” Mr Menichelli stressed.
“In the past four years anyone and everyone has been attempting to make money by flipping properties, and often that involves a quick spruce up.
“If the finish is not on point, it indicates something is probably wrong beneath the surface and, though it might be disheartening to walk away, it could save you real money in the future.”