Renovating your home can be a major project that creates a whole life of its own. So the main question to consider whenever you renovate is the ultimate goal in the renovation. Do you want to renovate in order to enhance the space for yourself? If so, do you over-renovate, or renovate just enough such that further enhancements can take place in the future? Or do we want to renovate in order to flip the property? Or to just rent out the premise?
All these questions would have an impact on the final costs and time factor in the project, therefore we need to look at the key elements in allowing us to make this decision.
RENOVATING FOR OURSELVES
Depending on what you intend to do with the renovation, you need to consider the impact and scope of the works. In the first scenario of renovating to expand the home, you need to identify which areas of the home you want to enlarge and the extent of the extension. Look at the layout of the existing home plan and see if the extension would bring value to the home. Does making a room slightly larger make a major impact on the space, or does it increase the costs without affecting overall ambiance. Would the extended area affect the views to the exterior, thereby making the home feel claustrophobic?
One of the things to consider is not to overbuild, whereby the house overwhelms the site. In doing so, we may lose the aesthetic integrity of the building as it would look too massive in relation to the overall neighborhood. Also there is a limit on the proportion of spaces, where if exceeded would make the room feel too empty in relation to the ceiling height and overall dimensions. As a result, any over-exceeded extensions would be counterproductive, as it raises the building costs without creating value.
So when we consider renovating for our personal use, look at the key areas that would make a huge difference to the space with minimal cost incursions. Areas such as the living and dining rooms are vital as these areas are the main public areas and they offer the first impression to any visitor. By having a larger living room, this would give the impression of an expanse of space, thereby making the house feel larger than it is. Using space-enhancing techniques such as large bay windows or door openings to bring the landscape into the home extends the visual impact and depth of the home. An open plan may help to combine different areas of the home without compromising on space.
The next area would be the most widely-used spaces of the home such as the Study and Master Bedroom. Extending the study allows extra working spaces within the home as well as casual entertainment zones. For the Master Bedroom, it allows additional areas for services such as dressing and bathing or even an ensuite living room, which introduces the feeling of a higher standard of living.
RENOVATING FOR THE RENTAL MARKET
If our intention is to renovate to either sell or rent, we need to look at a different direction and design brief. To create an attractive listing for your property, look into ways of increasing the number of rooms and toilets as this impresses onto any potential buyer the overall size of the home and the ability to cater to larger families. Depending on market studies, we have 2 scenarios to consider – ready build or extending with the potential to re-renovate. Both these scenarios would affect the final selling price or rental rate.
If we renovate for ready-build, the prospective buyer may offer a higher premium to rid the headache of having to renovate again and go through the entire building process. In this case, consider extending the areas of the home with high potential to create spatial value but minimize on the level of finishing. One of the decisions to make on any home is the type and grade of finishes we want. So why offer the most expensive marble when a prospective buyer may not like the look. Therefore, offer a material that can be adapated to suit most interior design concepts so any buyer would be able to refurbish and ID the home with minimal effort.
Also ensure that you do not venture into premium upgrades such as jacuzzis, imported tiles and finishes, as generally most people would want to personalize the space to their own specifications. Offering such upgrades and expecting to be paid off may backfire, and it could also limit the type of buyers for such offerings. Therefore, it is important to know the market you are targeting, or else any works, however noble, may not yield the type of expectation you have in mind.
SALE / RENTAL MARKETS
In situations where buyers would want to re-renovate, offer upgrades to the home whereby you are able to showcase the potential value of the home. If you are able to take away the time consuming element of extending the home, this allows buyers to concentrate on the ID, thereby accelerating the moving-in process. In this case, ensure that the bathroom sizes are suitable to accommodate the shower, WC and sink areas without compromising on space. Next, make sure the bedrooms allow ample space for the bed, working area and built-ins. Similarly, the public areas should be allowed to be open to offer a clean palette to design with.
In addition, allow for such upgrades to include proper works for the plumbing and piping systems as well as ample electrical capacity to cater for any additional requirements the buyer may have. By doing so, you create a new product in the market whereby the home acts as a blank canvas for the buyer to explore their creative ventures. Make sure to photo document any invisible improvements such as the type of wiring, cabling or piping, as buyers are impressed with what they see and may not be appreciative if it is all hidden away.
When renovating, always consider the thought process of how to create Value for your Home and the reasoning behind your decisions, and from there, chart a game plan to achieve your goals.
The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World ( May/June 2011)". To subscribe, please click here.