To add value to your home – or just enjoy living there yourself – quality kitchen renovations are always high on the wish-list. But if re-building your inside kitchen seems like a job that’s too big for now think about creating an outdoor kitchen you’ll love – and just in time for a perfect summer filled with lazy evenings by the barbecue. Refinancing on your mortgage can give you access to the funds you need to make these improvements without impacting on your own cash-flow and, if the project is done well, your investment will be sure to pay off.

In fact, many real estate experts say that a well-designed outdoor kitchen can deliver a solid return-on-investment, with some estimating a 100%-200% return on your initial outlay, when it comes to the value it adds to your home. It’s good news if you’re looking to sell in the not-too-distant future and great news for anyone who wants maximum pleasure in this warm summer months ahead.

But creating a great outdoor kitchen takes planning and there are some important things to consider before creating your special outdoor space. 

What’s the Climate Like?

Where you live determines how much use your outdoor kitchen will get – so be realistic. If you’re in a very cold climate, looking at minimising your spend might make more sense. But if you’re in a climate that lends itself to balmy evenings out-of-doors, then your kitchen might just become one of the favourite places in your house. Of course, additions and adjustments can be made as winter approaches too, with fireplaces and coverings extending the life of your outdoor kitchen for year-round use (something to think about while you make your initial design decisions).

How Big Does Your Outdoor Kitchen Need to Be?

Thinking about how many people are in your family and how many people you would love to have at family gatherings is an important thing to think about when designing an outdoor kitchen space so is practical and user-friendly. If you’re looking for a space to have sit-down meals together, you’ll need a table that accommodates everyone you love – and a barbecue big enough to cook the food.

What Materials Do You Plan To Use?

All-weather kitchens need quality materials that are built for outdoor usage. Look for materials that withstand rain and harsh sunlight to ensure that your investment is built to last.

Since this kitchen lives outdoors, you’ll want to use quality materials that can withstand any type of weather. The last thing you need is for it to fall to pieces in the next rainstorm because you skimped on materials. Choosing recycled materials can be good for the environment (keeps them out of landfill) and good for your budget too. Talk to your design specialist about your choices and trim costs without compromising quality.

Is Plumbing Required?

For the perfect outdoor kitchen that is convenient and classy, having a water or gas line integrated with your design is great. Bear in mind that plumbing can be expensive, so crunch your numbers and think about your long-term vision for the space to make sure the decision is right for you. The closer your outdoor kitchen is to the house, the more affordable the plumbing will be.

What Features Do You Need?

Landscaping, access to power, sun/weather protection, plumbing and a pizza oven are all things to consider when planning your dream outdoor kitchen area. Talk to your family about how you would love to use the space – covering everything from reclining and reading, to cooking up a storm, before you commit to the design that suits your lifestyle loves the best.

Make sure you think carefully about the lighting too – to make the most of your space, it needs to be liveable for your needs.

The more bells and whistles your outdoor kitchen has, the more likely it will be to add value to your home, but things do date so if upping your house price is your main motivation get expert advice and create your outdoor kitchen within a couple of years of your proposed selling date before it starts to look old and worn. If the outdoor kitchen is more about a space for you and your loved ones to enjoy in style, then your only limitations should be your budget (and your realistic appraisal of what you will actually use). Talking to your mortgage broker will help you understand how much you can unlock without breaking your repayment budget.

For advice about refinancing your property to build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, talk to our team at Lending Specialists today and make this summer your best one yet.

Call us on 03 8805 1800 or email:


Summer is here and, for many people, that means taking time away from work to spend more time at home. Whether you’re preparing your home for sale, or want to make the most from your recent property investment and enjoy the healthiest, happiest lifestyle possible, knowing how to make your home clean and fresh the environmentally-friendly way is something that can help trim your budget and improve your well-being. To help make your home a little more eco-friendly this summer, try these handy tips:

1. Light-filled living. When the sun is shining outside, do you really need those electric lights on indoors? Making the most of the natural light is better for your utilities budget – and your health. Because natural light is a naturally good mood enhancer and will save your power bills too. Taking it one step further, an investment in solar power panels is the ultimate way to enjoy a light-filled lifestyle.

2. Living air purifiers for better health. Don’t stock up on costly, chemical-based air fresheners from the supermarket. Instead, try living indoor plants that add a soft, green touch to your space and make your air better to breathe too. Look for plants such as aloe vera, spider plants (one of the easiest indoor plants to grow), snake plants and Peace Lily and say bye-bye to air nasties.

3. Go native.  Planting native species of plants in your garden is a great idea for lots of reasons, including attracting native birds and bees to your backyard. But from a money-saving perspective, it’s all about saving on your water bill. With a gorgeous native garden, you’ll improve the value of your home – an investment in time and effort that will pay off in the long-term.

Drought-resistant plants make sense for Australian gardens – especially those in hotter climates. Talk to your local nursery staff for expert advice on plants to suit your garden in stress-free style and watch your water usage plummet.

4. Create a vegetable patch. Australian backyards (or front yards) are great places to grow a wide variety of summer fruits and vegetables.

Snake beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, rockmelon, summer greens and rockmelon are just some of the lovely foods you could be picking from your own garden this summer. Talk to your local nursery to see what you can still plant or buy as seedlings to fill your garden with delicious things to eat.

Check out the guide to summer vegetables in your region here:  summer gardening

5. Get active. Warmer weather is the time to be out and about – so if you can choose walking over driving, just do it and save on petrol and wear and tear on your vehicle. Remember the slip, slop, slap rule if you’re in the sun and make sure you stay hydrated with cool, clear water. And that petrol money you might have spent? Tuck a few coins in a piggy-bank each time you trade a car trip for walking. You’ll feel better, you’ll help the environment and you’ll save money as well.

6. Cut out the cleaning chemicals. Harsh chemicals that get poured down our sinks and into our waterways are wreaking havoc on our environment. And they are costing a lot of money. Exploring natural alternatives can mean an initial investment in some different tools than you’re used to having around but trading that traditional mop for a steam mop means clean, healthy floors that don’t need anything more than water and some old-fashioned muscle. Other cleaning tricks using natural ingredients include white vinegar, baking soda, lemons, natural salt, liquid soap.

7. Forget the tumble-dryer and make the most the fresh air and sunshine to dry your wet washing. It’s easy, it’s free and it’s healthy.

Making small changes to the way you live inside your home not only improves your health – it improves your environment for anyone who enters it, including your pets. And with the money you save on chemical cleaners, petrol, processed foods and high energy bills, you can create your own weekly savings jar and use that money to add to any loan payments, including your mortgage repayments. Small steps really do make a big difference.

For advice about how your new-found savings can help you repay your mortgage faster, talk to our team of home loan experts at Lending Specialists. on 03 8805 1800 or email: