‘The Block’ Winners Kyal and Kara Explain How They Renovate Without It Costing a Bomb

In 2020, the pandemic forced us all indoors — some of us spent more time at home than others (sorry Melbourne). All that time within our own four walls spent looking at interiors led quite a few of us to realise… wow, our interiors are in desperate need of a facelift.

realestate.com.au reported last September that we were “jumping” at the chance to renovate, with the average budget for renos coming in at $63,188. And it seems this is one trend that’s set to continue, given that — with the rollout of the vaccine — COVID isn’t as horrific a threat to our daily lives as it once was.

And who do we have to help you on your renovating way, but people who know home makeovers like the back of their hands? The Block — specifically the 2014 winners of The Block, Kyal and Kara. They recently sat down with Lloyd Edge, Director of Aus Property Professionals, and shared their top four renovation tips.

Renovation Tip #1: Cut building costs by living at home

“If you’re a young or middle-aged couple, and you want to get into that renovation, save money and live on-site while doing your own renovation. If you can come up with an overall plan and live there, you’re going to save money because you’re not renting somewhere else.

“Take that bottom line off your building costs, and avoid forking out unnecessary money on renting if you can already live in the home that you own.”

Renovation Tip #2: Add value by adjusting small details

“When we first tried to add value to a property, we had a very limited budget. So to add instant value on a smaller budget, we focused on the smaller tasks that can significantly change the appearance and value of a home. That includes paintwork, maybe doing the floor coverings and window coverings.

“The easiest thing to do is to paint different parts of your house yourself. You can pay someone $5,000 to paint your house, but if you do it yourself, then that’s equity that you’re creating, rather than getting someone else to do it.”

Renovation Tip #3: Ask the professionals if you can help with small tasks

“If you’re going to do anything yourself, you’ve got to evaluate whether it’s better off going to work and getting the professionals in or considering if you can do it yourself on the weekend. Evaluate the overall tasks that need doing,  keep an open mind and talk to the trades and the builders about how flexible they can be. This can help to save you money and help the build come in on time, because a lot of builds do go over.

“So, ask if there’s anything you can do for your trades or your builder to speed up the process and cut costs. Even if that’s just keeping the site clean, you can help keep the renovation on track to finish on time.”

Renovation Tip #4: Put your own personal touch on the property

“Never has it been a more opportune time for people to create a sanctuary in their own home. They’re spending more time at home and they can’t go on holidays so they’re putting that holiday money back into the house and creating the Australian dream. Your home should feel like your own, personal dream, not someone else’s.

“To really love your home, it needs to feel personal and as though it reflects your own taste. The best thing we can do as property developers is just creating an opportunity for people to put their own stamp on the property. We’re looking for that emotional connection, so the people living there always feel at home. Be sure to include your own taste and touches, rather than incorporating features that don’t feel personal to you.”

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