Stories of renovation failures are nothing new. Over the last few years we have become accustomed to watching countless homeowners and their DIY disasters, often to our sympathetic but all-knowing amusement.

We always think we could do better, and many of us have decided to prove so, sometimes with good results and other times with equally lame results.

During a boom market these efforts and their results are seen as excusable and escapable as we ride the tide on our continued path to real estate heaven as a ‘developer’.

Things have changed. Lame is still lame and poor quality just as shabby, but now taking chunks out of walls and ceilings can not only irrevocably damage bricks and plasterboard, but can be seriously damaging the value of the home. Where’s Johanna Griggs and Jamie Durie when you really need them?

For those whose highly geared home loan depended on a luxury palace being the outcome, this is of serious concern.

Botched do it yourself (DIY) alterations, David Gaffney, a regional director with building industry organisation the Housing Industry Association (HIA), can quite easily damage the value of the property as well as its long-term safety. What is often seen as a money saving exercise or a get rich quick scheme can ultimately turn in to a nightmare.

Selling a property in the current market can be tough enough, without shooting yourself in the foot! With banks tightening up on their lending criteria, they are looking more closely than ever at building inspection reports. Any alarm bells will reduce a valuation and thus the amount a bank will lend a borrower. This has immediate ramifications on the value of the sale property.

Renovations can be complicated and it is therefore better to let experienced hands take charge: hire a licensed contractor and make sure they have their licenses and insurances in order.

If in doubt with DIY the simplest and most cost-free advice we can give is don’t.

Simon Turner

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