Quality Tips for Home Improvement

Day: May 29, 2020

May Home Checklist

Getting Ready for the Cold

It’s starting to cool down in a lot of places around the country, and people will be eyeing up their bar heater, fireplace or heat pump for warmth in the winter months. Of course, there will be those who have the good fortune to live on the seemingly forever-warm coastal paradises that Australia has to offer, but we don’t all get to live that lifestyle.

No, for many of us it’s time to plan lighting and heating for winter – which can be a real drag on the cost of living. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index saw a decline in electricity prices, but that doesn’t mean you should turn the thermostat up to 11 every night! Instead, try some of the items on our checklist – to save time, save money, and generally create a comfortable living environment for winter.

Have a deep and meaningful with your kitchenMay is a great time to get amongst the nitty gritty bits of your kitchen that you’ve been neglecting. Pulling out the fridge and cleaning the coils at the back, wiping down the back wall and removing anything icky the kids might have ‘hidden’ in there and forgotten about back in January. They’re not glamorous tasks, but they have to be done!

While you’re at it, empty out anything you don’t use in the kitchen. Local homeless shelters or women’s refuges might be able to put your extras to fantastic use over winter! Look around for a good local food bank that you can give to.

Get the Lighting and Heating RightWe had a look at ways to heat the home in the April checklist, but making sure it is economically viable is important too. The federal government’s YourHome website notes that heating can account for 40 per cent of energy costs, so the more economic you are the better – don’t freeze though!

Adjust the temperature in each room so it suits its use – a seldom-used laundry doesn’t need a heater in it overnight, for example. Concentrate the heat on areas that will be regularly lived-in, and use what you need – don’t be afraid to turn a heater off once you are comfortable with the indoor temperature.

The same applies for lighting – eco-friendly bulbs can save money, and make sure everyone turns off lights when they leave a room – especially once the sun starts going down at what seems like lunchtime!

Don’t Be Lazy with the Linen

If you’re anything like us, then pulling out musty linen as soon as it gets cold is a truly miserable experience. After sitting in cupboards or boxes for months at a time, make sure to give it all a solid laundering before it gets put into use.

You won’t just be removing the musty smell – who knows what can build up over months of dark, dank and humid storage!

Trim the Trees

One part of winter that can wreak havoc is the wild weather. If you have a great lawn space, it’s important to protect it! Now that most of the leaves have fallen away, it could be a great time to get pruning on your backyard plants and trees.

This way, you can remove weaker branches before the wind decides to take them for a joyride – right into your house! This also protects the rest of your tree if any limbs are rotting or diseased.

There is no end to the tasks you can do to keep your house looking pristine, to be honest. But these are good ones to get out of the way before winter settles in for the long haul. Keep on top, and you’ll be lying back in a winter wonderland of warmth.

Clear the Gutters…Again

You may feel like you have just done this, but with so many leaves falling this time of year – it’s best to do it once more before winter.

If you don’t get all the leaves out they can cause blockages which can damage your pipes and if it gets really bad can cause household leakages. So prevention is better than the cure. Don’t worry as the leaves have nearly stopped falling you probably won’t have to do it again for a while.

What rooms add value to your home?

How much could fixing up one room add to your home’s value?

We’ve had a look at some very specific renovations that can add value to your property when the time comes to sell, which can cut down on energy bills and improve the practicality of a home. But what about doing over an entire room? Obviously fixing up a kitchen is a completely different beast from making over the master bedroom, with different costs involved and different amounts added to your bottom line.

So without further delay, let’s see what you should do to some of the key rooms in the home – and if it will put many extra zeroes on your sale price.

Keeping it in the kitchen

Historically, a kitchen renovation is the go-to task to add value to your home. However, it’s also one of the most expensive undertakings. According to a recent Improvenet research, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is a little over $22,000 in Australian dollars. Given that the rule of thumb is you shouldn’t spend more than 5 per cent of the value of your home on renovations, this should be within reach of many home owners.

Moreover, the work that needs doing will vary from home to home. For example, a basic IKEA kitchen setup for small areas can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, if you’re replacing cabinet fronts and splashbacks. Budget full kitchen kits can also be found for less than $5,000.

But for a full do-over, you’re looking at spending at least $10,000 – up to $25,000 for simple kitchens, and up to $75,000 for a true luxury do-over. This includes flooring, walls, countertops, sinks, plumbing, appliances – you name it, it’s covered.

While this might seem extensive, if it’s within your budget it can be very much worth it. According to finder.com.au, depending on your suburb, all costs can be recouped when you sell. Moreover, some vendors like IKEA provide guarantees that last up to 25 years, ensuring peace of mind that it will last.

Make sure it stays with the theme of the home though – an ultra-modern kitchen in an older cottage could ruin the home’s aesthetic and put people off!

Bulking up the bathroom

The same principles as the kitchen apply here – it can be done cheaply, but it depends on how much luxury you want to add. According to HGTV, it’s possible to renovate a bathroom for $100 per square metre. For small areas that can mean less than $5,000 without heavy customisation.

Brian Johnson from Collaborative Design Architects also told HGTV that it’s important to add a 30 per cent allowance to your budget, as sometimes things go awry, and costs can blow out. Adding a new toilet, bath or shower can make this an expensive task, numbering in the tens of thousands of dollars.

And as for returns? Gary Caulfield from Construction Cost Consultants told Westpac NZ that bathrooms can give you a return of up to $1.50 for every dollar spent on it. Gauge the suburb and likely buyers you will be getting – do they want luxury or practicality? Working this out with an agent and a professional remodeler can always be a good idea.

Adding a new bedroom

Found yourself in the enviable position of having two lounges, or perhaps a basement or attic that could be converted into a new bedroom? You might just have hit a goldmine. Mr Caulfield also told Westpac that you can double your return when you turn a three bedroom home into a four bedroom one.

But what about the cost? In a recent Domain article, it was estimated that adding a 20 square metre bedroom would cost anywhere between $50,000 and $70,000. This will be significantly less if you already have space in your house – Graeme Bell from GDB architecture converted a loft into a room for a mere $10,000!