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To renovate or to build – meet one of our clients who decided to build!


So, you’ve bought a new house, you love the area but you know the house is going to be a bit small in the future – do you renovate or, do you bulldoze and build a new home?

That’s a decision clients of Smith Wealth Partners (SWP) had to make. We met with Chris to understand how he and his wife Sienne made their decision to build and to gain five practical insights Chris can now share with us (from his new found knowledge!) – his five tips to a successful build.

Like any good story, let’s start at the beginning.

Chris and Sienne bought their first house before they got married in a nice suburb close to the beach.  They knew when they bought it that they would out grow it one day but they knew the importance of location, location, location and it was a lovely house they could afford.

The time came when they knew they had to do something with the house, the question was which direction to take.  Around this time house prices were booming in Perth so the decision to renovate or build was the logical move.

Doing the right thing they got a couple of quotes to renovate their existing house and spent the time working out what that cost would really look like! To cut a long story short, they demolished and are building a brand new home!

Chris and Sienne were fortunate because they had been working with Brad (from SWP) and had their financial goals and plan all mapped out so when it came to decision time, they knew with confidence which option they could afford.

Having just signed the contract with the builders to get work started, life threw in another first, Chris and Sienne found out they were pregnant with their first child!

Luckily for them, they were able to move in with Chris’s parents and we say luckily because his Mum is a mid-wife!

Chris’s 5 tips to a successful build.

  1. Get onto your finances as soon as you can. We had a terrible time due to the lending manager of our bank. Lack of communication and expertise meant that our deal very nearly fell through – things got delayed before we even started – if you are considering building or renovating go and see your bank as soon as you can.
  2. Don’t rush or feel pressured into deciding on your house plan, make sure it is exactly what you are both 100% happy with. Sometimes it can take longer to make these decisions than you expect.
  3. If you decide to demolish get a contour survey done of your land as soon as you can because this can be a critical plan to show builders when you are deciding which show home will fit on your land.
  4. Move into somewhere where you don’t have to pay any rent – we’ve saved around $30K – building costs add up so any money you can save is a bonus.
  5. Speak with your Financial Adviser to get a true idea of what you can afford and manage. In our case when we signed the contract we didn’t realize Sienne was pregnant and would be coming off work. Working with Brad was great because he was able to get us thinking about the future too and working on our future financial plan.

The update

Building is still continuing, it is scheduled to take one year. Baby Georgia was born in late November and doing extremely well.

Special thanks to Chris for sharing his story and insightful tips. Congratulations on the birth of Georgia and we look forward to the house warming party!

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