Not every renovation or fix-up project ends in smiles and a pat on the back. If you want to know the six renovation undertakings to avoid at all costs, read on…

1.  Removing all the trees:

It might be tempting to pull out the chainsaw and sought that depressing looking willow tree out once and for all, but be cautious. Contrary to many people’s belief, removing trees can sometimes cause more damage to the value of a home than simply leaving them there. A large attractive tree can add $10,000 - $15,000 to the value of a property in some areas.

Provided trees are not damaging to the building, they can really add value in terms of sun shading and in terms of outlook and they can be very appealing to a lot of people. This is unless they are the sort that drop lots of rubbish on the roof and you have to clean up the gutters – they could be a nuisance. Of course, if there’s any cracking evident on the property and it’s bad, remove the tree immediately.

2. Expensive, but unnecessary fittings:

A reno that gives you the best house on the street, won’t necessarily get you the best price. If you are an owner occupier in an area where there are a lot of rental properties that have been neglected and not well-looked after, it won’t matter how much you spend on improvements, the rest of the neighbourhood will drag the value down.

Try to avoid expensive fittings and fixtures such as imported cook tops, taps, door handles and tiles – they don’t always translate to a higher selling price. What impress buyers is light and space as well as good construction and zero faults. That’s what they’ll happily pay for. Some renovators believe expensive fixtures represent good design, but purchasers often don’t like the previous owner’s choice.

Middle-priced Australian-made products are often more serviceable and will bring the same price when you sell. Some renovators spend $15,000 to $20,000 more than they should, therefore, they’re not giving themselves the chance of getting those expenses back.

3. DIY fails:

Homeowner-installed wiring and plumbing often spell instant devaluation on a property. It is illegal and dangerous and may be picked up by a pre-purchase inspection. Unless, you’re a professional yourself, leave complex projects to those who know what they’re doing.

4. Pulling out the ugly stick:  

Renovations should be sympathetic to the original building. Starting an extension without considering the form or visual impact of the exterior materials being used so that the renovation appears as an add-on rather than part of the house, can potentially devalue your property by at least $28,000 on average.

For example, if you stick a flat roof weatherboard box on the side of an older home with a pitch tile roof, it’s going to look pretty ordinary and it’s going to look like the cheapest possible way that you can add a room. That’s not necessarily going to appeal to too many people when you come to sell the property.

5.  No playground, no barbeque:

Poorly considered site planning, including extensions that can leave unusable outdoor spaces or are overwhelmed by fences and retaining walls close to important rooms will devalue the whole property.

If you look at the new home designs that are current at the moment, you’ll see that there’s a really big emphasis on lifestyle or an outdoor living. Whether you’re buying a new home or an old home, people are looking for these features these days. It doesn’t mean spending a fortune, it just mean organising the space properly so that you got a good open family area and an outdoor living area. Views to the back garden are important to a lot of people especially with young children, as they want to be able to supervise them when they’re outside.

6. Illegal building and faulty structures:

Undertaking construction work without a permit normally results in an instant fail. In some suburbs, one quarter of all houses had an illegal extension. A prospective buyer having a pre-purchase inspection when you try to sell usually picks this up. Illegal building ultimately costs some owners $30,000 or more to make it comply with regulations.

The same can be said for installing new kitchens and bathrooms without first checking that the sub-floor structures are sound. Many new kitchens are virtually destroyed in the first four years by floor subsidence. Joining the renovation onto the existing building in an unsatisfactory way should also be avoided. It can result in major cracks appearing between the existing and new building because of incompatible structural systems.