You’ve bought a renovation property, worked out your budget and timeframe, and you’re ready for action. There are two possible conclusions to the venture: it could prove a fun challenge, or an unmitigated nightmare. To prevent the nightmare, remember the following:
• Unless you have a very good relationship with yourself, your partner, family, dog, cat, and rabbit; you don’t mind mess; and you have the mental strength of a giant, don’t live in a renovation while you do it.
• If you’re harvesting fruit with your own labour, make it fun. Turn up the music and enjoy a bottle of wine while you work. (This is assuming that you’re doing it after work and on weekends, otherwise your liver might collapse before the job’s done.)
• Play to your strengths. Ask yourself, ‘Will it pay me more to do it myself, or hire someone who could do the work quicker?’ Recognise what you’re good at – perhaps finding things cheap; or talking a property up to a valuer – and get someone else to do the rest.
• Start by drawing up a wish list. Then go through it with your budget in hand and cross off everything you can’t afford.
• Remember sod’s law: sometimes things just go wrong. More often, things go wrong in older properties. The bigger the property; the bigger the problem. (Units are a relatively safe bet.) The odd hiccup’s never so bad if you anticipate it.
• Determine precisely how much you have to spend to add a decent amount of value. If you spend $20,000 and increase the value by $20,000, you’ve not achieved anything.
Let the renovation begin!