Renovating is a top priority in 2017

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Australian home buyers are driving the renovation market in Australia, according to the latest Home survey. As well as being twice as likely to renovate, new homeowners’ renovations are also larger in scope. We’re spending more on our renovations. The average renovation in 2016 cost $66,900, versus $64,600 in 2015.

Improving the look and feel of the home was high on the list of priorities of renovators, with an equal amount of people renovating to improve the functionality of their homes. Increasing resale value was significant while improving energy efficiency was also important. Other priorities included: incorporating ‘green’ materials into the home, integrating smart technology, and addressing health concerns.

Kitchens, living/family rooms and bathrooms were the most renovated rooms. As for renovation costs, the outlay is an average $22,600 for a large kitchen renovation (over 10 square metres), while renovating a smaller kitchen cost an average $14,600. Master bathrooms larger than 5 square metres cost an average $13,300, while smaller bathrooms cost an average $10,300. Larger laundries cost an average $5700, versus $2800 for those with space constraints.

Having the time and money is the reason most homeowners renovate. Other reasons are to customise the home to their needs, to adapt to recent changes in their family or lifestyle, and to repair damage due to the house deteriorating over time or due to pests.

The majority of homeowners save up to pay for renovations or spend cash. Staying on budget is a challenge, followed closely by finding the right service providers and sourcing the right materials.

As for the professional's homeowners turned to for help during their renovation during the past year, electricians and plumbers topped the most-hired list. Carpenters, cabinet makers and painters were next most popular in terms of being hired, followed by flooring specialists, tilers and builders. Again, recent home buyers were most likely to hire a professional, compared with soon-to-be sellers and long-term owners.

Hiring the right person for the job can be daunting, so it’s no surprise renovators relied on recommendations and reviews to make their selection. The price was the least important factor in choosing a professional to help with the renovation. What did impress homeowners were communication and organisation skills, and whether a tradesperson or home professional had relevant experience?