Chris and Sarah decided to take advantage of the buoyant real estate market and purchase an investment property to turn a profit to fund some short term goals they both had. The plan was to purchase a ‘do-up’ that had three bedrooms and in a good location all for under $500,000 in the Wellington area. The budget for the renovation was set, and together they were to manage the renovation to have it ready to be on-sold at a profit in the shortest time frame possible.
To start the process they hit the open homes and used their real estate agent contacts, but ended up buying a property in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt privately that had ‘issues’. Issues to the extent that selling through a real estate agent would mean disclosing these ‘issues’ to the public, which was possibly too uncomfortable for the seller, and would make the disclosures required to buyers difficult for an agent to manage without upsetting the seller. The property was bought for just under the $500k budget on the condition there was limited access before purchasing, meaning no builder’s report was possible. They were aware there was a risk associated with the limited access but decided to go ahead and purchase and take that risk.
The first frightening discovery was that the external roof guttering was ‘live’ due to some creative electrical wiring by the previous owner. The HRV system that at first viewing looked in good working condition, had never been serviced, was clogged, and needed an extensive upgrade. The hot water cylinder was an old low-pressure system in a kitchen cupboard in the small badly laid out kitchen. Turns out the old cylinder was leaking which helped in the decision to replace the old with a new high-pressure one installed it into the ceiling space to create the new open-plan layout they desired.
Chris and Sarah were definitely hands-on renovators, firstly planning the desired layout and then getting stuck into the renovation itself. Sarah said their experience in renovating paid off in spotting opportunities to add value that others may well have missed. The kitchen and bathroom both needed total renovations, both big-ticket items. To keep costs down they used the very cost-effective Placemakers kitchen deal.
A clever layout change in the bathroom moving the plumbing and taps away from the end of the bath where the vanity limited a person’s reach, to the other end, was a small cost but significantly improved the shower over bath access, including better access to the tapware. A simple change of glazing in the kitchen from the old perspex in the large 1980’s garden window to clear glass made a huge difference along with removing the opaque glass in the second bedroom to create a beautiful light-filled room. Taking out the hallway cupboard opened up the surrounding space nicely providing a generous and inviting entrance way with lots of natural light.
One of the great ‘surprises’ they shared with a smile, was that the skip bin was automatically taken away after one week when they expected it to stay until they rang for collection!
Chris said the front of the property was screaming out for a deck, an investment they knew would add significant value to the property both for on-sale ability and to attract a good tenant. The addition of the deck successfully created the desired ‘kerb appeal’ and drew many compliments from the neighbours!
They personally pulled up carpets, scrubbed walls and supervised the demolition of the hallway wall cupboard and the old fireplace, installed 100 plus ‘soakers’ on the weatherboard edges, the garden overhaul, along with painting the front fence white. The inside was painted in quarter tea, the exterior painted in ‘blue-grey’ with ‘denim blue’ barge board and trims. As a result of the intelligent renovation, the property was transformed into an attractive, light, warm 3 bedroom home compared to the dark and dingy property at purchase.
A major win was, in their second week of ownership, their research uncovered the fact the section size meant the property could be subdivided. They subsequently contacted an investor buyer they knew who specialised in subdividable properties, and he was immediately interested. The renovation was completed in four calendar weeks and the property promptly on-sold to their investor buyer, conditional on the renovations being successfully concluded by an agreed date.
As there were known ‘issues’ with the property at purchase, Chris and Sarah before settlement occurred, contacted kaumatua at the local marae who undertook a blessing ceremony at the property.
In conclusion, the renovation project came in on budget, allowing Chis and Sarah to achieve the short-term goals that initiated the project in the first place and has given them the confidence to start looking for the ‘next’ project.