Staying sane during a home renovation is no easy task. I keep myself inspired and motivated by visiting display homes and home décor stores. I also attend open homes during walks around the block, and scroll the pages of websites like Homesales.com.au to see how other people are doing it. Then there are the magazine pictures I’ve pinned up in every room of my house, which show ‘the potential room’ and end goal. After two years living in a home renovation, these pictures give me something to look at, other than the dust, dirt and demolition that is a renovation’s daily reality. Read on to discover what happened to us recently during a stage in our home renovation and some random tips on the benefits of renting and buying.
The horror story
Recently, there have been moments in the past few weeks, I’ve wanted to ‘pack it all in’. One such moment included booking my entire family into a motel for four days after being locked out of our home by a so-called floor ‘professional.’
The company in question had done a beautiful job of our neighbour’s floors and we had no reason to believe that we would have a different experience. And while motel life was great in terms of not having to do laundry and chase my kids around the house for random reasons; this was a test.
Ten days later, while making school lunches on the motel’s bathroom bench, I started to feel a mix of trashy, perturbed and ‘really-not-that–happy’ Jan.
The trashy feeling came from a mix of events:
- Being in my car for 11 days
- We’d only packed clothes for five days
- I’d forgotten my hair straightener
- I couldn’t find my toothbrush on day 9
- The motel was joined to a pub with pokies
- A lack of space and sleep at the motel
The motel looked so warm and inviting in the photos and we even did a drive-by in real life before booking online. The kids begged me to stay there because it had a ‘play area,’ and after studying the menu, I decided hubby and I could enjoy a nice evening wine with an accompanying parma or roast dinner.
It was a great idea at the time, but the tip of my trashy iceberg came when we were woken at 5am each morning to the sound of drunk people fighting because they’d lost all their money. Each to their own, but let me tell you – they were loud.
Life goes on
The thing with renovating is that life still has to carry on in the middle of the mess.
I’m constantly on the phone calling tradies. I’ll do so while cooking a spag bol or waiting for the kettle to boil. In the past few months I’ve caught myself texting Gumtree sellers to snag ovens, carpet and random goods, while hanging at the park with the kids or parking on the side of the road after school drop off. Then there’s the kids’ party room at the Maccas playground I’ve been using as my ‘office’ (right next to the play area). That’s where I’ve been sketching out floor plans for our draftsperson.
Note: I did get my 900mm oven for $200 and 150 square metres of carpet for $500. So don’t get me wrong. I love the savings that are coming from all this inconvenience.
This week I called our blinds company while putting on a load of washing in my ‘makeshift’ kitchen in the laundry. I placed my phone on speaker on our ironing board, where I’ve been chopping veggies.
Ahhh, life as a renovator – but my goodness, I was happy to be home…
Lessons, lessons, lessons
Anyway, I returned from a total of 11 days on the road to, what hubby and I are calling ‘our floor polishing horror story.’ What was supposed to be beautiful flat low-sheen black Japan stained floors, were in fact done in ‘high gloss’ with patches of ‘white’ filler in boards and on nail holes that had been glossed over and not stained at all.
I’ve learnt so many lessons for our next investment property.
Isn’t everything great in hindsight?
I now know exactly how not to do a renovation!
But there’s no time to dwell.
There are blog posts to write, parent teacher meetings, more tradies arriving, playdates, client projects, tax returns, dinners, laundry, drop-offs, pick-ups…the list goes on.
Oh, and I’ve got my mother arriving from New Zealand next Thursday for 10 days and my daughter’s ‘Barbie Dream House Party’ for 10 next Saturday. I don’t have a kitchen and I have to figure out how to feed all these people and where to put the food!
Renting or buying
All the renovation shenanigans got me thinking about the pros and cons of renting as opposed to buying a property. Before we purchased this home we had moved over 10 times, and after recent events, hubby and I started reminiscing about the days we had ‘spare money.’
Back then weekends were filled with lazy breakfasts, reading the paper, bike rides, lunches and happy strolls in the park. They were not energy-sapping, dust-inducing, paint-inhaling days of stepping over hammers and nail guns just to get breakfast on the table.
Why is it worth it?
There are many days during a home renovation that we wonder – is it all worth it? As far as I’m concerned it is really worth it as long as you follow these three big tips:
- Do NOT overcapitalise – never pay full price
- Be patient and wait for bargains
- Inconvenience yourself and reap massive savings
Here’s my big list of the benefits of renting and buying a home
If you buy your own home you can
- Enjoy a greater sense of security
- Build equity in a home to purchase further properties
- Make money while you work and sleep (as your home appreciates in value)
- Sell your home for a profit and make money
- Feel more in your home and not restricted by a landlord
- Make changes to your home through renovating (it is fun and games – really!)
- Rent it out and potentially make income towards another home loan
- Improve your credit rating for further investments
- Reap tax advantages from income-generating properties
If you rent a home you can
- Give yourself more cash flow to play with weekly
- Risk less in terms of the economy and interest rates
- Enjoy more flexibility (e.g. if you inherit loud neighbours – you can move)
- No long term commitments
- Accommodate a change in circumstances
- Live in areas you might not be able to afford to buy in
- Deduct portions of your rent in tax if you run a home business
- Get repairs, fixes and issues handled by a real estate agent
- Avoid paying insurance for your home and mortgage (contents only)
- Use savings you make renting to save more of a deposit for a property or invest the money elsewhere (you won’t be paying high interest to a bank)
- Avoid paying rates, taxes and maintenance
- Avoid the risk of resale woes during a recession
Do you have any renovation ramblings or horror stories?
Leave them in comments below.