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Adding Value In 2022

Builderscrack’s Jeremy Gray has some top tips on the best ways to add value to your home in the new year.

By: Jeremy Gray

1 January 2022

In 2021, Builderscrack.co.nz facilitated $67 million of residential property improvements across 95,000 jobs posted. Looking back, our 14 years of data shows a clear relationship between house price inflation and trade activity, and 2021 was a heightened year for both.

A likely lift in the OCR, loan-to-value restrictions, record consents, inflation and a weaning of all Covid subsidies will work against property prices; especially when combined with the recent policies to slow investor appetite. However, easing border restrictions, southern migration, and materials supply issues are less predictable factors which together may work to steady property prices.

Maximising a home’s rental and market value is a great way to buffer against what I believe will be a more settled period for property prices in 2022 than we’ve seen in 2021. So the question is, with trade pressure at an all-time high against a backdrop of material supply issues, what are the surefire ways to add value while limiting the risk of cost and schedule overruns?


In terms of the trades, it’s very much a “seller’s market”. Clients who are not used to working with tradespeople under such high pressure can, at times, feel they’re not getting the professional, polished service they expect. While in some cases the level of service can be less consistent, there are small adjustments that can be made on the part of the client to smooth out the process to achieve great results and avoid overruns.

Engage Early

Ideally, begin talking to your preferred builder or other tradespeople months out from wanting to start your project. Three months or more is ideal. Generally speaking, we’re seeing only smaller repair type work being undertaken within weeks at present.

Research More Deeply

Spend time researching exactly what you’re wanting to achieve, and do the groundwork to communicate your brief clearly to tradespeople when they do the initial site visit. Researching into specific materials and finishes you’re looking for will ease the burden on the tradesperson and make your job more attractive.

Sell Yourself And Your Job

Tradespeople are attracted to flexible clients who are able to make quick decisions, communicate clearly and are quick to pay. Ask about their schedule early on, and be respectful of the likelihood that your job may not be able to go ahead for some time. Find terms which work for them as much as for you.

Get Clear On The Contract

In this tight market, contracts have greater importance than before. We’re hearing of certain contract clauses being invoked more often; ranging from timing and cost variations to outright cancellations. When juggling tenants around more intrusive renovations, get a contract in place to build certainty for all parties and make sure you’re clear on any clauses which may expose you to time and cost overruns.

Acquire Materials Before The Job Starts

Avoid unexpected material shortages by purchasing materials in advance; this will likely require you to contact your tradesperson in advance. Work with them to build a materials list and set terms that work for all parties, especially around purchase, payment and storage.

Best Improvements

The best improvements in 2022 are going to be simple, and mostly designed around material availability. They’ll make homes feel comfortable, refreshed and clean — a rejuvenation from the hangover of lockdowns and plenty of time spent at home. More space generally always builds value, so simple extensions and sleepouts continue to be great additions.

Hard Flooring

When it comes to value, you can’t go past luxury vinyl planks or sheet vinyl for wet and kitchen areas, and laminate for dry living areas. As the manufacturing process for these products continues to improve, you get an extremely resilient, zero maintenance result. The only thing to watch out for is low quality laminates, which can be prone to water damage and marking.


For rentals, hard wearing loop piles and textured carpets are a great choice. While synthetic fibres like nylon, polyester and polypropylene are cheap and resilient, don’t necessarily overlook darker shades of wool and wool blends for upmarket rentals. There are occasionally some great deals to be had, and a beautiful wool carpet can provide a natural anchor in your home’s living space.


The good news is that we don’t have a shortage of paint in New Zealand, with several manufacturing plants operating to meet demand. Painters, while also busy generally, seem to be keeping up with demand better than most trades.

Off the back of thousands of painting jobs we’ve seen through Builderscrack, one thing is clear: Don’t attempt to cut costs by using a low quality paint; and don’t cut costs by compromising prep work. The right preparation along with choosing a high quality paint like Resene, appropriate for the application, will ensure a beautiful and durable result for years.


While kitchens are often thought of as fairly expensive to renovate, we see some creative jobs come through that add tons of value for little investment. One of the easiest renovations is a simple refresh, involving repairing and replacing damaged hardware, along with replacing all drawer fronts and cupboard doors. Coupled with a repaint this is a really cost effective way to breathe life into a tired kitchen space. Flooring, lighting, benchtops and appliances can all be replaced too, without needing to replace the cabinet “carcasses”.

If you’re considering a DIY approach using an off-the-shelf kitchen from a big chain store — a word of caution: It is often only marginally more expensive to have a kitchen maker manufacture and install a custom solution, often completed to a far higher standard.


2021 was the year of bathroom renovations. During the winter months we saw plumbers run off their feet with bathroom work and the pace has barely slowed since. Winter is the traditional busy season for interior renovations, and if you’re looking to renovate a bathroom in 2022, it would pay to begin planning and reaching out to tradespeople now. A successful bathroom renovation in 2022 will depend on choosing elements based on availability, and to purchase ahead.


Although consents were a barrier for extensions in 2021, it hasn’t dampened their popularity; extension job posts made up over 10% of building jobs on Builderscrack in 2021. With Auckland Council expanding its scope to allow for swaps of timber framing, metal roofing and some cladding types, we may see more councils follow suit to ensure they’re not slowing construction. No doubt we’ll see a continuation of extensions in 2022 that focus on indooroutdoor flow, new en suites and guest houses for all those international arrivals.


While the property and trades sectors have been experiencing unprecedented demand this year, expect to see things settle in 2022. Value can be built by intelligently improving and renovating properties into next year. With the equity gained during the price bolt in 2021, reinvesting into home extensions that allow a higher rental return is a smart way to go. These types of renovations will also work to steady the market value of your property. It goes without saying, any work that allows a higher occupancy without compromising comfort will be a good long-term investment. When you proceed, take some extra time to have the right contract drawn up and look to secure your tradesperson and required materials early on.

Jeremy Gray is the marketing and communications manager for Builderscrack.co.nz, New Zealand’s largest tradie marketplace.


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