1 April 2021

Renovating may be a better option than selling your home or knocking it down

| Sharon Kelley
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Luke van der Linden from Fresh Renovation & Construction.

Luke van der Linden from Fresh Renovation & Construction in Canberra. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

In Canberra’s tight housing market, it can be difficult to find the right home to buy, particularly if you’re upsizing.

Selling your home and hoping you’ll find the right ‘forever home’ to buy in your suburb, or knocking down your home to rebuild can be fraught with the property market as tight as it is, and rebuilding taking up to 18 months to complete.

However, there is a third option: to add value to your family home by reinventing the floorplan and extending to create an ideal home for your current and future circumstances.

Luke van der Linden from Fresh Renovation & Construction says it’s sometimes a difficult decision, but drawing up plans to revitalise your floorplan and extend your home is a better, faster and often more cost effective way to create your forever home.

“We provide an alternative to a knockdown rebuild, and we think that on a whole host of fronts, a knockdown rebuild is wasteful and not environmentally friendly,” he says.

“We specialise in, for example, taking a three-bedroom house and turning it into a modern, executive home with character.”

Luke says his company helps people envision a new floorplan for their home, which is often the best option when considering a renovation.

“If you aren’t happy with your current floor plan, there’s not a lot of good in replacing the bathroom and kitchen without looking at what the right floor plan could be,” he says.

Renovated kitchen in home.

It is worth considering re-envisioning your floorplan rather than a knockdown rebuild. Photo: Supplied.

The answer to a lack of space might be adding value to the current family home, which, in an established suburb, is a better alternative both financially and for minimising disruption, particularly for children.

Luke and his team have a demonstrated record of recreating and re-envisioning homes, with many successful projects to show.

“What we like to do is large-scale extensions and renovations,” he says. “For example, gut a house, put new services in, rejig the floor plan to make it flow, take a three-bedroom home and put in a second living area, a master bedroom and a new ensuite, and turn it into an executive home.”

When undertaking such a project, it is essential you use a licenced builder whose specialty is extending and renovating, to avoid unforeseen issues that can cause unwanted expenses.

“We go to great lengths to ensure what we present to the client is a realistic representation of what the job will cost,” says Luke. “This includes things such as generous allowances for fixtures and fittings. While that means our initial quote may look high, the client is able to choose the fittings they fall in love with, and they might even have some cash leftover.”

Renovated bathroom.

Bathrooms, kitchens and an entirely new floorplan can create an executive home. Photo: Supplied.

Luke finds that forming the ideal team and passing on the right skills is part of what he considers building the industry for the future.

“It’s really important that the tradespeople who quote the work do the work,” he says. “Every subcontractor has to have a very clear vision on what he’s quoting for, and what the expectation is so there’s no ambiguity and no tradesperson who doesn’t clearly understand what’s expected.

“We’re big on communicating – it’s the number one area where things fall down in the industry. We work hard with our clients to make sure they know what’s happening from day one.

“We try to employ apprentices directly because we’re invested in the industry and want to be more than just a builder. We want to improve the industry for consumers.”

Back deck and home extension.

Extending and renovating was a better option for this homeowner. Photo: Supplied.

Luke says skills he didn’t learn until his second or third year as an apprentice are taught earlier to apprentices at his company to ensure they have experience with advanced skills and workmanship.

“We take pride in our reputation and we ensure we pay particular attention to that,” he says. “We deliver the best possible product, and we take great care from foundation to finishes.”

For more information, visit Fresh Renovation & Construction.

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Canberra and ACT still has the crown land 100 year leasehold which is a disadvantage compared to the freehold land and housing of other states, but Canberra properties are still in high demand being in the capital region for general housing sales and investment properties for rental or long-term hold. Even the slightest renovations to house and garden can add value well beyond the cost of the renovations if done properly and in accordance with contemporary tastes or styles, in which the costs of the renovations can be gained back after sale, so it’s well worth considering renovations and improvements before selling.

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