WHAT TO DO FIRST

In the early stages of selecting a property, researching the market is imperative, as renovating a run-down property will not always return a profit. You need to determine whether or not you can achieve a reasonable profit once all of the work is done. One of the best ways is to research the ‘sold’ prices – not just the listing prices – of similar renovated properties in your area.

Major structural damage is costly to fix, so a building and pest inspection is a must during the buying process, as it can help identify structural issues, water damage or major repairs.

Once you have secured a property, the very first thing you should do is connect the power. As simple as it sounds, many people forget to do this right away; according to Aurora Energy, some energy service providers require up to five working days to connect or disconnect a utility – so if you don’t connect the power straight away, you could push your entire project timetable back.

ASSESS THE DAMAGE

Renovating can be overwhelming, so the best way to begin is to assess the damage upfront, and prioritise.

Create an itemised list of every renovation you intend on completing; start by identifying those things that must be done before other jobs can proceed, such as replacing the old toilet before you re-tile the bathroom. Next, consider the largest, most complex tasks -installing a new kitchen, for example – and from there list all intended repairs and restorations, from electrical work to painting.

Remember to also include smaller renovations: things that can be done at the very end, such as replacing aged cupboard handles with new metal grips or installing new curtains, as they give a polished look to the overall renovations.

Once you have entered all of your tasks, prioritise the list and give each one a deadline, as delaying one repair might impact on other renovations.

WHAT TO AVOID

If aiming for a quick turn-around on your property, you need to be organised and proactive – every day that the property remains unsold or untenanted costs you money, so you can’t afford to leave things to the last minute. Before you start ripping things out make sure you have any planning approvals or permits in place.

Once the contract on the property goes unconditional, ask to go through it with a tape measure to size up cupboards, flooring, and any other areas you intend on renovating. Use these measurements to arrange quotes and book in contractors, so you can begin work on the property as soon as the day after settlement. Contractors can book out months in advance, so lock relevant contractors in as soon as possible.

Be aware of the latest trends in renovating, and how they might fit (or not fit) into the property. When it comes time to sell, timeless work, such as elegant, functional spaces, neutral colours and broad styles, always holds up best – so before committing to the latest styles, consider the consequences.

Also be careful about over-spending on expensive renovations that add little to the property’s overall value, such as extravagant light fittings or deluxe curtains.

If you’re unsure, do a cost-benefit analysis – will the $12,000 spent on air-conditioning the entire house increase the overall value of the property by at least that amount?

Source : Life @ Home (30 July 2013)