HOME > BLOG > Renovating and Building > Surprises that could blow your reno budget

Renovation shows highlight the highs and lows of DIY, but they don’t always give the full picture when it comes to the real costs.

However, property renovation costs are more complicated than what you see on TV. So before you start to renovate your home or investment property, here are some other costs to consider.

Permit fees

This will depend on the size of your renovation project and can be costly and time consuming. Renovating a bathroom or kitchen most likely won’t need council permission, however, if you live in an apartment building, you will need to check with your body corporate before starting. Some examples where a permit may apply include:

• Swimming pool

• Adding a room

• Garage/carport

• Verandah

• Removing trees

Before you start any renovation, speak with your builder and local council to ensure you have all the required permits you need.

Prepare for the unexpected

No matter how much preparation you do, unfortunately there is a chance you will come across an unexpected surprise. Some examples include:

• Wiring needs to be replaced

• Wood is decaying

• Termites

All of these extra things will cost extra money and could cause a blow to your budget. The best thing to do when saving for the renovation is to set aside an extra 10 - 15% in order to cover these unexpected issues if they come up.

Contract fine print

Before you sign the contract with your builder, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding about what is and isn’t covered in the contract. They may include things in the contract that isn't explained to you beforehand (such as extra costs for tools or materials) and it could end up costing you extra later on. Read through it carefully beforehand, and if you are not sure about something, speak with them or get a legal professional to go over it with you.


Many people forget to update their insurance once they have finished renovations. Ideally the renovation will have improved the value of your home, so speak with your insurer about upgrading your home and contents insurance as there may be an increase in the premium.

Changes in material & supply costs

Sometimes a long time may go by from when you receive a quote from a builder to when you are ready to have the work started. There is a chance that the builder's supply costs have changed or the quote may have expired, so it's important to check with the builder what the agreed final price is prior to beginning work.

Funding the renovation

One of the biggest factors you will need to decide on before you even start is how you are going to fund the renovation. Some of the most common ways renovators fund their improvements include:

Savings: This is one of the easiest ways to pay for a renovation. Simply save up over time and then you don't have to worry about loans or paying interest.

Increase home loan: If you have equity built up, consider refinancing to increase your home loan amount and use the extra funds to pay for the renovation. A home loan top up will require a full loan assessment by the lender. This is because a borrower’s financial situation may have changed since the initial application and the lender needs to be sure you can afford the higher repayments.

Construction loan: If you do not have enough equity to increase your loan, you may be able to fund it via a construction loan. For a construction loan the lender gets an estimate of the value of the property AFTER the renovation is complete and uses this value for the loan. To do this you will need a fixed price contract for the renovation from a licenced builder.

If you are looking for a way to fund your renovation, speak to the Lending Specialists at State Custodians about what you are looking to do. They can help you crunch the numbers and advise you of your lending options. Call now on 13 72 62 to speak to a Lending Specialist or leave your details here for them to contact you.