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Buy and Sell or Renovate and Stay?

12 April 2023

The question of whether to sell up or stay put and renovate is one most homeowners are faced with at some point. On the one hand, you’ve got the appeal of a new home and fresh start. On the other, if you’re settled in your current area why go through the stress of moving? Both options carry costs that need to be considered. We look at the pros and cons of both, and discuss how equity release can help bridge some of the financial gaps along the way.

Buy and Sell

Whether you choose to buy or sell first will depend on your circumstances at the time. There’s no correct order, and both come with pros and cons worth considering.

If you sell before buying your next property, then you have the advantage of knowing exactly how much you’ve secured for the sale of your property. This means a potentially bigger and better upgrade from your current property, if you manage to secure a good price for your home. You’ll also know exactly how much the entire sale process has cost you.

Expenses like:

Stamp duty
Pre-sale renovations and repairs
Staging and styling
Agency fees
Building and pest
Lender fees

all need to be considered when selling a property and many of these costs can fluctuate. Knowing how much you’ve spent before moving on to your next purchase can help you to properly budget for your next purchase.

However, you’ll need to consider that finding your next property can take time. You could be house hunting for days, weeks…months and you need to live somewhere in the meantime. You might have to rent while you find and settle your new home, so the costs of accommodation should be factored into your budget.

If you buy before you sell, fortunately you’ll only have to move once. However you’ll need to consider the cost of owning two properties at once, which is where equity release is an excellent resource to have at your disposal.

Home equity is the current market value of your home less the amount owing on your mortgage. Simply put, it’s the portion of your home you actually own.

Property Credit allows you to use this equity to fund the deposit of your next purchase while still awaiting settlement or access a facility to cover the costs of rent while you're still searching for your next home.


One of the big questions you need to ask yourself before starting your renovation is determining how long you intend on staying at the property. If you only plan on staying for a short period, you'll want to avoid over capitalising on big ticket items that might not deliver long-term. For example, while it's often assumed a pool will add a lot of value to your property, it will immediately put off time-poor buyers that don't want the added expense of paying for maintenance and cleaning. Only add these sorts of luxury items to your property if they're something you know you'll enjoy for years to come.

Calculate the costs

It’s easy for renovation costs to suddenly blow out. When costing out your renovation, be detailed and specific with the expenses. Rather than simply estimating the costs of fixes, do your research and get actual quotes prior to starting. Include both materials and labour costs in everything, including both the planning and execution stages of the renovation.

Look at the market

Remember, unless you’re moving overseas or interstate, the market you're selling in is also the market you buying in. A ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ market doesn’t necessarily make a difference to whether or not it's a good time to sell. But, if you’re looking at a market that’s likely to change drastically in the next year or so it might be worth staying put. So selling a property at the beginning of a pandemic meant it was hard to predict what the market would look like a year down the line. Or be mindful of suburbs that become trendy seemingly overnight – like Byron Bay experiencing what’s been dubbed the reverse 'Hemsworth effect’ where markets dropped after celebrities left the region. If you've paid top dollar for a property at the height of a market, but the market has suddenly declined, staying put might be your best (or only!) option.

How long will the process take?

If you’re planning on doing a lot of the work yourself, be realistic about how long it will take you. If you’re working full time, and limited to a day or two (a weekend for example) to complete the works, how realistic is it to expect you’ll get the renovation done in a reasonable amount of time? Set out a plan and establish whether you're likely to enjoy your new renovation soon and if not, perhaps purchasing a property with the work already done is the way to go.

Visit for more information on our services or you can contact us on 1300 829 536.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as financial product advice. Consider seeking independent financial advice that relates to your individual circumstances.

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