Home Improvements

Buying

Home Improvements

INSULATION
Insulation is an often-overlooked piece of the homeowner puzzle. Not only can it keep you warm during winter and cool during summer, it can do wonders for your energy bill.
With this in mind, if you find yourself making decisions regarding the type of insulation to use inside your home, it can pay off to understand exactly what the pros and cons of each option are.

Fibreglass
Perhaps the most well-known type of insulation, fibreglass is created using rock slag, recycled glass, quartz sand, soda ash, limestone and boron. This insulation comes in blankets, segments and loose fill.
It can be found at your local hardware store, and is probably the most widely used insulation material by DIYers.

Wool
Comprised of either new or recycled sheep wool, this type of insulation is often blended with other preservatives and materials to make it stronger. It is also usually treated to make it resistant to pests, mould and fire.
Wool is slightly less effective than fibreglass at containing heat, but the chemicals it is treated with make it more fire-resistant.

Synthetic
Synthetic insulation can come in various forms, including polyester and polystyrene. Polyester is more affordable than fibreglass while offering the same heat-containing properties, while polystyrene is better than fibreglass at containing heat.
Both types of insulation are long-lasting, but are also vulnerable if exposed, especially to water. Additionally, polystyrene can shrink over time.

Foam
Made from urea and formaldehyde, foam insulation is pumped or injected into existing walls before it dries and becomes a solid shape.
This can be very beneficial to homeowners who do not wish to remove wall linings or cladding. However, foam insulation can lose its heat-containment strength as it dries, and is not suitable for brick homes.
These are only a few of the options available for home insulation, and regardless of which you choose, it's important to take effectiveness and cost into account, as chances are you'll be living with the choice you make for quite some time.





COST EFFECTIVE RENOVATIONS.
Performing a few renovations here and there can even help you to add some value to your home or investment property - an important step if you're thinking of selling soon!

Here are three budget renovations you might want to think about:
Refresh and repaint
Have you ever walked through your home and spotted countless chips, scratches and marks on your walls and ceilings? Perhaps your wallpaper has begun to peel or mould has gotten the better of your bathroom paint? A few licks of paint throughout your home can do wonders. It's also an inexpensive and creative way to make your home look new again. Repaint cupboards, walls, ceilings and drawers to freshen up the interior of your home.

Tidy up the backyard
Green thumb or not, it's easy to get right into your backyard and give it a makeover. All you will need are some gardening tools, a few helping hands and a skip to tidy up your backyard and get it looking neat and tidy. Topsoil, bark and plants are cheap additions to your backyard and can turn your garden from an overgrown patch into a manicured entertainer's paradise.While you're at it, why not re-stain and refurbish some of your neglected outdoor furniture too?

Replace fixtures and fittings
Have a look at the most-used items in your home and determine whether they're in need of replacement. Items such as taps, door handles, wall switches and light fittings can all easily become worn down over time due to overuse. However, they're also not that expensive to replace. You might want to update some of these to ensure they tie in with the new decor in your home and are more functional.

Remember, DIY renovations require you to stick to a strict budget. Always keep this in mind when you're purchasing tools or hiring extra help.





RENOVATING FOR THE BEST RETURN.
Renovating a property can pay dividends, but you owe it to yourself and your wallet to make sure whatever projects you undertake offer a high return on investment.
A new coat of paint, built-in wardrobes and replacing carpet with hardwood floors may make a home more attractive to renters and buyers, but not all renovations are created equal.

Focus on kitchens and bathrooms
An open plan living room may set prospective buyers to salivating, but kitchens and bathrooms tend to be of greater importance. This means it can pay off big to update your kitchen and bathrooms with new fixtures and appliances.
Of course, completely redoing a kitchen or bathroom can be an expensive endeavour, so don’t gut a space if a simple facelift will do. Upgrading appliances, installing new lighting fixtures and refinishing surfaces can go a long way.

Avoid high-price items
A swimming pool may be a luxurious and sought-after amenity, but it very rarely equals a significant return on investment.
Firstly, installing a swimming pool will cost you plenty. Secondly, many home buyers are simply unwilling to pay the extra costs that come with maintaining a swimming pool. For every buyer a pool might attract, many more may be turned off by it.
Also keep in mind the safety issues and higher insurance premiums that often come with swimming pools.

Appeal to a wide variety
Renovations can be a great way to express your personal tastes and passions, but remember that renovations that maximise return should appeal to the largest number of potential renters and buyers possible.
This means avoiding design choices that may turn off most people even if they please you. Changes and styles that last and appeal to a wide variety of people are a much better investment than singular renovations that might age poorly.





GARDENS.
If you're searching for an easy and relatively inexpensive way of adding value and appeal to your home, then look no further than your own backyard. By putting a few hours and some hard work into your outdoor space, you can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home or create a functioning vegetable garden. This can go a long way towards improving appeal, especially when you've placed your home on the market.

However, one of the questions many people ponder is whether to have a potted or garden bed. Each option has its own pros and cons, but it's ultimately dependent on the size of your backyard and how much time you're willing to put into caring for it.

Potted gardens
One of the biggest perks of installing a potted garden is that they are easily removable. This means they can be moved around into sun or shade, and are also a great option for renters who wish to take their plants with them when they move. Potted gardens are the best choice for those with limited land size, such as people living in apartments, townhouses or units. However, this type of garden needs a lot of regular watering, as the pots can dry out quite quickly.

Garden beds
If you have the space for it, a garden bed can be a great addition to your home. You can get creative with shapes and sizes, or even consider installing a vegetable garden to take advantage of the rich soil. Digging up your own garden can be slightly cheaper than a potted one, as you won't have to buy potting mix, tubs or planter boxes. They're also better at retaining water, as they're directly in the ground. You can also use compost in your garden beds, which gives your plants added nutrients while they're growing. Garden beds require a lot of maintenance, as you'll regularly need to weed them or top up the mulch. Otherwise, you might face unsightly overgrown weeds popping up here, there and everywhere!

Remember that both options - potted or not - need some sort of regular maintenance. Be sure you can put the time and effort in to keep your garden looking great.





PAINT COLOURS
A splash of colour can make a world of difference, transforming a boring room into a space you and your guests will want to spend time in. Of course, as with most things in life, a little moderation can also go a long way. When selecting interior paint colours, it's important to walk the line between self-expression and how your design choices can impact your home's value in the future.

Paint is part of a whole
Before choosing a colour, keep in mind that the paint on your walls doesn't exist in a vacuum. It will interact with everything from your floor to your furniture, so try to have a general mood or design scheme in mind before opting for a colour. After all, a gorgeous sea foam green won't do you much good if it clashes with your wallpaper, carpeting or couch.

Size matters
The size of a room has a lot to do with the types of colours you should choose. Darker colours can make a space seem smaller, while lighter colours have the opposite effect. Keep this in mind when selecting a shade.

Heat up or cool off
Different colours also offer different feelings. Reds, yellows and browns can make a room feel warmer and more cosy, while blues, greens and violets provide a cooler, breezier feel.

Add a glossy frame. Artwork is always improved with the addition of a beautiful frame, and your wall space is no different. Update a room by adding color and shine to trim work and doors — the "frame" around the room. Highlight these areas with semi-gloss or gloss paint in a complementary hue to the wall color. Glossy finishes add sparkle and interest, and assist in differentiating one space from another. They also provide the added benefit of durability and long-lasting wear, especially in busy family gathering spaces.

Look to the future
You should use paint colour selections to express yourself and your tastes, but keep in mind how this might affect the resale value of your home down the line. Not everyone will be crazy about a multi-coloured home, after all.





BATHROOM RENOVATION.
Along with the kitchen, bathrooms are one of the most important assets of any property so it pays to invest wisely in their renovation. As with all property investment, careful consideration will help gain you the maximum return.

Our top tips for renovating on a limited budget are:
•Your goal should be to make your bathroom bigger, better and brighter
•Aim for glossy tiles on the walls as they have high perceived value
•Choose matt or textured tiles on your floor – they look clean for longer and are less slippery.
•Explore tile factories and online shopping outlets, instead of retail tile showrooms - savings can be huge
•Consider your target buyer - cater to their style and storage needs
•Use quality towels and home décor items to best present your renovation.





RESPECTING NEIGHBOURS DURING A RENOVATION.
Renovating real estate is a great way to add value, improve salability, or increase your rental return. However, your neighbours will likely be less than thrilled with the noise and disruption your renovations will cause other residents in your strata plan.

First National recommends the following course of action:
•Inform the Owners Corporation, residents and immediate neighbours of the date you will start renovating and when you anticipate finishing
•Comply with council and building rules and guidelines around safety, noise and rubbish removal i.e. what hours and days of the week are works permitted?
•Be considerate but don’t pander to unreasonable resident demands
•Make sure your tradesmen don’t obstruct driveways or hallways while working
•Make sure lifts are properly cloaked with protective curtains
•Assure that tradesmen clean up at the end of each day so residents are not adversely affected