Mozo guides

10 Tips to renovating without breaking the bank

Tip #1.Visualise your plan

Shut your eyes and visualise your renovation project. Then, if you’re handy with a pencil, sketch it on a piece of paper. It may seem a little silly but this is how the pros operate. Drawing up a mind map is a great way to present your ideas to the renovation professionals. This big picture will also guide you through the renovation process, keep you on track and prevent you from spending unnecessarily. A solid plan also helps deter renovation surprises that can pop up along the way, resulting in additional costs that could break the bank.

Home Loan Comparison Table - last updated 3 December 2023

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search . Advertiser disclosure
  • Home Variable Rate

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, Refinance Only

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.15% p.a. variable
    6.15% p.a.

    Enjoy a competitive variable interest rate from Up. No application, monthly, annual, redraw, or discharge fees to pay. Up to 50 free offset accounts available. Up home loans are only available to owner-occupiers buying or refinancing in major Australian cities. Up is 100% owned by Bendigo Bank. New joiners get $10 by signing up to the app using code UPHOMEMOZO. (T&Cs apply) Mozo Experts Choice award winner.

  • Offset Home Loan

    Package, Owner Occupier, LVR<60%, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.14% p.a. variable
    6.39% p.a.

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.

  • Flex Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <80%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.19% p.a. variable
    6.43% p.a.

    Competitive variable rate. Multiple offset accounts available. Borrowers can also make extra repayments. Redraw facility available. Simple online application process.

  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Variable Rate Home Loan Special Offer

    Package, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<80%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.14% p.a. variable
    6.51% p.a.

    Package benefits across Home Loans, Visa Credit Card, Personal Loans and Term Deposits. No package fee for the first year. No application, settlement or redraw fees to pay. Quick and easy application. Free CoreLogic RP Data property reports. *Terms, conditions and lending criteria apply.


Tip #2. Set a realistic budget

Before you start turning your renovation dream into reality you need to have a set dollar number in mind to work with. Better known as ‘your budget’! A lot of people cringe when they hear this word but it’s crucial to set a realistic renovation budget if not you’ll end up breaking the bank!

Consider how much you’ve got sitting in your savings account or how much you’re willing to borrow to fund the project. This will help set your budget. If you soon realise you don’t have quiet enough money saved to fulfill the whole project you might look into financing the rest.

When setting a budget don’t forget to factor in these three neglected expenses:

  • Rental property – If you’re undertaking a large scale renovation you may have to move out during the process, and renting a place isn’t cheap.
  • Eating out - Knocking out a kitchen and redesigning a new, modern, chic one is a common practice but don’t forget eating out adds up.
  • Storage – With extensive renovations you’ll need to store the contents of your home in a secure place, so don’t forget to factor this into your budget.

Once you’ve set your budget, stick to it. It’s as simple as that!

Tip #3. Add more $$$ to your budget

To really avoid breaking the bank build a 10% contingency into your budget to cover unexpected costs or overspending. You never know what can arise during the project so be prepared for surprises that will cost you money. For example, mould removal, asbestos removal or you may suddenly find you have to waterproof your house. Unexpected delays can also occur and consequently cost money such as; poor weather, sick tradies or a holdup in materials arriving.

So having this buffer in your budget means you won’t have to compromise on other parts of the project like that design rug!

Tip #4. Choose the best option to fund the renos

If you don’t have any cash stashed away to fund the renovations you’ll have to explore other options to finance the project. There is no right or wrong method to funding renovations, it’s about choosing the best method to suit your individual circumstances and financial situation so you don’t break the bank. Take the time to research the options out there and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Here’s a list of some of the best ways to turn your dream renovations into reality:

Tip #5. Shop around

It’s not often you’re given permission to shop! But by this we don’t mean go spend up big and blow your budget in one hit. When we refer to shopping around we mean getting estimate costs from several builders and tradies to find an average pricing. Don’t just sign up the first carpenter or tiler you talk to, especially if you’re new to the world of renovations and are oblivious to how much things cost. The financial benefit of shopping around is priceless as it ensures you don’t get ripped off (and that’s the last thing you want!).

Tip #6. Negotiate

When it comes to buying hardwares, appliances and locking in contracting work bring your best communicating A-game! Part of keeping within your means is by hunting down the best deals and discounts on the market. In order to receive these bargains, you often need to negotiate. When heading out to buy supplies, don’t rock up at Bunnings in your convertible porsche, wearing a gucci dress and with a louis vuitton handbag flung over your shoulder. This look won’t get you a good deal, you need to dress the part and look like a tradie!

Tip #7. Pick one

If you’re on a tight budget you may have to just pick one area of the house to renovate. Quality is better than quantity. For example, if you’re keen to renovate both your bathroom and kitchen prioritize one over the other. Perhaps you may choose to renovate the bathroom first as you’re planning on having children and would love a bath. The kitchen can hold off for a few years as it’s still functional.

Whichever part of the house you choose to renovate you may need to break it down again and prioritize on luxuries, appliances or decorative pieces. Unfortunately sometimes you just can’t have it all! For example, when redesigning your bathroom, you may have to pick between heated floorboards and shower rain heads. When it comes to kitchen appliances it’s not worth breaking the bank just to look hip by having all the luxuries like an espresso machine and a fancy top of the range juicer!   

Tip #8. DIY vs Tradies

Always remember, tradies are the experts in the trade. While it’s easy to believe you can save yourself money by attempting to evenly lay tiles or rewire an electrical circuit, trust us, you won’t. Cutting corners will cost you money. Leave the electrical or plumbing work to the pros. However for smaller jobs like painting, upgrading door handles or ripping up carpet save yourself money and do it yourself. There's nothing better than getting involved with your own home renovations.   

Tip #9. Download the app

Save yourself money and time, avoid stress and frustration by downloading these 5 popular home renovation apps:

Tip #10. It’s the little things that count

You don’t have to associate renovating with large scale, mammoth, expensive and stressful projects. It’s often the little changes that can make a huge difference as well as modernising and adding value to your home. For example, painting the letterbox, updating door handles, planting a veggie patch, decluttering, replacing old light fittings with modern fittings...the list goes on.

Mozo Editorial
Mozo Editorial

Mozo’s team of experienced journalists and money experts provide news, insights, practical guides and expert analysis to help you master your personal finances. We follow editorial guidelines that focus on accuracy, reliability and timeliness; helping you make informed financial decisions with confidence and the most of your hard-earned money.

* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.