Things to consider before upgrading in property

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Chris Konstantinidis and wife Tina at their new home in Hughesdale. Picture: Ian Currie

Deciding whether to renovate, rebuild or relocate all comes down to one thing according to property experts: research.

Whether you’re moving to a larger home, downsizing to a smaller one, adding to what you’ve already got or bulldozing and starting again, the most important question to ask yourself is why?

Buyer’s agent Nicole Jacobs, of Nicole Jacobs Property, said there were pros and cons for each scenario.

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“You need to ask yourself why you’re doing this, what your goal is, because then it’s easier to look for that next step and take it,” Ms Jacobs said.

“It’s also important to do your due diligence and do your research.

“Do you have time to renovate and do you have the funds to do it?

“Can the property be renovated or bulldozed or does it have heritage overlays?

“If you’re relocating are you doing it because you need a bigger house for a growing family or are you trying to release equity to give you more cash flow?”

Ms Jacobs said there could be financial and emotional benefits to renovating.

She said elements to consider included the materials used, the amount of light in the house and the new design, the aspect of the home and the quality level of fittings and fixtures.

“We’re just coming off a rising market and a lot of people couldn’t find the home they wanted,” she said.

“As they love their suburb and their street people are looking to renovate or rebuild and build their dream home, which could save them the emotion involved with selling.

“It also saves on the costs of selling, of moving and on stamp duty and this can all be put back into the renovated or rebuilt home.”

But Ms Jacobs cautioned that homeowners needed to find the right builder and be meticulous in getting their paperwork, including building applications and approvals, in order.

Home builder Metricon said its knock down, rebuild business had grown 25 per cent in the past four years, with 75 per cent of those customers having lived in the home they demolished.

Metricon director Peter Langfelder.

Director Peter Langfelder said knock down and rebuild offered all the advantages of a new contemporary home.

“Building from scratch is often more affordable than many people think,” Mr Langfelder said.

“Unlike renovating, you don’t have to factor in any pre-existing form or structural constraints into your design — this is where the complexity and cost of renovation can quickly add up.

“A new build means you end up with a home you love without compromises, in the area you love.”

Mr Langfelder said inner, urban suburbs with larger blocks and outdated homes were popular for knock down and rebuild projects, with an average cost of about $600,000 excluding land and landscaping.

“You can build a three-bedroom new home on an existing parcel of land for as little as $300,000,” he said.

“At the other end of the spectrum we have customers spending more than $2 million.”

Andrew Winter, the host of Selling Houses Australia, urged caution when rebuilding to ensure all costs, including demolition and landscaping, were factored into the equation.

He said homeowners needed to be sure they weren’t overcapitalising.

“I’m not a great believer unless the numbers really add up,” Mr Winter said.

He said the benefit of relocating was having a home that was ready to live in immediately and suggested those with a character home keep the original section and consider adding a modern extension.

Ms Jacobs said relocating at the moment would see house hunters searching in a buyers’ market.

“The market is flattening and there’s potential in some areas for it to drop off even more,” she said.

Chris Konstantinidis and wife Tina decided to knock down and rebuild a house in Hughesdale. Picture: Ian Currie

When Chris and Tina Konstantinidis decided the time had come to move into their final home, rebuilding just made sense.

The couple couldn’t bear to leave Hughesdale, where they have lived for the past 18 years, and renovating, extending or relocating would not give them the desired results.

“We had been living just around the corner for 17 years when we bought this property, lived in it for a year and decided to knock it down and rebuild,” Mr Konstantinidis said.

“We looked at extending or renovating and it wasn’t possible due to the cost, the way the house was situated and our expectations in terms of what we wanted and what could be achieved didn’t match up.”

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The couple built a customised Somerset 59 home with Metricon and even with added extras, including an outdoor balcony, parquetry flooring, hydronic heating, an indoor-outdoor entertainment area encased with bi-fold doors and a pool house, the project came in about 30 per cent cheaper than their next nearest quote.

“We didn’t want to leave Hughesdale as it’s central to our lifestyle,” Mr Konstantinidis said. “The whole house was upgraded and our expectations were met.”

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