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What The Block doesn’t tell you about renovating - Part 2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Renovation shows.  Who doesn't love them?  Arm a bunch of DIY enthusiasts with the latest power tools and design aesthetics, throw in some well-timed on-camera meltdowns and we have ourselves a winning formula for happily-ever-after - home edition.  Entertaining as they are, these shows do have the tendency to hoodwink would-be renovators into underestimating the seriousness of a home renovation.  Sure, if budget is not a concern and profit is no big deal then by all means, take a look at shows like The Block and get cracking.  But you are a serious investor unaffected by common naïveté so why don't we drop the candy floss and unicorn and talk more strategically about renovating?    

Related article: What The Block doesn't tell you about renovating - Part 1

If you haven't already, take a look at the first part of this article series where we shared some tips on how to finance and scoop out your next project.  Now that you have done the prep work and put your money ducks in a row, you must be itching to get in there and start renovating.  'Before you get all gung-ho with a sledgehammer just know this, planning doesn’t make good TV but it sure as hell makes for a successful renovation project,' says Mark Trafford, Director of Maintain To Profit.

Here are some pointers to get you started:


1. Repair before you replace
'Don’t rip everything out just yet,' cautions Trafford, 'a renovation project is neither strategic or profitable if you simply gut the house and rebuild the entire interior.'
Start by making a list of everything in the property that could do with an update. Go through the list and work out what can be fixed and what has to be replaced. If the kitchen cabinets are in good working order then a re-face could achieve the same result cosmetically as a new installation but only
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be refaced or painted over for a fraction of the cost of installing new ones. Do you really need to build a new deck or would a few layers of good quality seal give you the longevity and finished look you are after? With a bit of research and creative thinking, you will be surprised at how much cost savings you can make by simply repairing existing fixtures.

Related article: Paint or stain?

2. Consistency
Design is definitely the fun part of a renovation project. This is where your imagination will be tempted to run wild with the latest trends and colours being so easily adapted by your TV counterparts. Before you crack on with your paint sample, just remember this: 'it is consistency, not trendiness or flamboyance, that delivers results for a profitable renovation.' 
How do you make sure your project is consistent throughout? Firstly, always remember that location is the key driver of property value. With that in mind, how ever you renovate your property, make sure the end result is consistent with the rest of the neighbourhood. Give your property a quality finish but don’t try to overreach or outclass the house next door, it could end up turning off buyers and hurt you in the long run.
Ask yourself if you really must have the latest granite bench top and brass tap wares. Renovation does not have a one size fit all formula. Spread your budget and focus on elevating every element of the property to the same overall standard. An Italian white marble bench top is not going to pivot the overall value of a kitchen that is lined with low quality and badly scuffed up MDF cupboards.
'Finally,' says Trafford, 'from a practical point of view, if you are renovating to hold then it is worth considering standardising as much material, fixtures and fittings as possible across all of your houses.'

3. Landscaping
As Kiwi sections get smaller, curb appeal can easily be neglected. Ironically, curb appeal is the one thing that instantly turns on or off buyers and tenants. A little bit of thoughtful landscaping combined with a clean, well-painted exterior can add the perfect level of curb appeal to make a tenant or buyer want to live there. Thankfully, with the lush climate, you don’t need to do a lot to green up your front yard. Start by getting rid of all the dead plants. Get an experienced landscaper onboard to help you pick out low maintenance evergreens. Any exterior fixtures that are less than aesthetically pleasing, such as wire fences, can be covered up with ivy or morning glories. Before presenting the property, always make sure the lawn has been clipped and the flower beds freshened with a new layer of mulch.


Want more tips?  Maintain To Profit is presenting at our upcoming seminar The 7 biggest mistakes investors make when renovating for profit on Thursday 1st September.  This event is of course free for APIA members to attend and registration is open how!


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