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Suggestions please - our first reno

Discussion in 'Renovation & Home Improvement' started by GreenGoblin, 17th Jul, 2016.

  1. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    We bought an unrenovated 3-1-1 late ’60s house in Stafford Heights (8km north of Brisbane), in April 2014. After the original tenants left, we had to drop the rent $20 to $360 p.w. to get new tenants. They’re not renewing their lease either, so it’s time to renovate to still appeal to tenants.

    As it’s interstate, we won’t be doing any of the work ourselves (limited DIY skills, costs of flying up for the weekend and trying to limit the time it’s not earning rent). We plan to just do a cosmetic reno as it’s an old (but solid) house, with most work done in the kitchen and bathroom. Walls are fibro Masonite, so we’re avoiding disturbing asbestos. We’ve not renovated before, so would appreciate your ideas and suggestions, as well as tradie recommendations, please. Planned renos are:

    Kitchen:
    • Previous (wonderful!) tenant painted kitchen cupboard doors cream before leaving (see first two photos). Too much cream, so paint cupboard frames a contrasting colour.
    • Replace cupboard door handles with modern handles
    • Cupboards are in good condition – paint inside of cupboards white to look larger
    • Retile sink splashback (we replaced the taps a year ago)
    • Remove lino and Masonite on floor and polish floorboards
    • Only one double plug point (on LHS); install one or two additional plug points on RHS
    • Remove existing glass-door cupboard and install a deeper, taller cupboard
    • Replace pin board on LHS with a small cupboard
    • Add a matching single stand-alone cupboard next to existing double stand-alone cupboard
    • Add a dishwasher at the expense of some kitchen cupboard space
    • Paint/resurface/replace benchtop? (width is a little narrow, but manageable)
    • Old blinds work okay, though a knob is missing from one pull cord – leave as is?
    • Replace old and corroded window handles
    Kitchen (painted).jpg Kitchen cupboards.jpg Kitchen entryway.jpg Kitchen front left.jpg Kitchen front right.jpg Kitchen rear.jpg

    Bathroom:
    • Replace shower curtain and rail with shower screen along bath
    • Replace taps to modernise them (we replaced the shower head a year ago)
    • Resurface bath to remove stains
    • Tile outside of bath and bathroom wall
    • Replace tiled splashback area above washbasin and behind bath with modern tiles
    • Replace washbasin with vanity and mixer tap
    • Replace cupboard above washbasin with mirror to the left of cupboard
    • Polish terrazzo floor (and in separate toilet too)
    • Paint untiled area white or cream to make room appear larger
    Bathroom cupboard and mirror.jpg Bathroom.jpg

    Entrance:
    • Replace cracked glass windowpane on bottom RHS (hidden when door is open)
    • Window frame on LHS needs repair (missing beading?) as it looks ugly
    • Add light fitting
    • Repaint inside of entrance door as paint is peeling and door is dirty
    Entrance.jpg Cracked glass.jpg

    Continued below due to 10 photo upload limit...
     
  2. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Bedrooms:
    • Add BIRs to main bedroom (currently has a brown wooden wardrobe for storage)
    • Polish floorboards and remove remaining old lino glued to floor in main bedroom by window
    • Install better curtains
    • Replace cracked window pane in main bedroom
    • Repair/replace flyscreens
    • For BIRs in 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, seal and paint drawers and shelves, remove lino and replace door runners as they’re slightly warped so BIR doors stick
    • Remove old wallpaper in 2nd bedroom and paint it
    • If possible with light/fan combo, install dual light fitting in main and 2nd bedrooms as rooms are dark (agent photos make them look brighter than they are)
    Main bedroom.jpg Wardrobe in main bedroom.jpg 2nd bedroom.jpg 3rd bedroom.jpg BIRs in 2nd and 3rd bedrooms.jpg

    Sunroom:
    • Patch and paint bi-fold doors, window frames and metal frames above bi-fold doors
    • Repair broken plug point
    • Repaint flaking ceiling
    Sunroom.jpg Sunroom ceiling.jpg

    Lounge/Dining room:
    • Polish floorboards
    • Touch up ceiling around smoke alarm where some paint has been peeled off
    Dining room and lounge.jpg
    Lounge 1.jpg Lounge 2.jpg


    Continued below due to 10 photo upload limit...
     
  3. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Under house laundry/storage area/garage:
    • Area is fairly shallow due to sloping land - dirt base which gets excess rain runoff in heavy downpours and is just used for storage. Previous tenant has removed all the stuff in the 2nd and 3rd photos.
    • Replace ancient concrete laundry tubs with new laundry vanity (we replaced the taps a year ago)
    • Laundry door is old and has a hole at the bottom – replace with exterior door
    • Remove DIY lighting and electrical extension leads installed by previous tenant due to potential electrical risk to tenants?
    • Install new lighting and plug points?
    Laundry (under house).jpg Under house 1.jpg Under house 2.jpg

    Exterior:
    • Replace rotting rails and a few missing palings on side fence
    • Replace wooden gate posts and reattach gate leading to back garden
    • Pull loose cable by kitchen windows up into roof and replace brown wooden slat under eaves with matching white slat
    • Repaint window frames, gutters, front and rear stairs and railings
    • Any need for landscaping?
    Front view 1.jpg Front view 2.jpg Kitchen windows.jpg Fence 1.jpg Fence 2.jpg Rear garden 1.jpg Rear garden 2.jpg

    Thanks in advance for ideas, suggestions and tradie recommendations,
    GG
     
  4. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    Super long post but the first thing I thought was to not paint the kitchen cupboards frames a contrasting colour. Add colour a different way of you have to - splash back or bench top for eg.
     
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  5. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Aaaghh!, Please leave the kitchen cupboards alone - they look beautiful. Cream is always IN. Only the last few years it had a break because it was done to death for millenia. Do Not Touch.
    You'll be amazed at the difference the polished floorboards will make.
    Also, don't remove the concrete tub in laundry. Like, why??? Work around it. Paint the outside of it if you must.
    Doesn't look like need for landscaping. Only if there's water going somewhere it shouldn't.
    All else sounds good as it's mostly repairs and painting.
     
    Last edited: 17th Jul, 2016
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  6. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    I agree with adding a glass shower screen over the bath to modernise it instead of the shower curtain. Painting inside the cupboards white (I usually use the cheapest gloss acrylic for this so it is tough and doesn't stain is a great idea too.

    I would get advice from the PM as to what is needed to a) maintain the property and b) what will increase rent.

    Toggle for blind is very inexpensive. Time taken for tradie to buy it, maybe not so cheap!
    If the wallpaper is not peeling, maybe paint over it?

    Definitely get an itemised quote.
     
  7. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Jess. We can tile the splash back a different colour. Any suggestions for the bench tops - leave as is/repaint/replace?
     
  8. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, WattleIdo. The laundry tub has a slight crack and is just resting on its supports, not physically fixed to them - I suppose it could be attached. I hadn't thought of painting the concrete tub - the crack could be sealed with silicone (?) and then painted over...
     
  9. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Joynz. That reminded me I'd posed the question around a year ago, sparking a good discussion. The general feeling was to paint over the wallpaper given it was in reasonable condition.
    Paint over wallpaper?
     
  10. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Just be aware that once you paint over wallpaper it is extremely difficult if you change your mind and want to remove the paper.
    Marg
     
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  11. Ald

    Ald Well-Known Member

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    Let me. Give you some good advice here.

    If by selling you will not cover the interest and stamp duty and all other outgoings you have paid then do this:

    Install the dishwasher, install a proper full size double sink, send an electrician through to make sure it's safe, send a plumber to check everything, I mean everything, and do nothing, absolutely nothing else.

    If you have money to do the following without a mortgage, demolish it, put up a really nice 4x2 with big bedrooms and big kitchen and big bathrooms and a storage plus a double garage after doing some proper retaining and sell for a tidy profit.

    Otherwise if you can sell it and cover everything you have spent on it or can come very close to that figure, then sell it to somebody who is not an investor, but loves diy, or somebody who will demolish it.

    Your property isn't great and throwing money at it is not going to help. Be glad you are getting the rent you are and look at selling it if you can.

    If you were not interstate and you knew about DIY and could do it then everything you suggested could be done. But I still would not do it.

    The proper destiny for that house is to demolish and rebuild with something that will last 100 years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 17th Jul, 2016
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  12. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd paint the bathroom and any other room that needs painting. Fix anything that needs fixing but try to find the balance between "tidy" and overspending. Clean it up and make it more attractive to tenants. @Ald is assuming you will sell for what it is worth "now" but we all know that prices rise. Might take a while, even a long while, but they rise. So, I'd be spending as little as you can get away with to get higher rent. I'd be asking local agents to tell you what needs doing to attract tenants and higher rent than you are getting now. Rents in our areas are very soft, but that rent seems very cheap. But I don't know the area at all.

    Don't fall for the trap of making things how you'd like them if you were living there. It is difficult to know where to draw the line, but dirty, broken, ugly are fairly easy to spot, and to fix.

    I wouldn't change the sink in that kitchen. We have another house with a kitchen like that. We painted it inside and out, and put floating flooring on the benches. Came up a treat and looks just as good now as when we did it. Why spend on a sink for a 450mm wide bench top that will one day be ripped out for either a new kitchen or for demo?

    I would remove the laundry trough. I've seen too many legs fall and that could be a real danger. My husband had a trip to the hospital when one fell on him while he was removing one in our house years ago. Also, tenants who want to wash something won't want to use that. Clear out the junk under the house and make the laundry look as nice as you can for as cheap as you can. A new white tub will cost $100 or less.

    "Proper destiny" for the house may well be that you (or someone else) will demolish it and build new, so you don't want to pour money in that next owner will wish you'd not spent, because they will bulldoze the house. But it may not be best use, and unless @Ald knows the suburb well, and even down to the actual street, then that is a huge assumption.

    We have a very similar house to that in Balmoral. It was in similar condition and we've tidied it up. We put in a new bathroom that is newer than the one you have shown, but not hugely better. It is clean and white, but nothing flash. And we won't do anything flash with it because from the top level we can see the city.

    One day we may bulldoze it and build as high as we can and take advantage of that city view. But we likely won't do that ourselves. It isn't worth doing for us because, (and I've not done the numbers yet), we would probably pay way too much tax for it to be worth our while.

    But if we don't bulldoze and build, we will definitely hire a scissor lift or similar and take photos from where the new floor level would be if a new house is built.

    We did a big reno on our son's house and his floors needed work. Instead of our floor sander doing a proper job, he did a buff of the whole house. The kitchen had never been sanded, so he did that properly, and blended it into the rooms either side with just his "flyscreen" sanding pad. The whole house (four bedrooms, living, kitchen, hallways) cost around $1k. It looks like it has been freshly sanded. For less than half the cost.

    Bang for buck is what you need. I know a chap who may quote for this job for you if you want to send me a message for his details.

    We also have a good painter if you need but I'm not sure he will go that far northside. He has other painter friends though who might.
     
    Last edited: 17th Jul, 2016
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  13. Ald

    Ald Well-Known Member

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    I would like to suggest that you go onto the money smart webpage of the gov and put the value of 1 dollar compounded at 12% over 20 years into the calculator. See the potential value and power of a dollar placed in a good low fee fund? Investment property makes sense when you can beat those returns. It's your time that you must factor in. It's easier to check a vanguard funds performance 3 times a day to sell at high and buy at low then to renovate old houses for marginal rent returns.

    Basically if you are able to raise the rent $50 by doing the Reno, that's optimistic, over a year it's still only about $2250 extra, so your Reno needs to cost less then that. If you put the money you would have spent on Reno into a vanguard fund tou would have made more
     
  14. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's just agree to disagree, shall we? There's more than one way to invest.

    I'm not interested in looking at any moneysmart pages. We've made a lot of money doing renovations and watching house values and rents rise. One house we bought for $156k and painted and put in a new kitchen, checked wiring and plumbing got $190 per week rent from memory. Since then, we've tarted up the bathroom, re-roofed and added a deck. Rent is now $600 per week but cost base (purchase plus all renovations) is just under $200k.

    I don't know how to run the numbers on that. But I'm happy. We were offered $900k for it last year. Could we have made more investing in some fund? Maybe. I'd likely pick a dud.
     
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  15. MichaelMik

    MichaelMik Active Member

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    Yeh I agree with wylie, plenty of ways to skin the cat old Aldi chap. Besides doing a diy reno could be more interesting/personally rewarding, not to mention good experience. As per wylies example, you never know. One day it might make you more dosh then checking VAS three times a day.

    Oh and I probably wouldn't worry about doing any landscaping, it looks ok. Just make sure it's well kept and no clutter, like lawnmower bits and bobs next to the fence. (Although at a guess I'd say it's your mower haha)
     
  16. MichaelMik

    MichaelMik Active Member

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    Just reread and realising your not doing any work yourself, please disregard what I said there about it being personally rewarding and all that. haha woops!
     
  17. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    @wylie Thanks for your feedback and tips. I'll reread your post a few times - there's some great advice in there! I'll also PM you for your contact's details and arrange a quote with him once we've finalised what repairs/renos we're doing.

    @Ald I'm a lousy sharemarket investor; while I know shares/EFTs/LICs can provide better returns for less work, I've made a small loss on these over the years. I'll stick with buy and hold for now, but appreciate your suggestions.

    @MichaelMik I'm sure it will be rewarding for the tradies we get in to do the work - hopefully not too rewarding for them! :)
     
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  18. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    I'd leave it, unless it's damaged/in bad condition.
     
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  19. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with Jess. We found a tenant before we decided whether to replace the kitchen. She didn't want to pay extra rent if we put in a new one, and was happy with it as we'd tarted it up.

    The red original laminate was faded and scratched in some areas but good as new in others. We had to do something without overspending for something we will likely rip out when this tenant leaves. Hubby glued down the left over flooring and edged it with timber. Tenant looks after it and it looks as good now as it did six years ago.

    We also removed some of the overhead cabinet doors to allow "open shelving" to mix it up a bid and modernise it. (Might have even been a damaged door, cannot remember). You can see an open bit at the top of the photo.

    image1.jpg
     
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  20. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    That bench looks great! Nice fix for crappy laminate :)