Monday, April 26, 2010

Q&A: The cheapest renovations

Q. I’ve bought my first apartment and I only have about $600 left in my bank account to make it liveable – what should I spend it on?

A. Paint, paint and more paint. If you have .50c leftover, beg a painter to sell you some leftover tins from another job. Painting is the most cost-effective spruce-up a property owner can organise. A fresh coat of interior paint will not only make the entire place look lighter and brighter, but it gives the chance to choose a new colour scheme and really make the place your own. For $600, you will get more bang for your buck by doing the job yourself – but you need to dedicate plenty of time to the job. A good rule of thumb for a DIY painter is to spend as much time preparing your surfaces (cleaning with sugar soap, filling cracks and sanding smooth) as painting them. Don’t be tempted to just slap on a new coat of paint! Most professional painters could repaint the interior of a small unit in two days, but that may not fit into your budget with most NSW painters charging anything between $25 and $250 an hour for their work (which usually includes the cost of the paint and preparation).

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