Improve my home


My house needs some love, where do I start?

Be it repairs or a refresh, maintaining your house now can help save you money in the future, make it feel that much more homely and even add to its value. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

All homes need a bit of attention from time to time, and while most of the home improvements we want to make are things like adding an extension or renovating the kitchen, there are a few problematic areas to keep an eye on first.

Before you begin, prioritise your list with structural or safety issues first and cosmetic changes further down. Of course most of the home improvements we want to make are things like refurnishing, adding an extension or replacing a kitchen, but there are also a few problematic areas it’s important to keep an eye on first.

Keep an eye on:

  • Termites
  • Plumbing problems
  • Electrical problems
  • Paint deterioration

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The calculations provided are estimates only and based upon the information entered into the calculator by the user. The calculations do not include upfront or continuing credit fees and charges. The resulting calculations do not constitute a loan application or variation to an existing CUA facility, loan offer or loan approval.

How do I budget?

Start at the top of your priority list and work your way down to put your budget together. Group together works that will need the same team though, as this could save much more money than getting say, a painter out to paint room by room over a few years. Here are a few tips to get the most of your budget.

Shop around

Particularly if builders or tradespeople are involved, it’s always a good idea to get a few quotes. Before you go with the cheapest quote though, make sure you find out where the cost saving is. If it’s for lesser quality materials, it may cost you more in the long run.

Have a budget buffer

Make sure you always have more money aside than what the total quote comes to. You never know what may blow out. 15–20% is a good guide.

Make the most of trade’s time

The ‘call out fee’ for a tradesperson is often a large portion of the invoice, so make the most of their visit. For example, if your electrician is at your home to fix the lighting, ask them to install a few extra power points too. See if the termite company will spray for other pests too, and ask the carpenter to fix the door that always gets stuck while they’re doing the fences.

Make the most of your time

Your own time is an expense that’s easily overlooked. If you need to be home from work multiple times to let tradespeople in, the cost to your income or annual leave may not be worth it.

Bargain together

If you’re shopping for furniture or whitegoods, see if a friend or family member needs things as well. You may be able to get the price down for buying more items. This may also be the case for trades, so check with your neighbours as well.

Know your payment schedule

Depending on the type of work you are getting done, you may be required to pay a deposit and interim payments instead of one lump sum. Make sure you’re aware of all the payment terms and schedules so you can manage your cash flow accordingly.