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Keep in Mind when Renovating

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by TryHard, 5th Nov, 2005.

  1. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

    17th Aug, 2005

    *** Just in case you're confused, this post was moved from because it was getting a bit off topic *** :) in response to Jacque's question "Seeing as you've now renovated several times, what advice would you give to would be renovators who are approaching it for the first time?
    I can imagine there would be things that you'd do differently?" ...

    Hi Jacque

    Actually if the renovator has a similar skillset to me, I'd suggest paying professionals :) (um by the way should this post get bumped to the Reno thread ? - apologies as I am chewing up a lot of discussion space)

    Any renovations have been a combination of my efforts where no real skill is required, (demolition a specialty, whether intended or not ;) ) and where possible a network of qualified people who do excellent work at a realistic price. Building a network of loyal tradesman to me is a better skill than going to TAFE to learn it myself, but that's only because I run my own business and can't really afford the time to force myself to learn something I'm not naturally talented at.

    I guess my suggestions for renovations might include :

    1. Make sure the block of land its sitting on (whether its a house or unit) justifies what you're about to spend, and gain an idea of the increased rental or equity you'll gain, and bottom line tax benefits (depreciation etc) if you go ahead. I would let those figures dictate the project budget, with some allowance for the fact you'll get a better class of tenant or buyer if you go a little overboard (ie. you can pick some of the bodgy rental reno's a mile away :) )

    2. If you get a building inspection as part of purchasing a place, ask for some tips from the inspector on the shortcuts/trade secrets around what you're trying to achieve

    3. Clean everything back to the barest bones possible before bringing in the tradespeople using your own, or unskilled, labour (in my case I'm both :) ) The trick is to know when to stop, so as to not create more problems for the tradies to fix :)

    4. Read everything you can on home improvements and renos as some of the best ideas come from decent articles. If you can bear it, watch those 'lifestyle' programs, they contain the odd gem of wisdom, not to mention the odd bit of eye-candy no matter what your persuasion ;-)

    Sometimes the Trading Post is a good place to buy materials, but in general I've come to the conclusion time is too valuable and its better to visit a decent building supplies place and scratch around for usable bargains.
    (eg. lately I've decided to use prefab pool fencing for verandah rails as its cheaper than timber, and self-installable, and I made the old farmhouse bathroom look heaps better with 3 sheets of that tile sheeting stuff).

    5. Whether it needs it or not (or at least, if condition is only fair) I would generally replace at least the bare minimum tenants would look at (I now think of tenants more than potential buyers) - being bathroom vanity, toilet and cistern, laundry tub, taps, oven/cooktop, floor coverings in kitchen (if the typical lino etc), repaint all wall surfaces and maybe repaint all doors, new light switches and door handles. Add a security sensor light front and back. Use the tile sheeting to fix up dodgy old bathroom. Its pretty amazing what a difference a $10K makeover can make in those areas. I really believe in only presenting something I would like to live in myself.

    6. Where possible, I try to find creative replacements for the use of timber (as its expensive, high maintenance, and prone to termite attack up here) unless the timber look is needed to maintain the character.

    In our last 2 PPOR's we replaced the tired laminate with stainless steel benchtops - it costs only marginally more than laminate, and is way more hardy) ... photos :
    Project 1 : Before :
    After :
    Project 2 : Before :
    After :

    (probably overkill for an IP, but tenants definitely couldn't break it !)

    7. First impressions always count. Make sure the front entry (garden, patio, whatever) is tidy, clean low maintenance, couple of nice features (keep garden beds away from the foundations - white ants love the moisture) $500 on turf, rocks and plants will transform the average entry. Make sure the garden and driveway gates are hinged and swing properly, lockable etc.

    I posted some photos of the old farm reno on Somersoft here :
    out of interest, which didn't really show the extent of the transformation (in fact I think the camera made some of the Before look better than the After !) You actually had to get up close to the grease and grime to fully appreciate it ;-)

    Sorry, not a real eye-opening set of reno tips ;-) -that's all I've got :)

    PS Ella says "hi" to Ellen (actually she can only really say "Ella" and "Mumma" at this point, but she would if she could)
    Last edited by a moderator: 6th Nov, 2005
  2. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

    16th Jun, 2005
    Great post! I'm sure lots of readers will benefit from those tips. Mind you, I'm a bit worried now about your leaning towards the eye candy in the Home Improvement shows- I thought that was only a female obsession with the likes of a topless Jamie Durie :)

    I agree with your team building when it comes to tradesmen. Reliable and reasonably priced ones really make a difference and we only have so much time in our lives to dedicate to learning new skills (hence my reluctance to learn how to tile, mitre skirting boards and replaster!)

    Looking forward to hearing of your next project Carl :)
    And I will endeavour to get this post over where it belongs in the RE section.
  3. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

    17th Aug, 2005
    If Jodie Rigby was 'dressed similarly', then I'd probably watch a lot more Backyard Blitz :) Plus I also quite like Johanna Griggs, although I think she could beat the living daylights out of me with those shoulders :)