The typical money pit often sucks the life out of your wallet usually because the purchase and renovation were not well thought out. But a money pit CAN be transformed.

When it comes to buying a new house, either your first property or just the most recent, there’s a lot of thought that goes into its purchase – location, comfort, price, suitability, potential. But do you ever think that your dream home may just become a money pit?

Probably not. You’re likely looking for something that’s perfect for you, at least right now. And it has to tick certain boxes.

Maybe you want to invest in something brand new with nothing to be done. Or perhaps you want something that can be spruced up a little with your own personal touches. But then maybe you want a BIG project to sink your teeth into. And if that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place.

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Because investing in a fixer-upper can be a big deal. You may save money on the initial cost of the house, or even be able to get more house for your money up front. But you’re also going to realise that you have to spend more money on it to get it up to scratch. And that’s always a risk.

Even if you have design ideas to get it ready to move into, there are always considerations to think about first.

You DON’T want to over-capitalise and you DO want to eventually sell the property for much more than it’s cost you

10 Ideas To Ensure Your Potential Money Pit is a Money Spinner


Before you think about doing anything else, you should definitely think about the potential to add more space onto the property. Right now, you may find that you’re starting to take on the project and get it into some kind of livable condition.

And it’s always best to start with the shell of the property. So this point is the perfect time to think about extending to increase the property value and really make the most of the space you have available. If you can’t extend ‘out’ you may be able to go ‘up’ or even ‘under’ to create a very useful basement.

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Whether you decide to extend or not, the next thing on your list is definitely going to be converting the different space that you have available. A lot of different properties have garages, but not many people actually use them to store cars in.

So, if your money pit just happens to have a garage attached, then think about converting it into a living space that you can not only make more use out of, but also get more value from.

Also, from here, you could think about converting the attic or basement spaces for the exact same reason.

EXPERT MONEY PIT TIP: Draw a floor plan of your home but don’t designate any rooms. ie don’t label current bedroom, dining room, etc. Now look at the floor plan with no pre-conceived ideas about which room is for which purpose. What do you see? How can you convert rooms for a different use?

For example, see our article on converting a spare room into a library.

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Another huge part of pulling the shell together is taking care of the property’s exterior too. One way to considerably increase the value of a home is to ensure that the outside is up to standard.

So when the shell is complete, consider repainting the exterior or even rendering it for a modern look. By sprucing up the outside, you will see that it’s suddenly transformed. Consider too, that dark colours recede and work beautifully with garden trees, shrubs, and flowers. A dark charcoal home will appear to ‘blend’ into the surroundings.

EXPERT MONEY PIT TIP: It’s not all about about wood. You can re-stain bricks a different colour, add a cool facade of new steel (such as Colorbond), render, or apply an organic plaster such as Rockcote for a variety of beautiful and weather-resistant looks.

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If you want to add $10,000 to your home spend $1,000 in the garden. However, you may want to actually finish this step when all of your interior works are complete, so that the constant stream of trades people don’t damage the new garden.

So, for now, take a look at some design ideas here to consider what you could do. And when your interior is finished, you can get your landscaping and decking done. Remember, container gardening is very useful for pots you can move around and for spaces without dirt. Talk to your local garden store about plants suitable for your geographic location – soil type, rainfall, frosts, etc.

See our article on how to properly use earthworm castings in your garden for healthy grass, vegetables, plants, and flowers.

Prioritize Parking

Most families now have at least two cars. When thinking about landscaping also think about off-street parking. It’s not always convenient or safe to park cars on the street. Plus, if you entertain often your neighbours won’t want the street clogged with cars.

Off-street parking always adds value to a property so consider how to maximise parking when you are renovating and landscaping.

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Knock Down Walls

Depending on the age of your new home you may wish to modernise the interior. You may find that knocking down walls to create an open plan living space is the best option. It’s hugely popular in the property marketing right now and might allow you to make the most of the light and space you have available.

You may also wish to engage an interior designer to help you design and style the open space to ensure you’re not living in a cavernous opening. An interior designer can help you with lighting, colour palette, fabrics, furniture, layout and comfort.

EXPERT MONEY PIT TIP: When thinking about opening up a space, you’ll need to engage a registered builder to ensure the wall is not load bearing. If it is, a builder can suggest ways to support the structure and ensure taking out the wall will not collapse the roof.

Replace Doors & Windows

Replacing old windows and doors will refresh both the interior and exterior with often stunning results. I love the new Stegbar range of windows that are aluminium on the outside (no painting required) but western red cedar on the inside. Stunning.

Your choice of windows can help to increase the natural light that flows into rooms, which is a huge selling point. And be sure to pick out a stunning front door design to set off your exterior style too.

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Install A New Kitchen

New kitchens are exciting to design and even more exciting to have installed. The options for surfaces and colours are endless. It’s cheaper to have a new kitchen that follows the ‘footprint’ of the current kitchen so you don’t have to shift plumbing and electrical. But think about how a new kitchen will work in the space and then call in the professionals.

Whether you want something modern, rustic, or classic, take a look at some of these kitchen design ideas to help you decide what you want. There are many options so create a Pinterest board to gather ideas. Then see which elements you keep pinning – for example, is there a colour theme that keeps coming up in your pins? Or a style that’s more prominent?

EXPERT MONEY PIT TIP: Often the most costly single trade for the work done is a Plumber. If you can keep your sink, tapware, dishwasher, ice-maker fridge, etc in the same position, even if you buy new appliances, you will save good money on the kitchen renovation.

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And A Bathroom

Wet areas also sell a home so look at how to renovate the bathrooms. Bathrooms can be expensive as it’s the one room that requires the most trades – builder, plumber, electrical, tiler, glazier, etc. So keep a tight control of the budget.

Ensuites are, of course, very popular and you’ll need at least a second bathroom too. If you can squeeze a powder room or half bath in without over-capitalising then install one too.

EXPERT MONEY PIT TIP: And it’s not all about tiles because wallpaper can look stunning in a bathroom. There are also woods engineered for bathroom use that resist moisture, warping, and rotting. So, yes, you CAN have a wooden bathroom.

See our article on the new trend of open-concept bathrooms for more inspiration.

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Sophia coffee table from BySwans (please ask Don’t Call Me Penny for details)

Spruce Up The Interior

Bring your project together by engaging in the really fun stuff – interior decorating. With a blank canvas left after the shell renovation works, you can start to add a colour palette, textiles, and accessories as well as flooring choices, smart storage ideas, and furnishings.

Then, your money pit project will soon become a high-value home.

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Interior Design and Decoration

We can help you with any interior, and exterior, design, and decoration needs to add value and comfort to your home. Please ask how we can help you, today.

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