If you’ve ever renovated, you know the costs can add up very quickly, so it pays to put some serious thought into what you want to achieve before you even pick up a hammer or call a trades-person.

Every renovator has a budget to work to and wants to get the biggest bang for their buck, but not everyone knows how to do that.

Having assisted thousands of clients to plan their renovations, here are my top three tips to help you spend your renovation dollar wisely:

Focus your money on key areas

With all the renovation shows around, it’s so easy to let your imagination go wild and come up with fantastic ideas for making over your own home. However, this is also the quickest way to run out of money. If you try to renovate every area, chances are costs will blow out significantly.

You need to be completely objective and focus your money on the areas that will have the biggest impact on the overall feeling or usability of the property. If you’re renovating to live in the property, that’s probably going to be your kitchen, your indoor living spaces and perhaps your outdoor living spaces.

If you’re renovating to sell, keep in mind that not every area warrants renovating because you won’t recoup the money you have outlaid.

In this instance, I would advise focusing your attention on the facade as this is what people see first. If they don’t like the outside, they’re unlikely to look inside and then you’ve lost a buyer before they’ve even set foot on your property.

After the facade, concentrate on the main living spaces because these are the areas where people will spend the most time.

Do the areas you can do well

Don’t spread your money too thin by trying to do everything. Instead, work out which areas get the most use and do these key areas as well as your budget allows.

If you are renovating to live in, enjoy the newly made-over spaces until you can afford to do up the next thing. If you are renovating to sell, it’s better to do the key areas well rather than trying to revamp the entire house and doing everything poorly.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good clean and tidy

Many times I have had clients come to me looking for renovation ideas when all they really needed to do is tidy up and declutter some areas. This can be particularly true for areas like the yard and garage.

Tidying up straggly bushes and gardens, doing a bit of high-pressure cleaning on driveways and putting away or getting rid of clutter can make a huge difference to the external appearance of a property. Do the same with the interior of the house.

Declutter surfaces and rooms first and then focus your money on renovating the key areas of the house.

Ultimately, the aim is to do the best that you can with the areas that will have the greatest impact on your life (if you are living in the property) or on your buyer (if you are selling) and then make the best of the rest.

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