The Ultimate Guide to Renovating and Investing
EXTERIORS / INTERIORS / DESIGN INSPIRATION / DÉCOR / INVESTING / LOCAL FLIPPING STORIES
COZY TO CONTEMPORARY Young Mackay couple shares the highlights and challenges of turning their dream project into realty.
CONSTRUCTION COUPLE Jarrod and Kate Olsen are ready to take on just about any renovation.
HALFWAY TO THE FINISH LINE
Tony Dreghorn is midway through one massive flip and he’s got some useful insights!
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P4..........................................................Welcome and overview P5 ............................................Mackay couple take on flipping P6 ...........................................West Mackay renovation dream P7...........................................................Modure Constructions P8...........................................................Top tips to nailing a flip P9 .............................................Summit and Co interior design P10 ....................................................The art of island benches P12.....................................The cost of a bathroom renovation P13 ................................................................Investment advice P14.........................................................Choosing your flooring P15 ...........................................Making use of outdoor spaces P16 .........................................................Lighting tips and tricks P17...........................................................Selecting a front door P18................................................Choosing the right windows P19 .....................................Kitchens can add value to a home P20 ...................................................Whatâ€™s your home worth? P21 .......................................................Finding the right builder P22 ...................................................Signs itâ€™s time to renovate P23...................................................................Real estate lingo
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FLIPPING CRAZE Your guide to the property trend sweeping the nation WITH Australian television shows such as The Block and House Rules dominating screens over the past decade, home renovating has become increasingly popular. Outside of sprucing up the bathroom and kitchen to make living in a home more enjoyable, the property ‘flipping’ trend is gaining traction. House flipping is an investment approach that involves purchasing a cheap and, more often than not, run-down property, renovating it and then selling it on for a profit. Part of the profit is then spent on purchasing another cheap property to repeat the cycle. While flipping has been popular is the US and capital cities for many years, it is growing more popular in regional areas across Australia – including Mackay, where older properties are increasingly available at affordable prices. Whether you are a seasoned renovator or are trying your hand at a DIY home project for the first time, Flipping: The Ultimate Guide will provide plenty of handy tips and tricks to get the job done. From knowing the signs that mean it’s time to pick up the sledgehammer and start demolishing the kitchen to choosing which flooring, lighting, windows and furnishings for your revamped space, we’ve got you covered.
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COUPLE’S DIY DREAM
The view from the deck at 22 Quarry St; the renovated office area; the original office area.
COZY TO CONTEMPORARY Young Mackay couple shares the highlights and challenges of turning their dream project into reality
LOGAN Burgess and Thomas Martin have recently completed a flip on 22 Quarry St, North Mackay. Mr Martin, a trained carpenter who works away at a mine Monday through Friday, had wanted to flip a house for a long time. Miss Burgess thought it would be a productive project that would allow them to spend time together on the weekends. The engaged couple spent about six months looking for the right property before deciding on the quaint cottage in North Mackay. But before they purchased the house, a plan was created and that included a budget. “One of the first things you have to do before you flip a house is write a budget,” she said. “And the biggest thing you have to keep in mind is not to over-capitalise.” During the project, she found they often had to compromise on things they really wanted for a less expensive option in order to not blow the budget. “The cost of everything quickly stacks up,” she said. With the exception of the exterior paint and the flooring,
the couple did all the renovations themselves. One challenge they faced was getting jobs done within 48 hours. Due to Mr Martin’s work schedule at the mine, all renovations took place on Saturdays and Sundays. “We knocked out an exterior wall of the house one weekend and then Tom had to go back to work,” Miss Burgess said, adding that it was often a challenge making the house liveable before he left for the week. Yes, that’s correct – they lived in the house while renovating. “That was probably the hardest part of the whole project,” she said. “I was never a morning person but I definitely am now. We would get up first thing in the morning and sometimes not go to bed until well after the sun went down.” Her advice to anyone contemplating flipping a home was to “be ready to sacrifice”. That meant sacrificing weekends, sleep-ins, outings with friends, holidays, buying a new car. “All your time and money will go into the renovations,”
she said. A project like this did have its rewards though. Seeing the result was the highlight for Miss Burgess, “Just to see the amazing talent my fiance has was the best part.” The now fully renovated house is back on the market. It’s listed with the same agent they originally purchased the home from, Leanne Druery, from Gardian Real Estate. “There are a lot of young buyers in the market who are utilising older properties within reasonable budgets to move in and work on over time. And then selling and using the equity to purchase their next home,” Ms Druery said. “The house has had fantastic numbers at the open house and feedback has been excellent,” she said. When asked if there were any offers in the pipeline she said, “There’s a lot of interest, let’s just put it that way”. The couple, who plan to marry in August, would put part of any profit made from the sale towards their honeymoon. The other half would go towards a down-payment on another property. Maybe to flip, or perhaps to live in.
Tony Dreghorn at his George St property.
HALFWAY TO THE FINISH LINE Tony Dreghorn is midway through one massive flip and he’s got some useful insights
TONY Dreghorn is in the process of flipping a house at 65A George St, West Mackay. He purchased the former deceased estate in December 2018. He was keen to start his first flipping project and, being one of Mackay’s original homes, it had a bit of local history. The house had character and loads of charm, but it would definitely prove to be a big job. It was not for the faint of heart. Wallpaper lined nearly every wall throughout the house. Removing the paper, sanding, painting and just generally repairing the walls was one of the first jobs he tackled. Then a wall came down, in an effort to open up the house. “That has been the most rewarding bit so far,” he said. “Experiencing the instant gratification of that wall coming down. It just opened the house right up.” Most of the work gets done on the weekends, as Mr Martin works during the week. But he mostly works from home, so that makes it convenient to pop over to the
house from time to time to do small tasks and then catch up with his work later in the evening. He said everyone who visited the house had an opinion on one thing or other. Especially his son, who is a carpenter and builder and helped him tile and gut the bathroom. “He’s not free of charge though, kids are never free of charge,” he laughed. When asked what advice he would give to someone endeavouring to take on a similar project, he said to spend time on a well thought-out budget. “Before you purchase the house, get quotes on everything and then factor them into your budget,” he said. He also advised making room in your budget for unforeseen items that may pop up unexpectedly along the way. “For example, I thought this dishwasher worked when I bought the house. But turns out it’s going to the dump.” Adding another 10–20 per cent of what you’re willing to
spend on the budget covers big-ticket items. He thinks the entire project will take six months and when it’s done he plans to put it back on the market with Stacy Brand, from Explore Property, who originally listed the property in 2018. “I was pretty excited about this property when it was first listed. It had original glass pendant lights, bakelite switches and power points, beautiful high ceilings and floor boards waiting to be polished back to their former glory,” she said. “It’s old-school built and these ones stand the test of time. The finished product will be a testament to Tony and all his hard work.” When asked for his overall review of the experience, his response was a convincing “It’s good fun and I like doing it.” He’ll be looking for his next property soon, after he’s finished the iconic George St house. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.
MAKING CLIENTS COMFORTABLE
Modure Constructions owners Jarrod and Kate Olsen and some of Modure’s completed projects.
CONSTRUCTION COUPLE JARROD AND KATE OLSEN ARE READY TO TAKE ON JUST ABOUT ANY RENOVATION
ESTABLISHED nearly six years ago, Modure Constructions was the brainchild of local builder Jarrod Olsen. His aim was to use his practical knowledge, qualifications and passion to help homeowners achieve renovations from conception to completion. Each project is different and tailored to the client’s specific needs. Mr Olsen prides himself on encouraging clients to ensure their renovation reflects their personality and what will be most functional for their home life. As the business quickly expanded, sales, marketing and operations manager Kate Olsen came on board to
manage the business off site. A proud local business owner, mother of three energetic boys and wife to Mr Olsen, she has a deep understanding of people and their needs. And her background in accounts and customer service drives the team. Modure specialises in all aspects of home renovations, from major home renovations and extensions, to additions, kitchens, bathrooms, decks and outdoor areas. Mrs Olsen said, “Renovations are such a delicate procedure, we enter our clients’ homes with a strong awareness to make them feel comfortable throughout
the process. We pride ourselves on the team’s communication, on-site cleanliness and respect for our homeowners. To be invited into someone’s home to help them achieve their dreams is an honour.” She said that adding functionality and value, whether it was to re-sell your home or to enjoy the transformation yourself, was so important because people spent so much time at home. “Homes age, it’s inevitable they get tired and require a facelift. People build their lives around where they live and to be able to give someone a ‘new’ home without relocating is a really exciting journey,” she said.
TOP TIPS TO NAILING A FLIP Property expert Gregory Williams shares some advice about flipping properties HOUSE prices in Mackay are currently at their most affordable level in a decade. We have seen several examples of older houses requiring ‘tender loving care’ bought fairly cheaply, renovated and then resold or ‘flipped’ at a profit. If you are considering this, here are seven useful tips.
1. PROPERTY SELECTION – LOCATION IS A KEY FACTOR
The inner suburbs are a great choice. Being close to shops, schools and places of employment is always preferred. Try to find a property that is being sold by a ‘mortgagee in possession’ but be quick because the banks appear to have cleared most distressed assets. A three-bedroom home will be most affordable and will retain appeal for resale.
2. DO YOUR SUMS
Once you shortlist a few properties, start doing your sums on each. Work out what renovation work is required. Consider how much the renovation will cost. Obtain a valuation assuming completion of renovation work to know what price the house should resell for. Don’t forget about stamp duty, conveyancing fees and the costs of building and pest inspections when you buy. There will also be bank interest, council rates and insurance while you own it. Selling costs will include advertising and your agent’s commission. Ask yourself, “can I flip the property at a profit?”.
3. MAKE AN OFFER
Don’t be shy. Forget the list price. Start making offers on a few properties, get the agents working and see how keen the sellers are. This is the fun bit. You will soon get an appreciation of reasonable price levels.
4. RENOVATE WISELY
The kitchen should be a priority. Consider what will appeal to potential buyers. Choose fair quality fittings and features – don’t skimp but don’t overspend. Stick with neutral colours for cabinetry and benchtops. The bathroom should be the next priority and the same principles apply. Paint indoors and the exterior. Make sure the roof doesn’t leak. Choose durable quality floor coverings but no garish colours or patterns. Attractive but conservative light fittings are recommended.
5. DO NOT OVERDO THE YARD
Have the yard tidy and presentable. Make sure the fencing is secure, presentable and that side gates close easily. Remove mould from concrete driveways and paths. Do not go overboard with landscaping and do not install a pool because it is unlikely you will recover the cost. Many buyers in Mackay look for sheds and if you choose to have one built, make sure you have good side access to suit an average size boat.
6. SELL WELL
Once the renovations are complete, you will need to sell as quickly as possible to minimise holding costs. Be realistic with your price expectations and make sure the property is well advertised. You will have better prospects of flipping if the house is vacant rather than tenanted because your most likely buyer will be an owner occupier.
7. KNOW WHEN THE PARTY IS OVER
As house values rise, so will the value of the old doer-uppers and flipping will become less viable. Be aware that the opportunity of a good flip will not last forever. This information is only of a general nature and should not be applied to individual situations without seeking further specialised advice. Gregory Williams is director of Herron Todd White Property Valuers, a fellow of the Australian Property Institute and has been registered as a valuer in Queensland for more than 24 years. He can be contacted on 4957 7348.
Maxine Edwards, of Summit and Co, with some of the spaces she has created.
STYLE TAKES CENTRE STAGE Local interior designer is on hand to transform average homes into designer spaces
CHIEF interior designer at Summit and Co, Maxine Edwards aims to make the design process as simple as possible for her clients. Mrs Edwards holds a Bachelor of Design from the prestigious Enmore Design College and has gained experience working part-time at one of Sydney’s most stylish boutique interior design firms. She then progressed on from her colour consulting business in Sydney to run Summit and Co, her own interior design business located in Mackay. “Compared to Sydney, Mackay is different because you really get to know people on a personal basis. You get to
build relationships with people in similar businesses, like real estate agents and trades and shops. And that is nice,” she said. Buying local is really important to her. Although she admits it can sometimes be a bit difficult finding exactly what she wants in Mackay. When she can’t find things here she will often order pieces online. Summit and Co aims to assist people who are stuck with the renovation and design process. She is also adept at styling and staging homes before they enter the property market. Mrs Edwards is able to assist with colours, layouts and
designs, as well as to advise clients in choosing accessories, fittings and fixtures. She is able to come to private residences and advise what can be done to make a home ready to be sold. Often it is clearing up clutter and personal effects. It could also be a matter of bringing in select pieces of furniture and accessories to update what is already in the house. She will even style and design a blank space if the home is not currently occupied. Mrs Edwards does a lot of work for real estate agencies but her services are available for anyone. She is able to work to a range of different budgets and tastes.
TIPS FOR UPDATING YOUR HOME FOR THE MARKET 1. Declutter property. 2. Remove personal items from view. 3. Make it versatile for all clients. 4. Use neutral colours. 5. Showcase a conversation piece of artwork or furniture. An object that will stick in the memory of a potential buyer.
OFF THE BENCH Think an island bench is just one long solid rectangle? Think again, says Shaynna Blaze By SHAYNNA BLAZE, LIFESTYLE The kitchen is often the hub of the home and there’s nothing better than gathering family and friends around an island bench as you cook, eat and chat. Kitchen and interior designers are doing some really creative things these days so the island bench is much more than just a preparation area with storage underneath and a couple of stools.
DINING TABLE MEETS ISLAND
This idea, where a dining table is joined at a right angle to the island bench, is a great way to save space in the kitchen and avoid having two rectangular shapes just running parallel. It also provides an opportunity to incorporate some natural texture and colour of timber into the design, which works really well when it’s matched to some cabinets, keeping the other cabinets a neutral lighter and/or darker colour, providing a nice contrast.
THIS ISLAND’S NO DESERT
PART OF THE FURNITURE
Traditional or French provincial and Hamptons-style kitchens are growing in popularity and not just in older-style homes. A signature element of this style is custom-made cabinetry with a lot of detail so it looks like a piece of furniture. For more advice, visit lifestyle.com.au.
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RELAXATION ON TAP
BATHROOM RENO: HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? THE average amount spent on each of those renovations? About $17,000. Although the bathroom was once considered a space to simply primp and prep for the day ahead, it seems the purpose of the humble room has changed over the years, with many households now hoping to create an impressive and luxurious space for relaxation (a desire that likely contributed to that eye-watering figure). Black, a tone once eschewed in interiors, made a comeback in a huge way in 2018. Ask any interior designer about the biggest home trends, and they’ll tell you a way to embrace the moody hue in just about every room of the house. Of course, you need not tile your entire bathroom a deep shade of ebony, but some subtle detailing can go a long way in sprucing up your space, sans the expensive bill.
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ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
THINGS TO DO BEFORE INVESTING 1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF PROPERTY INVESTING
It may sound like a cliché, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to be in the first place. You need to decide how much money you want to make and when. Be specific.
2. ASSESS YOUR ASSETS AND EXPENSES
This is as simple as listing all the assets, you currently have. Also include other financial resources you have to work with, such as other investments if you have any. Make a list of all your bills and loan repayments. Having this information at the start of your investment journey will help you gauge your ability to take on more debt and avoid overextending yourself.
3. SPEAK TO A MORTGAGE BROKER
A good mortgage broker can be an invaluable resource for a beginner investor. They have access to a wide range of mortgage and property information that you can tap.
They can help you calculate how much you can borrow given your personal and financial situation. They can also give you advice on what type of loan would suit you and how to structure it so you can continue borrowing money down the line.
4. TALK TO A PROPERTY-FOCUSED ACCOUNTANT
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MIX UP YOUR TEXTURES
NO FLAWS FOR THESE FLOORS
Textures, types and tones enter the mix for your family’s floors
WORDS:SHAYNNA BLAZE SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA Choosing flooring in your home can be one of the biggest renovation choices you will make. When making choices around flooring, you can mix it up a bit. You don’t have to stick to one texture. Clever mixes of different floorings, like timbers and tiles, can be really effective. For high traffic areas like hallways, kitchens and family rooms, hard products, like laminates, work really well. For those luxury areas like lounge rooms and bedrooms, carpet is a better choice. Finding floors that complement each other is the key to creating a beautiful living space. Firstly, select a tone that suits your house. For example, more traditional homes with rooms with high ceilings work well when warm tones are used. It’s important to remember that a warmer colour doesn’t necessarily mean a darker tone. When carpet and hard floor are close within a house, it’s vital to get the balance right between tones. The colour and tone of each flooring must come from the same family to avoid visual jarring. It’s also important for the scotia timber to match either the flooring or the skirting. Watch Selling Houses Australia on Foxtel. SHOP THE LOOK: Main - Globe West Avery croft occasional chair and finn buffet. See globewest.com.au. PHOTO: GLOBEWEST.COM.AU.
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BRING INDOORS OUT Companies take backyard studios to the next level WHETHER it’s for a home office, art studio, man cave or teenage retreat, backyard studios are an increasingly popular outdoor option. While once they may have been little more than a shed, these outdoor rooms have become a way to make better use of what you already have – and potentially an alternative to renovating your house. Far from looking like a tacky add-on, backyard studios can be built in a variety of sizes, using quality materials and attractive finishes. Prominent prefabricated home builder Archiblox started Backyard Rooms by Archiblox four years ago, aiming to
help people unlock the potential in their backyard. Director Bill McCorkell says there’s definitely more demand for backyard studios now than there was 10 years ago. “There has been, purely because the offerings are a lot more attractive now,” he says. “Whereas previously it was led by more pragmatic reasons, these days it’s led by a more architectural design that’s able to cater to people’s aesthetic and sensibilities. “If you’re creating something in the backyard you might as well create a piece of art that’s also a space to be used.”
Backyard Rooms by Archiblox studios are typically made with a steel frame, with timber the most popular external material. Bill says the most popular size is 4m x 2.5m and they are typically used as home offices. “We often use plywood lining internally and a vinyl flooring because it’s a lightweight structure, you insulate the walls and floors and ceiling and use double glazed aluminium windows,” he says. Built in Victoria, the studios are transported on trucks and generally craned on to site. He says the most popular studios cost about $80,000.
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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT LIGHT
SOLUTIONS COME TO LIGHT Vary lighting to suit a room’s purpose
WORDS: NEALE WHITAKER When renovating or updating your space, pay special attention to your lighting needs. Careful planning and consideration has to be given to lighting because it has the ability to transform your space, making your area feel brighter and bigger. Don’t only plan with function in mind – the right lights will also make a stylish addition to your home. Consider your area carefully. Is the room naturally dark? Or does it have a lot of natural light? These kinds of questions, as well as the size and colour of your room, should indicate your needs. If you’re updating multiple rooms at a time, each of your rooms should have its own lighting plan. Here’s my guide to some of lighting types you’ll need, and how they can help you: 1. Ambient lighting will give an even, overall light to a room. If you can, adding dimmers will let you adjust the light depending on the time of day or the mood you’re trying to create. 2. Task lighting has function at the forefront, illuminating the spaces you need to be lit well. Think kitchens, a study or the bathroom vanity. 3. Finally, accent lighting lets you show off key pieces of furniture or design elements in your home. If you want to highlight your artwork or stylish dining table, accent lighting is the right option. Watch Love It Or List It Australia, only on Foxtel. SHOP THE LOOK: Beacon Lighting at beaconlighting.com.au PHOTO: BEACON LIGHTING
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
OPEN THE DOOR TO POSSIBILITIES Allow the entrance of your home to make a statement says. “The thing is –and this is important to remember – the front door sets the tone to what happens inside. It’s the bridge between the street and inside the home, so you need choose wisely.” Even if you’re not completely sold on a brightly coloured door, there’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the square with interesting hardware details. “I like to think about the front door as something the client may want to have input in,” Sally says. “It’s a personal expression and even the tiniest detail will make a difference.” Sally, who is also working with Corinthian Doors, says big, oversized doors will continue their dominance in the architectural marketplace. “When architects are designing, the focus is now on large hallways,” she says. “You don’t want to feel like you’re walking into a pokey corridor. To accommodate this, you need a large entrance door, which automatically makes the home seem grand.”
WORDS CATHERINE NIKAS-BOULOS FIRST impressions count and, when it comes to your home, the front door is key to setting the scene. More than just the physical block between the outside world and your private domain, the front door is the first thing that defines your home. A plain or unloved front door speaks of a home that is not up to par, while a colourful entrance door conjures images of a confident home owner who likes to do things a little differently, standing out from the crowd. Whether you live in a freestanding Victorian cottage, Federation terrace, 1980s-era villa home or modern apartment, the ethos is the same – create a welcoming front door, and stand out for the right reason. Sally Klopper, director of Sally Caroline interior design service, says visitors will have a positive emotional reaction to a front door, if you get it right. “There may be some confusion as to what is the best design to choose for your home, so people might go for the safest option, which is sometimes the blandest,” she
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MAKE THE RIGHT WINDOW CHOICE
HEAD OF THE GLASS Choose your windows wisely for insulation, security and style WHETHER you’re renovating or building a home, you’ll find certain decisions take the most time – fixtures and fittings, interior style and paint colours, for example. But windows are also important. People have tended to relegate windows as an afterthought but, according to Trend Windows & Doors marketing director Athina Solomou, things are changing. “It’s a significant investment for a home owner and people now realise that,” Athina says. “We are finding that customers are placing a lot more scrutiny on what they’re getting in windows and, in particular, whether they are energy efficient because there
is a lot more awareness of that now.” Know the terms WINDOWS are often sources of energy loss in the home – as well as enabling draughts through cracks and gaps – so architects will often speak of a “U Value”, which essentially measures a window’s ability to insulate. Meanwhile, the SHGC rating (solar heat gain coefficient) measures the ability to reduce heat generated by sunlight, with the lower the SHGC number, the better the glass at keeping the sun’s heat out of the house. “Likewise, in a cold climate the higher the SHGC number, the more natural warmth will occur.”
Frame it ATHINA says timber frames are enjoying a resurgence. “In the past, timber doors and windows had a stigma attached due to the maintenance of the product. “But I think now with energy efficiency becoming a factor, timber is a great insulator, and people are starting to return to timber and architects are starting to incorporate timber into their designs.” Aluminium frames are an economical frame choice – lightweight, strong and low maintenance. A third option is hybrid frames, which consist of aluminium and a material called extruded rigid polymer.
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KITCHENS ARE THE HEART OF A HOME
KITCHENS ADD VALUE Home tips with renovation expert Kate Olsen, from Modure
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NO ROOM compares to your kitchen when adding value to your property. This space can make or break sales – that’s why it’s important to take a few considerations into account when investing in your kitchen. While this area has always been the hub of a home, over time the way we use it has changed, our lifestyles demand open plan living and now kitchens function as spaces for meetings and homework. The decline of the formal dining room also has placed more importance on the kitchen as an eating area. Is it any wonder that this room has such priority in a buyer’s eyes? The key to adding value, whether renovating an existing kitchen or installing a new one, is to aim for an increase in the bulk or scale to make it appear larger and of better quality. Add bench space for working, eating and meeting. Stick with a clean, modern look that appeals to the majority of people. Opt for timeless colours and fixtures that won’t date quickly. Adjust the budget to be in-keeping with the rest of the home and neighbourhood, and try not to get carried away with bells and whistles.
ADD VALUE TO YOUR HOME
WHAT’S IT WORTH? Shaynna Blaze says to take into consideration what you truly value
WHAT is it most people want? To add value to their home, but not overcapitalise, and a million-dollar look for the price of a weekend renovation. As the saying goes, most of us have “champagne taste on a beer budget”. What do I think gets lost in the equation? Not the dollar amount spent and gained but the reality of “living” in the home and how it affects you and your family physically and emotionally. Step back for a moment and don’t get caught up in what colour, what style, how much you want to spend, but really look at your commodity for what it is: a home. The basic elements of shelter, heat, food and nurturing take place in this one space. What do I want from a home? A place to walk in and feel I belong, be safe and where my family and friends can feel relaxed. This is the value of my home. When you are renovating, decorating or purchasing furniture all the above needs to be considered. Now I know I am getting all fuzzy-wuzzy and esoteric on you but doing up a home as opposed to doing up a place to sell has many different considerations. Each room needs the consideration of what you want it to do emotionally and physically and this helps with the decision process that follows of working out your colours, design etc, which in the end leads to making a connection to your home. I don’t take a lot of holidays and I work long hours so it is important for me to have a place that I come home to and feel happy. This is always my starting point when decorating or designing a home for someone else. When the renovation is done and the client is in love with their home – you can’t put a price on that.
GETTING THE JOB DONE
FINDING RIGHT BUILDER
Building or renovating a home requires a lot of time, money and emotional investment So from the outset it is crucial to employ the right people for the job. One of the best ways to find a builder is to ask your friends and colleagues about their experiences. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few builders or contractors, you can start requesting quotes. Getting a good quote is the first step towards getting the job done right, under budget and on time. It’s also the time to decide if a builder is right for you and your project. While the cheapest quote might be most attractive to your hip pocket, it is not necessarily the best. Choosing a builder who is experienced in the type of work you
want done may be cheaper in the long run, even if it takes a few months longer for your dream home or renovations to materialise. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want and be as specific as possible with builders. Take your time and plan carefully, as variations to the contract will cost you time and money. Once you are happy the quotes cover all your plans and requirements, take a look at each builder’s previous work and, if possible, speak to some of their past clients about their service. It’s important to feel comfortable dealing with your builder. Ask them about their views on customer service
and possible delays, but make sure you are realistic about current timeframes. Whether renovating, extending or building anew, the most important decision is choosing the people who do the work. Selecting the right builder can be the difference between reward and regret. Thankfully some methods for weeding out the cowboys can make life far easier. Firstly know your needs. Builders are not all the same. Some firms will specialise in starter homes or specific styles, even small properties or multi-million dollar homes.
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WHEN IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION
DO IT: Consider what you want before launching a DIY renovation. PHOTO: HALFPOINT
TIME TO RENOVATE? Tell tale signs prompt owners to take matters into their own hands
IT MAY not seem like much: a growing problem with mould, failing plumbing or a kitchen that isn’t functioning well, but Home By Belle renovation company owner Sarah Comerford says issues with the home that start out as small inconveniences might be an indicator it’s time to take action. “The main reason people choose to renovate is if something is outdated, so kitchens and bathrooms are
usually the first to go,” she says. While many people are excited about renovating, others are forced to – and often are not happy about it. “It might be because there’s some sort of damage – a big one is in bathrooms with leaks,” Sarah says. “A lot of people who come to us didn’t choose to renovate but have been forced to and it is mainly from some sort of damage.”
If you recognise your place in our list of problems, it might be time to call in the builders. MOULD IT LOOKS bad, it can make you sick and it can take considerable effort to remove, so it’s little wonder mould can be the catalyst for a renovation. Sarah Comerford says there’s no quick fix for mould and you really need to find the source of the problem to deal with it effectively – and if the problem is severe, that can involve calling in professionals. WATER DAMAGE WHILE dated tiles in a bathroom may be something you can live with, water damage will make the need for a renovation much more urgent. Sarah Comerford says leaking showers are a big problem and lead to water damage in adjoining walls and the floor below. Although sometimes it’s as obvious as a leaking shower, the signs —and the damage —are not always so clear. BAD LAYOUT WHEN homes were built in the past, they comprised a collection of separate rooms, with kitchens separated from living spaces. Today, however, an open-plan layout is a common renovation request, particularly as people want to link their kitchen, living space and dining area. A DATED KITCHEN IF YOU feel like you can’t live another day with a canary yellow bench top and your kitchen cabinets fall off their hinges when you open them, then it might be time to renovate. Kinsman Kitchens marketing manager Carla Madgwick says an unworkable layout can drive you to distraction, especially if it doesn’t conform to the optimum “work triangle” design.
LEARN THE LINGO
LEARN TO SPEAK REAL ESTATE LINGO How to talk the talk with property professionals NEED to brush up on your real estate lingo? Here’s the lowdown on some of the most commonly used real estate terms used by property gurus: Chattels: Removable items such as a washing machine. These items are not included in the sale unless specifically listed. CMA (comparative market analysis): A list of recent sales – generally from neighbouring or similar properties – which assists both agent and owner to determine the correct price. Easement: An easement basically enables another person to use the land. The most common easements are rights of way and drainage easements. Encumbrance: An interest or right in real property that may diminish the value of the land, but does not prevent transfer of ownership. Encumbrances include covenants, easements or
caveats. Equity: This is the difference between the actual value of a property and any loans that still have to be repaid on the property. Exclusive agency: Where one agency is appointed to sell the property. Sole agency: Where the owner or the appointed agent may sell the property. Open listing: Where multiple agencies or the owner may legally sell the property. Fixtures: This refers to items that are fixed in a way that they cannot be independently removed without damaging a property. Pool equipment such as a pump is a fixture, while a Creepy Crawly is not as it can be detached. If these items are included in the sale they should be listed separately. Inventory: This refers to items that are included in the sale of the property (for example, furniture and furnishings).
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