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26 December 2014

Looking for a “renovator’s dream”? – Here’s what you need to know first

Looking for a “renovator’s dream”? Here’s what you need to know first

Jennifer Duke – Property Observer

With property prices soaring it’s no surprise that first time buyers are increasingly looking at properties that need a little bit of work.

These “doer upper” or “renovator’s dream” properties offer huge potential for adding value through a renovation.

Firstly, new buyers should look for properties that need what is called a ‘cosmetic’ renovation first, it’s a light fix up that doesn’t require structural changes or, usually, any council approvals. These are the best projects for novice renovators and homebuyers and the least likely to see you make poor decisions.

The pitfalls around renovating can be many and they can be very expensive. From overcapitalising, to DIY-ing where you shouldn’t, you must go in with a plan in mind.

Focus on the following areas for bang for your buck:

  • A new coat of paint
  • Install a fence
  • Get your gloves on and do some light landscaping
  • Laminate and tile paint in the kitchen and bathroom (also consider replacing hardware such as taps and handles)
  • Window furnishings can make your home look a lot better, consider straight venetian blinds
  • Better lighting

These simple things should help improve any lacklustre purchase.

Eight-step process to get the maximum equity out of your properties in the quickest time possible:

  1. Structure and strategy – The structure in which you purchase is crucial to ensuring you are taxed efficiently at the very end of the process. Should you purchase in a trust, SMSF or company structure?
    – Decide on the strategy upfront: Is it buy/renovate/hold, buy/renovate/sell or something else?
  2. Suburb due diligence – Investors must know suburbs down to a street level.
    – Ensure you’re targeting the right type of suburb for the renovation you intend to undertake. Middle ring and outer areas tend to suit cosmetic renovations, while inner city areas tend to favour structural.
  3. Pricing due diligence – Ensure you are looking at true comparables – your suburb due diligence should assist you with this process.
  4. Property due diligence – Ensure you’re not purchasing a property with major defects you cannot rectify under your budget (think about the hidden problems, such as termite damage or bad wiring).
    – Check that the property stacks up for the majority of buyers in the area. Your demographic is crucial, and you should be thinking about a property as a product.
    – Calling council and a number of other local experts will save you money in the long run.
  5. Acquire – The purchasing process and negotiation can be crucial for getting the price right. Ensure you enter in unemotionally and knowing the value (pricing due diligence).
    – There are a number of different conditions, requests for early access and similar that can be asked for at this part in the process.
  6. Council approval (usually for structural renovations) – The earlier this part of the process is started the better. Investors should be prepared for councils to take longer than is often stated on their websites.
    – To get an idea of how long the process might take, check online and see what has already been approved and the time frames. Expect it to take longer.
  7. Renovate – Get some good tradespeople and treat them well. It can often take a number of renovations to get your team selected.
    – Keep organised, keep timelines and ensure effective communication.
    – Avoid being the DIY-or unless you have done it before effectively.
  8. Sell/Rent – While you should have been clear on which of these approaches you were going to take since step one, it’s now important to ensure you approach the best real estate agents and property managers for the job.
    – Treat choosing agents as an interview process, rather than solely basing it on personality.
    – Ensure that at any opens, the changes you have made to that process are highly visible and communicated to potential tenants/purchasers.




photo 16

Credit: elitebathware_tiles

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Credit: australian_architecture

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Credit: d.signers

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Credit: arquimagens

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Credit: homeadore

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Credit: thearcagencyau

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Credit: thestylephiles

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Credit: fineinteriors

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Credit: interioresdesigndecoracao

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Credit: fromsydneywithlove_

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Credit: revistaformas

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Credit: adesignersmind

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Credit: joshi_shashank




Posted by

I am a mother of 2 living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. My two passions are Interior Design and Real Estate. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in both industries. I started off working in Interior Design assisting Interior Designer Darren Palmer which was amazing and a great experience. What I loved most was working with such a creative sole as Darren and having the opportunity to source and work with gorgeous products. From there I continued with my other passion in Real Estate. I am now a licenced Real Estate Agent with Raine and Horne Double Bay/Bondi Beach working within the Goldman team (Mark and Barry Goldman). As the saying goes:- "It's a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together" So very true for me and I feel very fortunate to be doing something that I love everyday around my kids and that's also rewarding.

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