First home buyers: buy new or renovate?

October 8, 2015
| Elaine Conroy

Buying your first home is a huge commitment and often a very stressful one. There is a lot to consider including where you buy, the type of property, associated costs through to which lender you will get your home loan through.

We asked Theo Coronis, who has been in the industry for more than 40 years, what his best advice was for first home buyers to which he replied “buy as close to the city as possible”.

“It’s human nature to want the biggest and best home as possible when you first buy, but the most important thing you can do is remove the emotion from the transaction,” Mr Coronis said.

“If you look at all the major cities around the world – New York, London, Rome – the most expensive properties are always those closest to the city.

“Property values increase every kilometre that you get closer to the city, which comes down to supply and demand.

“A good example of this is New Farm, there are only a handful of houses there, but there is high demand for them which drives the value up. Real estate always comes back to supply and demand.

“Therefore, my best advice I could give to a first home buyer is to buy as close to the city and renovate. Now don’t be fooled, this will require you to sacrifice your weekends and put in a lot of hard work but if you want to reap the rewards, this is what you have to do.

“You will also need the support of your partner, family or friends to help you out every now and then, and to be a rock for you to lean on.

“Think of it like this, if you buy a neglected or rundown property close to the city, you are essentially paying for the value of the land. So if you invest $100,000 to $300,000 into renovating the house, you will recoup every cent when it comes time to sell it, and chances are the value of the land will have also increased.  

“But if you spend $100,000 to $300,000 on a rundown house out near Caboolture, you may only be able to recoup half of that as the demand just isn’t high enough.”

So have we got you thinking about renovating now? recently surveyed 13,000 Australians in regards to renovating, building and decorating their homes with some interesting results. Check them out:

  • The most common age bracket renovating are those aged 25-34 mostly because they just bought an old home.
  • Living rooms are the most common makeover project by a longshot – not bathrooms and not kitchens  
  • 87 per cent of homeowners surveyed are paying for their renovations from personal savings, however for custom builds, the majority are taking out a personal loan.
  • Tasmanians are the most active renovations both indoors and outdoors with 68 per cent renovating interiors.
  • The majority of homeowners surveyed are choosing to renovate aesthetics rather than necessities – aka we’re twice more likely to renovate the kitchen than upgrade the roof.
  • The average cost of a small kitchen renovation is $18,400 and $25,200 for a larger kitchen
  • The average cost of a small bathroom renovation is $3100 while a larger space is $15,000
  • Aussies prefer single storey homes as opposed to the majority of the US and UK who are building upwards with two storey homes.

Read the full report on or use the app for a great source of inspiration for your renovations. 

Elaine Conroy
Article by Elaine Conroy
Elaine is a strategic communications professional with extensive experience in corporate and consumer PR and communications across a variety of industries including racing, major events and real estate. As the Communications Manager, she leads Coronis’ communication and content marketing plan…
Join over 45,000 local homeowners & investors
Get our latest articles & investment tips, straight to your inbox - weekly
Browse Categories

Thinking of selling?

Just researching the market?

Get a Free Property Report