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Is your house your biggest investment? Here’s 5 ways to protect it

Before you renovate, go through this checklist. (Photo: Getty)

For many Australians, their home, or another one they’ve purchased, is their biggest investment.

And such a big investment needs regular upkeep and extra work, especially if you’ve got your eye on fixing up the kitchen or the bathroom to see the property value soar.

However, before you get too trigger-happy about renovations, there are a few areas where you should tread carefully to avoid making any common renovation mistakes, according to renovation expert Cherie Barber:

1. Make sure your tradie is licensed

“Tradies need to be licensed for the specific work they’re performing,” Barber told Yahoo Finance.

“For example, only a licensed electrician can replace lights in your home. These days, you can quickly do an online check of a tradie’s licence through the relevant governing body in your state or territory.”

If you’re worried about getting ripped off by dodgy tradies, there are things you can look out for.

2. Don’t forget about ongoing maintenance work, post-renovation

That flexi hose under your kitchen sink? It needs to be replaced about every five years.

“Most homeowners don’t know this,” Barber noted, adding that it was one of the most common water damage insurance claims Allianz receives.

“Replacing the hose is a small and inexpensive task, compared to the thousands of dollars in water damage that a ruptured hose can cause.”

3. Get yourself a licensed waterproofer

Faulty waterproofing a bathroom can be “disastrous” and result in leaks and extensive flooding, Barber warned.

“If you’re renovating or building a new bathroom, make sure you engage a licensed waterproofer to carry out waterproofing and make sure they’re qualified to issue you a waterproofing certificate on completion of the job.”

4. Watch out for power surges

A power surge or an excessive current can see the motor in common household appliances burn out, said Barber.

“Big-ticket items like fridges, washing machines and split-system air conditioners all have motors that can be damaged by surges in the household electrical circuit.”

Make sure your electrical wiring is all above board, Allianz general manager of home and lifestyle Rachael Poole told Yahoo Finance, and if you’re unsure, seek advice from a qualified electrician.

5. Check if you’re covered

Will your insurance company cover you or the work you’re about to do? Find out first, the renovation expert advised.

“Insurers may only provide limited cover or not cover you when you are renovating, for example, if your renovations are over a certain value,” she said.

“Before you commence any renovation, check if you are covered under your current policy or if you need to take out additional insurance.”

Poole added: “We’ve seen many customers who have renovated their home, but not realise that they may need to increase their sum insured to cover the increase in value of their home as a result of the renovations.

“Clarifying and understanding what the renovation process means for your policy coverage could save you money and time in the long run,” she advised.

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