Renovating an investment property

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A few times a month we are asked how much will this cost to renovate or the much loved, I have been watching “The Block” or the latest craze “Masters of Flip”. How can I flip properties and what should we buy?

Let’s put “flipping” to the side as in the current market the purchase price + stamps etc… wont stack up unless the building requires major structural works or extensions, then you start to spend a lot more time holding on to a vacant property; when a quick internal update and reletting or occupying is the best option.

Of the thousands of properties that we have purchased, very few investors or owner occupiers stick to their original plan; if it’s an investment property understand what your goals are before committing to the purchase; if you intend to “develop” start small.

Measure twice, cut once.
Set out a game plan; what are you aiming to achieve with this renovation?
Before I start a renovation, I look at what’s on the market and what type of renovation is require to lease a property for maximum return but quickly; often investors spend weeks or months looking for the extra $10 per week when the best option would have been market value and let in the first week.

Plan and purchase prior to settlement
Settlement periods in Melbourne average between 30 – 90 days; during this period “game plan”
With any new property I create a pin board and rough out all of the alterations, costings and if you are looking to order tapware or flooring speak with your trades and book in the works required!
Never assume that the trades e.g plumbers, electricians are available to do the work; when I arrange a trade I always bulk together what’s required as you can limit the call out fees which are often $100-150 plus works required.

The quick update
Stick to cosmetic updates and try not to relocate the wet areas as this is often a very time and money consuming exercise; with a basic update to the walls, floors and detachables you can instantly freshen up any property.

Stick with neutral colours, long term it’s easy to repair/repaint and upkeep whilst tenants are in place; it makes the properties feel light and bright and often more spacious. Recently we have been seeing the return of a feature wall please leave these in the 90’s.

A quick way to modernise any property; work out your target demographic. Often the cheapest option for apartments is carpet however within the first few years it tends to show its age; I find that floorboards are a great happy median for both tenant and landlord; hardwearing and easy to maintain.

I have done everything from carpet, Clip-lock timber floors, polishing the original hardwood floors to polishing the concrete slab personally its back-breaking work! However, I’m yet to see any damage to my polished concrete floor.

Light Fittings
To update or not… I usually start by changing out the pendant lights for a more modern fitting its cost effective often DIY.
Downlights, if the property is fitted with Halogen the government is offering a free exchange program to swap out the existing with LED.

Are pastels making a comeback?
Often the bathroom is put into the too hard basket; quickest and easiest options is to have the tiles and bathtub resprayed/resurfaced in a neutral colour. It will instantly improve the appeal and add value to the property. I then update that tapware and door handles to the cabinets.

Often the biggest expense with any property; putting aside the colours or the condition of the doors, look at the layout. Is it a functional space and are the appliances in good order?
If yes, I work through a process
Taps – Easy and cost effective update
Change Door handles – using the existing cupboards
If it’s still going to look dated benchtops and replace the cupboard doors but keep the existing carcass/frame of the kitchen.
This is often a quick fix and done with only a small need for external trades.

Good luck and happy renovating!

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About the author

Justin’s clients benefit from his excellent networking skills and ability to find off market properties. With over 10 years’s experience in the industry he has worked as both a real estate agent and a buyer’s advocate. The result is a well-rounded perspective of the industry and a greater understanding of client requirements. Being a fully Licensed Real Estate Agent with a straight forward approach, Justin’s knowledge and experience helps him keep his finger on the pulse of Melbourne’s real estate market.

Justin believes that our business success is built on service, satisfaction and results for our clients; and our client’s success depends on our sound advice, strong commitment and negotiation expertise. We deliver results.

When not renovating Justin enjoys surfing, racquet ball and all things motor sport.