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Your Guide to Buying (& Renovating) A Fixer Upper

Sometimes a great property just needs a little extra love to become a perfect home. If buying a property is a new year’s resolution, here’s how to make that dream a reality.

Paddington, Sitchu

With 2023 looming, we’re getting ready for a summer of rest, relaxation and, of course, resolutions. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to take a step onto the property ladder – whether that’s as an investor, a first home buyer or just looking for a renovation challenge – you might be considering buying a fixer-upper. Purchasing a fixer-upper can be the perfect way to snag a well-priced property in a dream location, while also allowing you, to really curate your space and make it your dream home by putting your style and stamp during a home renovation.

With most buyers looking for a turnkey property to move straight into, there’s lots of opportunity in the market to score a property at a competitive price and transform a property anew.

Here, we take a look at purchasing the perfect fixer-upper property, and how you can get started on renovations.

Bondi, Sitchu

Finding The Perfect Combination

Ever heard of the phrase ‘buying the worst house on the best street’? This is definitely the case when hunting for the perfect fixer-upper.

“When looking for a fixer-upper, look for the winning combination; lower price, prime location, good layout and positive property condition report,” says Peter.

“Remember that the lower the price you pay for the property, the more money you have to spend when it comes time to renovate.”

Bondi, Sitchu

Getting Started on Renovations

Kicking off any big project can be daunting particularly a property renovation, but in reality, with planning, research and budget that you stick to, the project is not only achievable but exciting and profitable.

Whether you are doing small improvements or a large-scale renovation, to help you get started, we have pulled together our top tips on how to get started.

The Sitch

Wants & Needs List

Start your planning by creating a list of everything you would like to achieve in your renovation. It is important to remember that everything you write down might not be achievable within budget and timeframes, but this is an important step in the renovating process. Aim high and create a list of absolute dreams which you can then whittle down to what is and isn’t realistic.

Once you have everything written down, you can start to work through your overall goals, what is achievable, and aesthetic wants (like an open-plan kitchen or wet-edge pool) versus absolute needs (like restoring retaining walls) to help you to prioritise and plan.

Bondi, Sitchu

Planning & Research  

Now you have your renovation goals, you need to begin planning and researching how you can turn your goals into a renovation roadmap.

This may include tasks like prioritising maintenance, setting out timelines, design ideas and deciding whether you will tackle the renovation yourself or have a contractor manage the process.

“The important thing to remember with these sorts of projects is that no matter how organised you may be, always allow wiggle room as you will most likely experience delays or setbacks along the way. It is all part of the experience,” says Peter.

Bondi, Sitchu

Cost Estimates & Budgeting

Finding out cost estimates is an important part of getting started and will be used to inform your overall budget and dictate how much you can achieve within your financial limits. 

By doing online research, asking friends and family about their experiences, and shopping around for trades and materials, you will be ahead of the game and avoid being disappointed if your renovation and design plans cannot be executed.

“Another tip is to consider the price of the property and what the return on investment is on the property once renovated,” says Peter. “Look at the purchase price, compare to new homes in the area and get advice from the experts if you are thinking of selling post-renovation.”

Sometimes your dream home is just a fixer-upper in disguise! Get ready to embark on an epic renovation journey in 2023!

Starting your property journey soon? Head to The Sitch, our very own first home buyers guide. Or if you're renting for a little while longer? Check out our guide on how to ace your rental application.

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