Australians are obsessed with real estate – for living in, investing in, and for making money! The property market is getting stronger than it was even a year ago, however there are still bargains out there to renovate that could represent a brilliant opportunity for the astute investor!
People often don’t know if a well-priced property, given a clever renovation, will be the buy of their lives or a millstone around their necks. So our first tip is:
1. Purchase carefully.
Having a trusted builder/building inspector there to give you insight prior to purchase could be the most important thing you do! With an hour-long consultation on site, the right building inspector can:
- Provide insight into a building’s potential and pitfalls (you can’t polish a turd)
- Help to brainstorm viable options for brilliant renovations that don’t over-capitalise and
- Give rough ideas of costings so you can decide whether or not the property fits your budget
Once you’ve bought the property that you are renovating, there are some key things to stick to that will save or make you money:
- Keep it simple – don’t renovate with crazy with embellishments and artistic flourishes unless there’s a specific reason for it.
- Use existing plumbing waste configurations if possible – even more so if the plumbing is embedded in concrete in a unit or ground floor area. This is a massive labour cost and doesn’t always work out the way you think anyway. For example, turning a bath tub into a shower area sometimes backfires with regards to drainage when the waste pipe can’t be altered to handle an increased water flow – you end up with a shower that doesn’t drain as quickly as it should.
- Try to increase sun light into the property – this always increases visual appeal and makes a property seem more modern.
- Try to increase natural ventilation to increase air flow – if you can, open up or increase the size/number of windows – improved ventilation gives a home a better feel. Because it’s an improved feeling of well-being, people can’t always quantify it but they always notice when a home is dark and pokey – it makes a remarkable difference.
- Lighting can be an easy path to modernisation for example in a new bathroom, in combination with new tiling concealed LED strip lighting under a wall-mounted vanity looks really nice and provides ideal night lighting which is a great feature and appeals to the masses.
- Another appealing “comfort” feature is under-floor heating added to a bathroom/toilet. This is especially good if you are re-doing a tile bed anyway as the heating system can be used as a short term heating solution for our brief Gold Coast winters. If you’re living in the Southern States, it can be a luxury for chilly midnight toilet stops.
- No matter what, always use licensed trades or a licensed builder. If you don’t, you won’t have the paperwork/guarantees and warranties that a purchaser will be asking for when they buy a newly renovated property…so you won’t get the best return on investment since, in this market, buyers are looking to beat down your price on any excuse.
These are our top tips!
We guarantee that if you’ve been watching a property on the market that teeters on the line between renovate or detonate, we can give you guidance and options, ideas and the information you need to make a proper decision.
Jason Dodds is the Principal Contractor at Dwell Building Services
Specialist Builders/Bathroom & Kitchen Renovators and Licensed Building Inspector