Current housing prices are prompting many New Zealanders to look into more affordable housing options. For this young Lower Hutt couple, buying small and gradually renovating was the answer.
Buying and extending a small 2-bedroom cottage enabled a young Kiwi couple to get onto the property ladder and create their first family home.
Looking for a first home in the general Lower Hutt area, Ian Auld and his wife found that it was hard to find a three-bedroom house that would tick all the boxes – and that they could afford. “Houses are so expensive,” Ian says. “So we decided instead on a smaller, two-bedroom cottage that we could renovate and add to over time.” It’s paid off beautifully for the Aulds. Since they bought the property in November 2016, they’ve added a new bedroom, renovated the bathroom and gave the house a general refresh. A home extension like this is a great way to create more living space while at the same time increasing the value of your property.
The team from Refresh were great to work with. They worked around us and were really accommodating
While the outcome of a home renovation is usually worth the effort, undertaking a major renovation can be daunting. “With busy jobs and lifestyles, we really needed a project manager on the job,” says Ian. “The team at Refresh Renovations was great. We loved having that one point of contact. Meeting with Mark early on in the process helped us fine-tune the concept to ensure we worked towards a realistic budget.” Mark Morrison says the original quote included a few extra items, but the focus was the room extension, bathroom redesign and hallway renovation. “We worked with the clients to reduce the scope of the job so we could fit into their budget,” he says. “There was also the option for a laundry and a deck with a pergola on the original plans that were prepared, but Ian wanted to keep costs down so we removed these items. In the future, these can be completed easily seeing as the plans already exist.”
Building an extension doesn’t have to break the bank, but it is important to keep an eye on the budget and monitor progress and costs closely. Project management is one of the key strengths of Refresh Renovations. Every project has a dedicated project manager, and they work with sophisticated project management technologies to track the work and communicate with homeowners. “This way we can deal with any upcoming issues or unforeseen problems immediately, and help our clients to get the job done in the most cost-effective manner,” says Mark. In the end, the final cost of this home renovation increased slightly during the building stage as extras were added, including additional decorating and electrical work. Ian says: “Refresh worked with us and our budget, and made it happen. Some things were more costly than we had originally anticipated, so we adjusted our plans. Overall, the renovation added more value to the house than it cost.”
Living in the house while renovation work was underway helped keep costs down, and Ian says it worked pretty well: “The team from Refresh were great to work with. They worked around us and were really accommodating.” Mark adds: “A home with a single bathroom makes the bathroom renovation quite tricky but Ian and his wife were flexible and we had it operational again in a couple of weeks.”The project went smoothly and took about 4 months from start to completion. As the house boasts beautiful native timber floors, Ian and his wife installed native timber flooring in the hallway to match. The new bedroom was carpeted and in the bathroom, they used hard-wearing vinyl. The bath itself has a shower over it and the bath spout is a swivel spout so it doesn’t get in the way when showering. With everything neat and tidy, Ian and his wife can settle in and enjoy their very first family home.
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