Taking all the likely costs of a renovation into account from an early stage will help you avoid unexpected expenses that could throw your budget into chaos, potentially leaving you scratching for cash at a crucial stage.

Here we look at some of the less obvious – but nonetheless important, costs to factor into your renovation budget.

Fees, levies and permits

Depending on the size and nature of your renovation, you may be required to submit plans of your improvements to your local council for approval. Where this applies, you will need to complete a Development Application (DA). This is a standard form that sets out the extent and nature of your renovation. A fee will be charged to lodge this form, and this can vary from a flat fee of around $500 to a charge based on the value of the work undertaken.

If you live in an apartment block, speak with your Body Corporate to check that your renovations comply with the Strata Agreement.

Alternative accommodation

Major renovations can disrupt household life making it worth thinking about alternative accommodation – if your budget can handle it.

  • One low cost option is to bunk in with friends or family while the renovations are underway. Or, you could opt to pay for short term accommodation in your local area – some options here include pub or motel accommodation
  • It can also be worth checking out websites like www.stayz.com.au or www.homeaway.com.au, which feature holiday homes and apartments available for short term occupancy. Alternatively, for major renovations that can take months to complete, you may prefer to take out a short term lease on a rental property
  • Council regulations permitting, you may be able to buy a budget-priced caravan for the back garden and stay on home turf to supervise the renovations or address issues as they arise  

Moving out altogether can mean paying for storage and removal costs but if there’s a chance your furniture or valuables could suffer some damage during the renovations, it could be worth renting some self-storage space. The key point is to consider all options – weighing up the cost and the hassle involved, to determine which is best suited to your budget and family wellbeing.

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