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My first renovation story (detailed). Looking to add value, refinance, then purchase an IP.

Discussion in 'Renovation & Home Improvement' started by Attila Zoltan, 9th Jul, 2015.

  1. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

    Joined:
    8th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    37
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hello everyone.

    Thought I would start a long thread with my story and progress, rather than posting individual questions and threads every 10 minutes. Im hoping for this to eventually be one of those long Case Study threads where with your help I learn huge amounts, which I feed back and in turn anyone reading in the future learns from it too.

    Bit of background first:
    I have until recently been renting in the inner suburbs of Sydney, working in the CBD. I saved for the last 5 years and got together a deposit for my first house. The catch with my situation is this property will not be rented out as an IP, rather my mum will move in to retire. So I intend to keep this first property, and will be paying it off myself, not necessarily while living in it.
    I purchased a property in the Blue Mountains in March.

    My long-term plan was to find a property with lots of potential to add value myself. I think I did well :) I recently went different ways from my partner, and I decided to move up to the house so I could spend more time renovating it, and move things along a bit quicker (2 hour travel from my work eek).

    So the master plan is as below:
    1.Renovate my property to add value (keeping in mind I also plan to keep it so no need to skimp)
    2.When complete, get the bank to revalue the property.
    3.Hopefully the valuation comes back in my favour, and I can refinance my loan for a bit of equity.
    4.Use the refinanced amount to purchase a second property, which I could either live in while renovating/developing it, or just renovate/develop it and onsell quickly.
    5.Eventually I hope to create a position where I can get into development properly. Buying lots, sub-dividing, building etc. But I figure starting small with basic renovations and value adding is the logical first step.

    So as mentioned, at the moment I am living in the property on my own, renovating everything I can. I have had so much fun since March playing with this house, I would rather do what I can myself, in the process learning what I cannot do and need to employ professionals for.

    Property was purchased for $455k including all costs in the Blue Mountains. Its on a 1200sqm plot, about 18m street frontage, about 100m long. So its a long skinny one, with a steep downward slope. I think I got a good deal. The house is on brick stumps, with double brick external walls and roof tiles. It has a huge deck out the back. There is also a double carport, with pitched tiled roof, and brick walls on 2.5 sides (one side has to be half height to classify as carport). Not many brick houses in the area so I was pretty happy with that. The floor however is a timber chipboard sub-floor the whole way through.

    So it seems like a good solid base, with really old ugly finishes inside, and a LOT of potential for landscaping. Perfect for a first-time renovation imo :)
    Here are some photos of the place:

    Street frontage:
    [​IMG]

    Kitchen:
    [​IMG]

    Living Room
    [​IMG]

    Main Bathroom
    [​IMG]

    Main bathroom colour scheme- Pink with pink
    [​IMG]

    Carport
    [​IMG]

    Looking down at the backyard. You can see its been cleared for about 30m, and has a shed and a small flat landing, before it slopes off into the distance. Then theres dense foliage and big trees for another 30m or so before it hits a small creek on the boundary.
    [​IMG]

    The stairs leading down to the front door
    [​IMG]

    Master bedroom Ensuite from outside. It contains a shower, toilet, and a double vanity wall to wall.
    [​IMG]

    Master Ensuite double vanity. Beautiful colour dont you think! :p
    [​IMG]

    Different coloured carpet in every room. All very musty and smelly. Also I have asthma so not very forgiving...
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

    Joined:
    8th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Sydney
    Now, ive been playing with it for about 2 months, so will get you up to speed on what I've done. I was just going up on weekends at first so didnt get much done, but have now moved there permanently so should make some serious progress :)

    Step 1: Removing carpet in the living room and replacing with timber laminate flooring. (~$300)
    I got this flooring for free from a friend, but spent about $300 on tools including underlay, a drop saw, a circular saw, chisels, files etc.

    BEFORE
    [​IMG]


    AFTER
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Verdict on the job:
    It was my first attempt at flooring. Its a case of buy a few extra boards. Your first few rows will take half a day, and will be crap. Once you know how to do it, you can smash it out quickly, looking much better. The main setback was finishing a row and realising your last piece was 5cm long... soon learnt how to measure out each row in order and determine how long the last piece would be before cutting. Process is quite enjoyable after you know whats going on. This large room took maybe 4 or 5 days all up to do. Since then I have managed to do an entire bedroom in 1 day.




    Step 2: Remove carpet from the stairs and see whats underneath. (~$50 in paint)
    My plan was to get one of those metal thresholds on the corner, and use the leftover floorboards to face the stairs and on top too. Bit of an ugly idea, but the carpet had to go.

    [​IMG]

    So then I pulled back the carpet and found...

    [​IMG]

    timber stair nosing! My lucky day. Colour doesnt match the floorboards, but im gonna roll with it and see how I go. I saw two easy/cheap options. Either paint the stair risers white, or use the leftover laminate flooring on the risers to add some contrast and make the different coloured timber look ok.
    Two options sampled here:

    Double timber look
    [​IMG]

    White stair riser look
    [​IMG]


    I ended up deciding on the white risers to liven up the room, since the floorboards are so dark.
    Final result:

    [​IMG]

    Total cost was about $50 for paint and paintbrushes and painting tape. I also repainted the balustrade a vivid white too.
     
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  3. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney
    Step 3: Flooring in the hallway (~$50 used leftover floorboards from living room)
    So I measured up the hallway and I had enough of this dark laminate flooring to cover the hallway, but not a room. So I used it up in the hallway.

    BEFORE
    shocking photo but you get the idea. Old grey carpet
    [​IMG]

    AFTER
    Got this done pretty quick. Havent finished the last row yet, but I was just trying ot get hte bulk of it done so I could move my furniture in.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Bwinny

    Bwinny Member

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    Looking forward to further updates and well done on the first purchase!
    We did a similar thing in the Blue Mountains in November last year but leased it after renovations.
     
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  5. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney
    STEP 4: Flooring in the Master Bedroom (~$300)
    Now, I havent got any photos showing the before, but there was a big hole in the middle of this carpet under the bed. It looked like the previous owner had a dog that sat under the bed trying to dig. Worst carpet in the house.
    My other problem was I didnt have any of the free flooring leftover from my friends old showroom. So I went out and bought some lighter laminate floorboards, that were also 12mm in height so height would match, and had a red tinge to it so contrast wouldnt be so strong. I ended up going with a 'Kempas' timber laminate. Its a lighter red/orange toned timber. Looks great imo.

    So heres a before with the grey carpet.
    [​IMG]

    I ripped it up and had a look at the timber chipboard floor below. Along the wall of the ensuite, there was visible damage from water. There is also a round water damaged spot under the shower visible from below the house. When I got my building inspection done, the report mentioned the waterproofing in the shower of both bathrooms is damaged, and will eventually need to be fixed. So I intend to redo the whole bathroom when I get to that point.

    Visible water damage along the ensuite wall (this is on the bedroom side remember). It was not wet to the touch or anything, likely happened over 20 years or so verry slowly.
    [​IMG]

    So I started laying flooring, and got to this section, the bottom right hand corner of the ensuite door.
    [​IMG]

    I saw something a bit suspicious so pulled up the last few boards and had a closer look
    [​IMG]

    Is that what I think it is? Voldemort? I mean, Asbestos? Note that the ensuite door slides to the right into the wall, so this is looknig at that section below where the ddoor slides into.

    I quickly duct-taped that gap closed and pretended I didnt see anything, until another day when I get up to renovating the ensuite.

    Room completed. Looks 10 times better in my opinion.
    [​IMG]

    Doing the flooring in this room cost me about $300. Total used was 13sqm of 12mm timber Kempas Laminate. As well as underlay, and all the tools I already had from the other rooms.
     
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  6. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

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    Location:
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    Step 5: Sprucing up the front entrance stairs (~$50)

    So I looked on Gumtree for a few weeks until I found someone developing a property giving away free Sandstone to save them paying to have it removed. I eventually got one and hired a trailer to pick some up.
    Figured it'd be good to landscape with.

    Heres my first haul (I did two trips and got twice this amount):
    [​IMG]

    These are the beautifully attractive old stairs. Theyre just levels with a timber sleeper retaining each step. Half hte steps had an 'orange' shaded concrete paver or two on top. Looked pretty bad in my opinion.
    [​IMG]

    I spent a day playing with the sandstone trying out how they could best be used as stairs. Eventually I decided having them buried in as steps, raised about 20mm from the floor, and surrounded with gravel looked best.

    This is incomplete, but I think it will look great when finished :) I'll put them in order as some photos are earlier on in the process.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Tonibell

    Tonibell Well-Known Member

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    Looking good and interested to see what you do with it.

    It doesn't sound like you have a very firm plan for the renovation and what it is going to achieve.

    You need to understand where your time and money is best spent.

    On our last two renos we paid someone at the start to prepare a renovation plan for us and I'd recommend it if adding value is the main focus for the reno.
     
  8. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Great work so far. good choice painting the stairs, came up well

    As tonibell said, you should nut out a plan and importantly a budget! you'll easily overcapitalise if you dont, and living in it makes it trickier as you'll always find jobs to add to the list they arent value add items.
    Bathrooms and kitchen top of the list as a start.
    and i wouldnt go running off to council up there either they'll add lots of heart ache to the job. Where are you up there? with that bush block you may find a simple job off adding a roller door to the garage and theyll slug you with fire pritection gear... which is important but they wont help your end goal. and you shoud look into the fire stuff depending what zone your in.

    I worked with a mate doing roller shutters and theyre not cheap and council specify them on all external windows with bush aspect, or as specified. now it is important but at around $1000 a pop not cheap! plus did a couple of sky light (similar to yours) roller shutters in Ktown, now that was expensive!!
     
  9. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

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    Sydney
    Thanks :) Could you give me a bit if a rundown on what kind of renovations you did to spruce the place up?


    Correct, I have zero plan :p Never heard of that before, can I ask how it worked? You searched for a 'renovation consultant'? They came out and had a chat with your goals, budget etc. Then they told you where the money is best spent, what else you should do if you blew the budget a little bit etc?

    That does sound useful, especially for a first-timer like myself. Can I ask what they cost, and how they delivered feedback? Was it in the form of a written report, or more of a verbal discussion?

    I guess my thinking from the limited reading ive done on renovations and adding value, that I would rejig both bathrooms, put timber floors down, update anything that looked a bit old, give the place a lick of paint in Hog Bristle with white architraves/skirting etc. As for the ladnscaping I figured id just make a few flat sections out the back so the steep hill becomes a few sections of useable space. For the front yard I thought some minor changes like fixing up the stairs, and adding some nice edging to the gardens as the gardens and gravel currently melt together..
    For the carport I figured all I wanted was a door to make it secure to store things in, and then I thought maybe some plasterboard internal walls and shelving wouldnt go astray in making it look good and be more functional.

    With regard to bathrooms my plan was to leave all plumbing as is, simply add new fittings, new vanity, new sinks and tapware, remove shower and hob, and replace with a frameless screen. I guess just to update the look without doing any work to plumbing etc.

    In the kitchen I replaced the cupboard handles with some brushed alum ones today and it took 5 years off their age. I also got a glass electric cooktop which I will replace the rusty old elements with.


    So I guess my plan was freshen the place up nicely, and make more useable/functional areas, without overdoing it and spending heaps of money. But I guess there were no boundaries placed on anything... I went in hoping to try everything out and learn what to touch and what not to touch in the future.

    I am keeping a strict budget spreadsheet however, including materials, tools, truck/ute hire etc.
    So I guess at the end I can look over the spreadsheet and see where my money went, to get a better idea of where I should be spending less in the future?
     
  10. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

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    I think you guys are right, it would be a good idea to write everything down and price it all and add detail even though I think I have it all in my head. Here is a basic plan and budget to kick off with. Lets see where it takes me.

    Internal rooms ($2000 budget)
    -Replace all carpets with timber laminate flooring
    -Paint most rooms in Dulux Hog Briste half/quarter with white architraves/skirting.
    -Replace the timber venetian blinds, and the vertical blinds with either single or double roller blinds depending on which window it is.
    -Replace any aged lighting with newer lamps
    -Build one or two floating timber shelves into the walls

    Bathroom ($2000/$2500 budget. One WC has a bath thats why. $4500 total)
    -Retain all plumbing and electric circuitry
    -Replace fittings and toilet/shower/vanity/sinks with generic updated versions.
    -Retile bathroom to ceiling

    Kitchen ($1000 budget without stone benchtop)
    -Basic updates only so I dont overcapitalise. i.e. new handles
    -Replace old electric rusty cooktop with new glass electric one
    -Fit a splashback
    - Replace oven with a better looking (also mine doesnt work too well) generic brand
    -If everything is done and im feeling rich, look into replacing just the benchtop with some stone

    Outdoors ($4000 budget)
    -Pave a path and make some stairs in the backyard
    -Create a few cascades with retaining walls and levelled sections
    -Make one section a fire pit area with some sandstone seating around it
    -Theres a little creek out the back of the property which currently takes 5 minutes of bushbashing to get to. Clear a little path and possibly put a little picket gate down the back to easier access the creek (very tiny creek but still appealing).


    TOTAL BUDGET GOAL- $12,000

    Thats a start :)
    To be completely honest, thats about double what I thought it would cost to do what ive listed haha. I felt like I was hardly changing anything, but the list gets longer.. and longer... and it all adds up doesnt it.

    Lesson one- when people say you absolutely need to write-up a budget, dont think youre only doing a couple of little things and its pointless, do it! :) I will in time write up a document much more detailed than this breaking down cost estimates and amending them as costs are realised.
     
  11. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    A good idea to take things step by step when the budget is tight. I'd question how you're going to get the kitchen done on only $1K. Which is why I like to do one room at a time. Kitchens and bathrooms have the biggest wow factor but also cost the most and you might need to wait a little longer?
    In the bathroom, do you really need to change the toilet? What's better about a new toilet? Nothing. They don't flush as well as the old ones. Does the shower really need replacing? Usually retiling brings old bathrooms to life. The main thing is that it's clean and the water doesn't escape anywhere that it's not meant to.
    I love those pink tiles. But would change the cabinets or the colour of the cabinets (and the 1980's handles). The bathroom with the bath and skylight is absolutely gorgeous.
     
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  12. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

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    Well looking at the ensuite bathroom, I guess I feel like the shower isnt particularly attractive.. I also feel like its very dark, and the sliding door actually only has 2/3 sections existent.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The toilet is ok... at least its white :p I just feel like a new wall-faced unit would freshen it up nicely for not too much money?
    [​IMG]




    As for the main bathroom with the skylight, i think the skylight and those plants make it look much better.
    I guess I just think the whole pink colour scheme looks very outdated, and since almost everything is pink, I kind of have to replace the lot?

    What are general thoughts on this bathroom? Is it just my novice mindset saying 'newer and shinier is better' trying to replace everything with travertine and metal? Is there a certain charm to it that people actually do like and 'modernising' everything will actually just be a preference thing rather than adding any value?

    Main bathroom pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    OK looking more closely, yes, it needs re-doing. The toilet is acrylic, the bath is acrylic, the sliding doors are hideous. The wall tiles are not good lookers.
    I'm sure you'll do a great job with it. However, I'd leave the floor tiles 'til last 'cause they're kinda nice.
     
  14. Tonibell

    Tonibell Well-Known Member

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    In our case we had just done two renovations in Sydney that we managed ourselves and learnt a lot from - but in both cases we kept getting new ideas (or suggestions from tradies) as we went along. It was difficult and expensive to make changes on the fly and to keep a cap on the project.

    When we took on a large interstate reno project we really needed the quotations to be firm and for the project to run smoothly so we decided to get a Renovation Action Plan from Hotspace Consultants. After a few discussions and a lot of photos we got the document and the budget from them - did some minor tweeking and then stuck to it. The spend on the project was over $100K (3 x 2 bedroom unit block) so perhaps a bit different from your plans.

    We are not "about to start" a reno on our PPOR and decided to get all the ideas from Hotspace again. We have had the plan document for some time now - but have not started the reno. It is so much harder to do your own place !

    All the info and costs are on the website - so best to have a look yourself.
     
  15. bythebay

    bythebay Well-Known Member

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    great thread
    look forward to seeing more before and after photos
     
  16. Coota9

    Coota9 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    looking good..
     
  17. Bwinny

    Bwinny Member

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    Hi Attila,
    We turned the place from a 3 bedroom and one bathroom into a 4 bedroom and two bathroom by adjusting the floor plan and removing and adding walls. The place also had a hot water system in the middle of the house in a room the size of a bathroom but only one toilet and bathroom in the whole place! Like the others have said we started with a plan with clear "before and after" floor plans, a list of work required to be quoted by builders (also ensuring quotes allowed for clear "apples versus apples" comparison of cost) plus a list of things that we needed to complete / buy or have done by other trades / mates etc.

    My wife was 7 months pregnant at the time and we wanted the job turned around as quickly as possible so we didn't do as much work as we normally do ourselves (but she still managed to accidently tapped a live wire during the reno which gave her a scare...... but all was well!)

    Where in the mountains is it? Feel free to PM me if you want details for a builder, tiler , plumber, waterproofer , gyprocker or painter and most importantly have fun with it all! :D
     
  18. Starlite

    Starlite Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bwinny,

    Did yo have to get council approval or any plumbing certificate to add the additional bathroom?
    How much was the cost for the additional bathroom?

    Cheers.
     
  19. Lisa Parker- Buyers Agent

    Lisa Parker- Buyers Agent Well-Known Member Business Member

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    +1 for Hotspace consulting.
    Highly recommend Jane. She is an interior designer, but she is also an investor and knows where to spend money to get the biggest return.

    I think the first place to start (aside from a plan with Hotspace consulting) is knowing what your top resale value will be post renovation. That way you can work backward to ensure you spend the right amount of money on your renovation.
    If you don't spend enough (in certain areas) you lose out on potential equity. If you spend too much you over capitalise.

    A plan will keep you very focused and on track and will help build confidence. It will also give you the colour selection for everything to make sure it's cohesive and adds value and it will ensure you make money as Jane will want to see nearby sales in the area to determine what you should budget for the renovation.

    Good on you for what you have achieved so far! Top start.
     
  20. Attila Zoltan

    Attila Zoltan Active Member

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    I had a chat with Jane from Hotspace last Friday, just to get an idea of the service they provide.
    To be honest I was impressed.
    I won't be using them or any other reno consultant this time round, as this will be my mothers home when im done with it. So with every decision im trying to find a compromise between the best value-adding option, and my personal and mothers preferences. Also considering i've kind of started already, and actually collected a lot of materials I havent posted about, like stone blocks for retaining walls, materials to build myself some barn-style wooden garage doors, a shed and an aviary, a stack of pavers, paint for interior/exterior, light fixtures etc.
    So i feel like im too far into the purchasing part of this reno to get much use out of them.

    But I mainly called them to get familiar with the service, and I will definately be using them (or another reno consultant) next time I make a purchase- before I do anything else :p

    Theyre not based in Sydney, so said I would need to send them 100-150 photos of everything and it could be done over the phone with a report emailed. They sent through a sample report and it seemed very detailed and laid out a solid plan and costing for an entire project. i was impressed with the level of the detail.
    Only downside I could see was the cost- at approx ~$1500 for a full report interior/exterior on a 3-bedroom freestanding house. I thought that a little steep, but am not comparing that to anything. Just an initial reaction.