Sunday, November 19, 2017

The do’s and don’ts of renovating for Investors

Today we have been lucky enough to have our post written by Adam Smith, a Home Loan/Property Editor from Finder, Australia's largest home loan comparison website. Please read on for some fantastic tips on renovating for Investors. Take it away Adam.

When you’re investing for a capital gain, you can either wait for your property to gain in value at the whims of the market, or you can take charge and add value. Renovating for investment can be a great way to build quick equity in your property. Then you can either sell your investment property for a profit, or hold onto it and use your newfound equity to build your property portfolio with another investment home loan.

If you’ve decided to renovate to add value to your investment property, there are some important guidelines you should follow to ensure your renovation doesn’t go off the rails.

DO find the right property in the right location
When you’re choosing a property to renovate, there’s a balance to be achieved between a property you can add significant value to and one that will eat up precious funds just to bring it up to a liveable condition.

You’ll be far better off choosing a property that needs cosmetic work more than structural work. Look for properties that are move-in ready, but need a good update to bring them into the 21st century.

You’ll also need to pay attention to location. Look at suburb trends for capital growth. Pay particular attention to suburbs with good transport links, top-notch schools and plenty of amenities like cafes, restaurants and green space. Obviously, these suburbs are going to have a higher entry point to buy. But if you find a property that needs some work, you can score a bargain relative to other homes in the area, and then add enough value to see a tidy profit.

DON'T overcapitalise
When you’re financing your renovation, make sure you don’t stretch yourself beyond your means. It’s likely you can see a return on your investment from some savvy renovations, but this isn’t guaranteed.

Make sure when you invest that you’ll be able to make your repayments in the long-term, even if you’re forced to hold the property for many years. Likewise, make sure you can afford your repayments if you decide to hold the property. Adding value is of little use if you put yourself in dire financial straits and are forced to sell before you’re ready.

DO budget more than you think you’ll need
Running out of budget before your renovation is complete can be catastrophic. You either end up with a house that’s not ready for market, or you end up seriously over-extending yourself.

You can avoid this by over-budgeting for your renovation. In general, it’s a good idea to budget an extra 20% on top of the costs you’ve already calculated. This additional 20% allows you to be prepared for unexpected developments, delays or cost blow-outs.

Remember that you’ll need to budget not just for the renovation, but for the purchase of the property. You’ll need to take into account costs like your home loan deposit, stamp duty, solicitors fees and other government charges. Then you’ll have to budget for trades, materials, any council development approval fees and interest on your home loan during the renovation. On top of all that, add that 20% contingency fund.

Building your renovation budget can be a stressful task. This renovation calculator can help alleviate some of the stress by helping you crunch the numbers.

DON'T underestimate the amount of time it will take
In addition to running over budget, most renovations are likely to run over time. If you’ve watched shows like The Block, you’ve seen people pull off entire room renovations in a week. In the real world, this just doesn’t happen.

A good rule of thumb is to allow 6-8 weeks for every $80,000 you spend on your renovation. Assume that the timeframe could blow out by several weeks, and plan accordingly.

DO focus on renovations with a good return
As mentioned above, buying a house that needs a lot of structural work is unlikely to be the best return on investment. Potential buyers don’t pay attention to details like a new roof, footings, wiring or plumbing. If you’re forced to sink money into these repairs, you probably won’t recoup your expenditure.

Instead, focus on renovations that add the most value and make a property more attractive to the average buyer. Kitchens and bathrooms are always huge selling points for houses. New fixtures and fittings are relatively low cost, but can completely transform the look and feel of a room. Even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can significantly increase a property’s appeal, and, subsequently, its value.

DON'T make your design too niche
When you’re deciding on design elements for your renovation, stick to an aesthetic with broad appeal. Bold design decisions may look cool, but they also limit your buyers’ market.

Keep your design modern, clean and somewhat conservative. You want your design to have broad enough appeal that a wide swathe of buyers could imagine themselves living in your property. Trendiness will appeal to a particular sort of buyer, but timelessness will appeal to everyone.

DO have realistic expectations
Ultimately, most of the "dos and don’ts" of renovating for investment purposes come down to setting realistic goals and expectations. Putting thought and planning into your renovation can help you achieve some healthy profits, but it’s important to keep your expectations realistic when it comes to the time, money and stress involved, and the profit you’re likely to see.

Before you begin to renovate, have a look at similar renovated properties that have sold recently in the area. This can give you a good idea of what sort of return you can expect. Once your renovation is complete, reassess and see how yours compares.

Renovating as an investor can be a rewarding experience, or it can quickly spiral out of control. The preparation you put in beforehand will determine which path your renovation takes.

Thanks Adam for the do's and don'ts. I hope you have taken as much information from this post as I have.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Accessorise Your Living Room to Perfection

There are those who say that when you’re staging your home for sale, you should remove every inch of personality from it; you should leave it as a completely open, minimalist space that the buyers can easily imagine filling with their own stuff. I disagree.

Although I do think that you should clear out the clutter, and perhaps take down the personal photographs and momentoes, the kids toys and any signs of your smelly, yet loveable pooch, I don’t think you should leave the place completely devoid of personality.

In the living room, in particular, it’s nice to leave a few little touches that show potential buyers how cosy the place can be. Here are some simple ways you can do that with just a few accessories:

Place a Plant or Two

House plants add natural vibrancy to the room, and they help to purify the air, which means they’ll definitely give your living room the right feel when you’re trying to sell up.

A Roomy Rug

If you have wooden or tiled floors, then placing a large rug in the living room can add a little warmth, which is sure to be appreciated. Just try to keep it fairly neutral in tone, so that it doesn’t make the room look too busy.

A Wooden Coffee Table

Placing a nice, expensive looking wooden coffee table on the edge of the rug will make it easy for viewers to picture themselves kicking back with a cold one at the end of a long day, and that will surely endear them to your home.

A Simple Clock and Mirror

Keeping your personal pictures on the wall might not be the best idea because it will make it harder for potential buyers to picture the space as their own, but bare walls can feel a bit barren. That’s why adding one of these Dutch time pieces is a good idea. A mirror, is also an essential wall decoration, not only because it makes the room feel less cold. But also because it creates the illusion that the living room is bigger than it actually is.

Lots of Lighting

Lighting conditions can make a room look bigger and brighter, or smaller and dingier depending on the time of day and that means that you need to have all bases covered by installing various different types of lighting, from uplighters to candles, so you can always create the optimum conditions for viewing.

Speaking of candles, pick some lightly scented ones (nothing too strong), and the space will always smell amazing when people come around to view it.

Pillows and Throws

Placing a few plush pillows and throws on your furniture is a simple way to convey the cosiness of your living room without going overboard. Again, choose more neutral tones, to ensure you don’t put people off, and perhaps only use throws during the winter, when people will be thinking more of cosiness.


Last, but not least, ensure that you have a good set of blinds, which help to keep the room cool and comfortably shaded from the sun if you want your living room to be a perfect selling point.

With these accessories in your living room, it’ll practically sell itself!


Monday, November 13, 2017

Style It Out: Ideas For Staging A Gorgeous Garden

Home staging a can be a lot of fun whether you are looking to sell your home or not. Of course, it can come in handy when you want to make your home look as appealing to buyers as possible, but it can also be a nice way to enjoy your home yourself. If you’re house proud, and you love to live in a nice environment, and love everything in its place, then staging is definitely going to be for you. But it doesn’t always have to stay to the garden alone. Because you can often have a lot of fun by creating a glorious garden too. Whether you’re renovating or just looking to do a little spruce, let’s take a look at the things you can do to make your garden look gorgeous.

Think About Function

First of all, you’re going to want to think about function first. When you’re faced with a basic garden that needs a lot of time and attention, it’s easy to want to work on a few simple changes that are all superficial. However, you’re likely to find that focusing on overall functionality is best. Because if you are looking to sell your home, you will need to make sure that prospective buyers can get what they need from the space. At the same time, if you’re not looking to sell, but live there yourself, then you also need to ensure that you can get what you need from the space too.

Work With Color

When you have your functional areas planned out, you’re then going to want to think about how you can spruce it up quickly and efficiently. The best way to do this is to work with color. Because you can really add a lot of life to your garden when you dot in lots of bright colored plants and flowers.

Add Fashionable Features

Next, you’re going to want to work with the styling element. To do this, you should think about adding in stunning features that are likely to catch buyer’s eyes, or just make you feel proud of the space. From domestic umbrellas to an ornamental arch, there’s a lot you could work with here. Just be sure that you’re choosing features that will sit well with the theme you’re going for.

Create A Living Space

While you’re planning the entire space, you should definitely be sure to include a living space style area. No matter where you live, or what your family requirements are, you will find that a living space is always needed in the garden. Patio areas with stunning seating and cooking equipment will be a huge selling feature, and are always a lot of fun to style too.

Work With What You’ve Got

Finally, you’re going to want to think about how you can use the space in natural ways to really show it off. Whether you choose to add in a modern water feature, or create a rose garden, you should find that working with what you got, and planning based on your environment is the best way to stage your garden to success.