Renovating Guide

Depending on your motivations for renovating, you could be looking at a few changes or a complete overhaul. It is important to make sure you are going to get a good return on your investment especially if you are looking to renovate to sell in the near future. Significant investment might turn your home into your castle but if you are looking to recoup that investment when you sell it is good to know how much to invest where.


What adds the most value to your home?

It is the kitchen and bathroom that will deliver the most increase in value from a renovation project but you always have to keep in mind the home and property, and the location.

Whether or not “high specification” adds value varies. If you put in a $30,000 bathroom or kitchen, whether it will add the same amount of value to your home as you spend depends on the home and the neighbourhood. The kitchen and bathroom are a good place to spend money but you can overdo it.

Spending money on kitchens and bathrooms will usually add value to a home. But if you want to know whether to spend $10,000 or $30,000 on your bathroom makeover you need to consider the overall value and location of your home. On a higher priced property you are likely to add at least the value of a ‘high spec’ bathroom but at the lower end then you might be better to spend $10,000 instead. A modern kitchen that doesn’t break the bank will still add value to a home. But if you spend $40,000 on a kitchen in a modest home, you may not get the same value back.

What about insulation and heat pumps?

Insulation and heat pumps are expected today. If your home does not have insulation or heating it may detract from the value so this is a good investment and will usually add some value. Solar panels could result in an increase in value but it is difficult to quantify because cost and value are not the same. You also need to consider what benefits the solar power brings and whether these benefits will be returned over a long or short period.

How much value does landscaping add to your home?

Tidy and well presented landscaping can add a significant amount of value a property. However it may not be a direct relationship between value spent and value added. The added value of well-presented landscaping is generally on the overall saleability of a home through increased street appeal/utility. It is a great way to get potential purchasers through your home on open homes.

In regards to how much should be spent on landscaping, it really depends on the overall value level and type of property. The market expectation of the level of landscaping in a high value suburb is significantly greater than that of a lower value suburb.

The nature of the property can also dictate the nature of the landscaping and site development utilised. For example if you own a high end character villa you ideally want to keep that timber picket fence out front rather than replace it with something more modern.

Property owners should consider the nature of their property and the wider neighbourhood before commencing any major landscaping works.

An example of this could be replacing timber joinery in a villa/character bungalow with modern aluminium joinery as this does not enhance the character and detracts from the value.

Does new carpet and a new roof add value?

These are generally considered as on-going maintenance costs. From a valuation point of view the focus is more along the lines of what would it cost to rectify any issues caused by not maintaining items of this nature rather than the value that they may add to your property.

Because carpets are a chattel, generally they won’t add value but will maintain value and help with saleability. Your roof falls under repairs and maintenance. The roof on a house is expected to be functional and do its job. You will lose money if leaks otherwise it is just a cost. You wouldn’t do it unless it’s needed. As long as the roof of the dwelling is well maintained, functional and in reasonable condition, you will not add huge value by putting on a new roof. But if the roof is leaking and does need replacing then this will detract from the value of a home quite substantially so it is worth renewing your roof if it needs replacing.

Does a garage add value?

The added value of garaging is also very dependent on the locality of the property. In areas which have larger land sites and generally more space, a new garage may not add much in value. However, in inner city suburbs where land is at a premium and the lots are much smaller and off street parking is scarce, a garage could add a significant amount of value to your property.

Latest News & Articles

Image source: She Said Yes
Ah life milestones. If you’re on the traditional journey - a wedding and buying your first home are two of the big ones. It’s surprising how many people face these two major life events within a short space of time. So how do they do it? How on earth do they save for both a house and a wedding at the same time? 
According to Megan Hutchison of She Said Yes, the figure most mentioned for NZ’s ‘average’ wedding cost is $35,000. But she’s also written an article about why that figure is so misleading, and states that the median wedding cost in NZ is likely to be a lower $20,000. 
What does $20,000 get you in terms of a first step on the property ladder? According to CoreLogic NZ Head of Research, Nick Goodall:  “As a 20% deposit, it won’t get you much. But First Home Buyers can add KiwiSaver and depending on criteria, people could qualify for Kiwisaver grant too”. So it’s a good start…if you live in an affordable areas of NZ that is. Auckland? Not so much.  “A first home buyer in Auckland in the ‘couples with two incomes and no kids yet’ category? You’re looking at $800,000+ housing spend” $20K is that scenario is more like a stubbed toe as opposed to a big step. 
Hutchison does note however that the wedding budget varies hugely according to location, guest list size, catering and style.  “Don’t lose sight of what the day is really about.  Try not to get swept up in all the things you could spend money on, but rather focus on what’s really personal and important to you. Your future self (and honeymoon budget) will thank you for it”.
And just like house purchases, wedding funding is increasingly becoming a family affair. Traditionally it always was squarely in the hands of the bride’s family, but it became the couple’s responsibility in more modern times. Rising housing costs and lifestyle pressures have seen it rebound again. Mum and Dad are back in the wedding financing game. 
“Many parents still choose to financially support their children’s weddings. My advice is to sit down and have a conversation with each of yours as early as possible. This is also the key time to discuss with them what and how they will be helping. Make sure you both understand how much they can give you, whether it’s a loan, advance on inheritance, or a gift, and what they expect in return (e.g. inviting their friends as guests, religious or cultural elements, control over details such as invitations, etc)”. 
Poor parentals. They’re in the First Home Buyers game too! Ask any First Home Buyer and they’ll report of lining up at Open Homes with queues of others - many with their parents attending as the ‘enablers’. It’s so common place that major banks have mortgage products in place for this exact scenario and legal advice for parents helping their ‘children’  into home ownership has reached mainstream news. 
Don’t have the luxury of parental funding for your wedding and home?  The great news is that you’ll be starting your married home-owner lives together as super-budgeteers, skilled at facing reality and still making your projects happen. 
And it’s not all doom and gloom. Hutchison has some excellent advice on how to achieve the wedding you want but in the budget you have, and with regards to first home buying, this video is hot off the press and definitely worth checking out to understand the financial market forces at play right now. The supporting article explains how to avoid some first home-buyer traps to avoid too. This is a great resource to face your own personal home financing facts and lastly - here’s a great explanation of reports available once you’ve found “the one” (the house, not the spouse: if only they came with reports too. Joking. Sort of). 

Annual rental growth stabilised at 4.9% in December and January, illustrating a similar trend to value growth after both bottomed out in October 2017.

Gross rental yield continues to hover along just over 3.0% (as it has done for 18 months+).

Christchurch rent continues to drop, although the rate of -2.8% is not as great as the drop witnessed through most of the second half of 2017.

Meanwhile the growth in median rent in Dunedin is now trending downwards after peaking at greater than 10% growth in the middle of 2017. Tauranga’s annual rent increase of 12.1% is slightly misleading because it’s being compared to an anomaly of a month last January. Actual annual change in Tauranga is realistically closer to 7%, which is still rather high – similar to Wellington (7.6%), where we’ve seen and heard plenty about the rental squeeze in the nation’s capital.

Source: CoreLogic NZ


Trend Report: Modern Bohemian

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

It’s so easy to become caught up in waves of trends as they sweep through homes across the country, contagious almost, until every one of your friends has a ‘one of a kind’, hand carved ornament from India, but before you turn away - after all, no one likes a cliche - there are so many ways you can take a trend and make it your own. When you hear the word bohemian, you think quintessential Bali and you see a woman swirling around her house in a crazily patterned dress, with a head scarf, smelling of potpourri, this is not the life you imagined for yourself. But moderation in most things can bring a reinvigorated perspective and this is no different in your home. Modern bohemian is the idyllic balance between luxe and bohemian and elevates the bohemian trend to one worth exploring.

You can begin by breaking the trend down into bite sized pieces.What is at the core of this style? Where was it influenced by? Where did it begin? I would always start with deconstructing the colour base and see where that takes you. Bohemian lends itself to earthy tones, clay, burnt orange, coffee, so look around your home, is there anywhere you can incorporate that base? Your dining room might be crying out for some warmth, you just need to decide how you integrate those tones and you can do this without even touching the colour of the walls. To keep it feeling fresh, pair your earthy touches with shiny gold or rose gold decor features to add a luxury to the space.

Texture is the next key element you can revisit. Natural fibres are iconic to the bohemian trend, in rugs, cushions and furnishings, whether it’s raffia, woven fibres or wood, you can find these appearing in so many categories - in fact you may even have some already, it’s just about making them shine. Merging both bohemian and modern elements you can take the opportunity to bring in a contemporary feature. Try raw linen as your natural texture, a white linen couch, with a burnt orange throw and a raffia rug, now that is modern bohemian at it’s best!

There is no need to buy into a trend that you don’t feel is truly you, but some are long lasting. Almost all trends can be pulled a part to marry with your personal style. Whether you change the colour or texture, carefully pairing back with a modern base will elevate this to create a space that is timeless.

Rosalie Molloy

Creative Director

Posted: 20 March 2018

One of life's most simple pleasures is climbing into fresh, crisp sheets after your daily hustle. It is a small luxury that resonates across people and place. It is a part of the allure of a beautiful hotel, and the most luxurious of experiences pale in comparison because this is completely and utterly accessible, every day of the week.

There is no reason you can’t bring that hotel feel into your home and the small touches of luxury will make your bedroom your sanctuary. Whether you are after a silkiness that is reminiscent of royalty or your taste is tittering towards the clarity of raw linen, far beyond colour variations, there are countless options to try and test. However if 1000 thread count means nothing to you (can someone please explain what this actually means?!) then I have invented a scale you can truly get behind.


Rating: 6/10 Softness

Timeless and classic, cotton bedding is the old faithful, never fail bed linen. With comfort and stability on its side, it’s hard to look elsewhere. This blend has stood the test of time. Take this ranking as an average across thread counts, although comfortable, and consistent, there is no oooh and ahhh at the touch and feel.


Rating: 7.5/10 softness

Linen blend has a rawness to it, that adds texture and structure. I’m talking beautifully crisp, if that is what appeals to you. Linen wears spectacularly over time and the more it is used, washed and slept on, the softer it becomes. Like your favourite pair of sneakers, this just gets better the more you use it. You can pick up this combination in an array of awe-inspiring colours (the tobacco is something special) at In Bed Store.


Rating: 9/10 softness

Brought to my attention by the wonderful team at The Beach People, eucalyptus blend (approximately 65% eucalyptus) marries natural fibres to create a linen that emulates silk in both look and feel (very, VERY soft!). Hypoallergenic for all your sensitivities, but the major selling point of this style of bedding is it’s breathability, the beauty of the blend is that it is almost completely undisturbed by temperature fluctuations, which is missing from other fabrics that rank similarly on the very professional and completely legitimate ‘softness scale’.

Whatever your preference I strongly recommend trialling as many styles as you can. You have explicit permission to spend obscene amounts of time and energy resting your head on as many different types of linen as you can, after all, a good nights sleep is priceless!

Rosalie Molloy

Creative Director

Posted: 20 March 2018

Prepare For Everything to Snowball

This may have started out as a low-key, few minor updates here and there, but once the work has started it will be so very tempting to continue with other renovations. While your space is a worksite already it will be all the more enticing to just paint the walls as well, when all you had intended was a fresh coat on the doors. You’ll find yourself knee deep in gyprock one day, look up and wonder how you got here - whoops!

There Will Be Unexpected Costs

You might be an excel genius and have prepared the most analytical budget in history but once you start knocking walls down and pulling up flooring, you find problems you didn’t anticipate. Whether that is a leaking tap that has rotted away some of the framework or something that has been wired where it shouldn’t be, there will absolutely be issues you’ll need to address, and more often than not, that will include a tradesman coming to assess the issue (cha-ching!).

and with that…

Timing is Unpredictable

Always, always leave yourself a buffer to wriggle with. If you’re using external trades, it’s important to allow time on either side for unexpected delays. This can be affected by elements that are completely out of your control (hello rain!) but what will be in your control is the time lines you set for yourself. This will save you sweating down the track.

You Will Need Work Gear

So perhaps you can get away with revisiting the oldest gym gear you own but at the very least invest in protective gear. Get yourself a pair of glasses (protective work glasses, this is not an excuse to update your Gucci frames!) and gloves. I strongly recommend some level of sturdy shoes. Sneakers, however comfortable will not suffice when you drop a chunk of old tiles on your foot - regrettably I can confirm this from personal experience - safe to say, steel cap boots will become your best friend.

Details Are Everything

A millimetre can be the difference between your brand new fridge fitting into the cupboard you spent days building for it, or not, the details are critical! This reaches beyond simply measurements though, it’s important to test and check as much as you can before you go full steam ahead. Get some floor samples before you buy, bring them in and test the colouring at different times during the day to see how it changes with the light. Do the same with paint, if you can allow time to test some different tones then this not only puts your mind at ease but saves you a follow up trip to Bunnings when you decide you hate the paint you’ve covered half your walls in.  

Rosalie Molloy

Creative Director