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How to renovate your home on a budget

21 February 2020

While renovating your home can be exciting (for the most part), it can also be expensive. We sat down with father-son construction duo Trevor and Liam Little from Brisdecks to get their top tips to freshen up your home for less!

Set a renovation budget

There are many great reasons to renovate, but often the one thing stopping people is the cost.

“Always have a budget in mind and allow for hidden costs,” Trevor said.

“If you’re doing demolition work, you never know what problems might arise, especially with older houses.

“Chat to professionals, get quotes, and ask lots of questions from suppliers. The more informed you are, the more accurate your budget will be.”

Plan your reno with our Suncorp Budget Planner

DIY renovations

Doing the work yourself – be it painting, polishing or maybe even laying tiles ­­– can save you bucketloads (thanks YouTube!). If you have tradie friends, pick their brains and get them to show you how to do things initially to set you up for success.

“Labour is expensive, so if you’re prepared to do the hard work yourself you could save thousands,” Liam said.

“Just make sure you know what you’re doing. When you go to buy materials know exactly what you need or ask lots of questions if you don’t.

“Visit your local hardware store – it will soon be your second home – and see if they run DIY workshops in areas that could be useful for you.”

Get help from family and friends

The time spent for simple jobs like weeding, dump runs or ripping up carpet can be massively reduced by asking family and friends for a hand. Set up a working bee and you’ll be amazed at how much can be done in a day – all for the cost of a few pizzas!

Pay professionals for the important jobs

DIY jobs can save you money, but not if you stuff it up, or injure yourself in the process. Always call in the pros for tricky tasks involving plumbing, electrical or structural work.

“We’ve had to fix a lot of DIY jobs that weren’t structurally sound or where the wrong materials have been used,” Liam said.

“These incidents always cost the owner more money than they anticipated so it’s important to not cut corners, use cheaper materials or do things yourself if a professional should be getting involved.

“Get multiple quotes for each job, read customer reviews and ask for recommendations from family and friends. Taking the time to do your research will help ensure you get quality work, for a good price.”

Shop smart

With the number of online marketplaces growing and growing, it’s never been easier to bag a bargain. Jump on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for cheap fixtures, plants, tools, hardware – anything really!

This method also works in reverse.

“Earn some extra cash by re-selling old materials,” Trevor said. “And for things you can’t sell, it might even be cheaper to give them away rather than take them to the dump”.

Your trash could be someone else’s treasure, and might help them save money on their renovation too.

Renovate for energy efficiency

A home renovation is the perfect time to start fresh and implement new design principles to help save water, energy and money.

“Allowing room in your budget for features that will save you money in the long run is a great way to reduce your bills and make your home more appealing to buyers when it comes time to sell,” Liam said.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Add new curtains and blinds and consider installing exterior window coverings if you want to freshen up the outside of your home and better insulate it.
  • Modernise your home by installing energy efficient lighting.
  • Install a water tank and water saving fittings and appliances.
  • Install solar panels to generate renewable energy and potentially reduce your electricity bills.

Thinking about
to your home?


Discounted Back to Basics Variable Rate with Green Upgrades Equity Home Loan Offer. Owner Occupied or Investment. New to bank lending ≥ $10k-25k. Maximum LVR 80%. Principal and Interest Repayments. View complete eligibility requirements, terms and conditions.

Consider affordable smart home features

If you’re going to replace light fittings, why not make them smart? Smart sound and lighting features will make a home more modern, won’t cost the earth and can be appealing to buyers if you’re renovating to sell. If you want to go to the next level, investing in smart security systems like cameras and door locks can provide added peace of mind.

Budget for outdoor living

Renovating to sell? Aussies love relaxing in the outdoors, meaning an alfresco area is high on many buyer’s wish lists. If your home already has a patio, enhance it with new lighting or a fresh coat of paint. If it doesn’t, consider opening your lounge or kitchen and adding a deck to make entertaining a breeze.

We’re here to help

If your budget is tight, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams of renovating. You may wish to consider Suncorp Bank’s Home Equity Loan which might be able to help fund your renovation plans. You may even be able to use a credit card if your renovation costs are small. Compare our credit cards to find an option that best suits your needs.

Explore Renovation Loan Options

Read more:

Things you should know

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

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^^Discounted rate is only available for new Personal/Owner Occupied or Investment loans taken out as part of the Suncorp Bank Green Upgrades Equity Home Loan Offer. Existing lending ≥$150,000 and new equity lending between $10,000-$25,000 and borrowings ≤80% of the security property value (LVR) inclusive of lenders mortgage insurance (if applicable), with Principal and Interest repayments. The discounted rate (currently 5.82% p.a)  is calculated by subtracting a discount of 2.83% from the Standard Back to Basics Variable Rate (currently 8.65% p.a.) for Owner Occupied Loans, or by subtracting a discount of 3.25% from the Standard Back to Basics Variable Rate (currently 9.07% p.a.) for Investment Loans. Rates and discounts are subject to change and may be varied if the loan purpose or repayment type is changed. Pre-approvals excluded. The discounted rate is available on eligible loans applied for from 17 November 2023 until 29 February 2024 unless withdrawn earlier.

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Comparison Rate

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