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Renovate your property without over-capitalising

Renovating your investment property – or any property for that matter – is an exciting and fun experience.




Renovating your investment property – or any property for that matter – is an exciting and fun experience. You’ve no doubt watched the home make-over shows and read about other peoples success stories in magazines and gotten inspired yourself. If you are considering a renovation you’ve probably started by thinking about ideas for your kitchen, bathroom, exterior, lighting, flooring etc… and looking at the products and colours you could pull together to create a more modern looking property.

This is a great start but renovating your investment property wisely is restricting and takes a lot of planning and self control. It’s not just about prettying up your property in the way that you might like it. And in fact this is exactly how you would go about over-capitalising on your renovation.

A smart property investor will make a plan right from the outset that purely focuses on how they will make a profit from their renovation.

If you think about planning your renovation enough in advance, you will even consider it before you decide on a particular property.

Renovating the right property could be the difference between making a profit and not. If you’re planning on a cosmetic renovation, then selecting a property that requires minimal ‘invisible’ work is essential. Invisible renovations include things like re-wiring a house, replacing a roof that you can’t see from the road, installing insulation or repairing general damage to the property. Cosmetic renovations that may or may not include small structural changes (for example building an interior wall to create a new room) have worked extremely well for me and the many many clients I have advised in the past. This is not the only way to renovate (you may choose to add a level or do even more structural work to your property) but it is a quick, low risk, reasonably low cost way to force value onto a property.

Choosing a property that you can perform minimal work on but that dramatically improves its appearance is of course, key. Some properties are just simply too expensive to renovate compared to the return you would earn. For the best returns on a cosmetic renovation, choose a property that is 15-35 years old and out of style/old fashioned (1970’s, 1980’s or 1990’s – and at a stretch 1960’s).

The next step is to work out the feasibility of renovating the property you’ve chosen. The best way to work out your potential profit is by asking real estate agents and scouring the internet to find out what other properties are selling for. Compare your property to others that are a similar style and size (number of bedrooms and land size) – especially those that have recently been renovated. If your property is currently worth $400,000 and other renovated properties are selling for $450,000, then you may not consider there is enough ‘fat’ in the project. However, if there are examples of properties that have sold for $480,000, you might consider this enough of a profit to pay you for your time, investment and risk.

When doing your numbers, an essential thing to know, of course, is how much your renovation is going to cost. The area the property is located in, the type of property it is and what you are planning to do with it (sell, hold short or long term, rent out etc…) will all go to deciding how much you should spend on it. When advising my clients about what exactly to do to their property to improve it most effectively, for the least cost, I typically work to a budget of 5-7% (of the property’s pre-renovation value). Using this strategy, on a property currently worth $400,000 the specifications I give them would be based on spending around $20,000 on the renovation. It’s very easy to spend over this amount, but believe me it is completely possible to stay within your prescribed budget – and avoid over-capitalising – when you have the right plan in place.

Once you know the cost of the property, the cost of the renovation and the probable end value of the property (re-valuation or sale price) then you should be able to make an accurate assessment about whether to go ahead with the deal or not.

I don’t believe that it is vital to know exactly what you are going to do to a property to know what it is going to cost to renovate. In fact, I tend to work in reverse as long as the property has good bones. I usually work out the renovation budget depending on location, property type and size etc… and then allocate my budget from there. Distribute your money around the whole property so that overall it is improved. It’s great to renovate the kitchen and bathroom but if you do nothing to the rest of the house (especially the exterior) then it could be money wasted.

Identify the worst parts of the property (not the areas, but the actual components within each area – such as kitchen bench-top and/or handles and/or splash-back and/or floors etc…). Then renovate just the components that need it. You do not need to use the ‘gut and replace’ method of renovating. You can select just a few key components to change – and done in the right way this will dramatically improve your property for minimal cost.

From the outset, keep a tight record of what you are going to do to the property. Your intention of course will be to stay within a particular cost parameter. However it can get tricky to stay on track once the day-to-day reality of the renovation kicks in. ‘Just’ $50 here and $20 there and another $60 here adds up before you know it. If you do not keep tabs on the variations that will inevitably occur you are likely to run over budget and risk over-capitalising. For this reason record keeping is vital. A simple spreadsheet will suffice – preferably on your computer so you can update it as necessary. Record on it what you are going to do (the exact specifications – product, colour, style name, dimensions etc…), who is going to do it and how much it is going to cost you. You should also keep tabs on when you expect things to be done since time over-runs equal cost over-runs usually. For example if your renovation takes two weeks longer than expected, then you’ll have two weeks of mortgage repayments you hadn’t budgeted on and that could be another $1,000 or more out of your profit.

Most of all, remember that as an investor, your renovation is a numbers game – and if the numbers don’t stack up then put your feet up and save yourself the hassle.


Five easy steps to boost the appeal of your home



painting tools

It is not an uncommon fact that a well styled and well maintained house is sold easier and quicker in comparison to the one which is dirty and not looked after. Supplementing the resale value of your property may sound like a difficult task, but in fact it is a very easy thing to do. We have highlighted some of the most effective tips that will help you in improving the value of your home.

1. Proper planning

It will get a lot more easier for you if you do things in a planned and organised manner. Make a list of all those things you want to change or upgrade. Go through the list and evaluate how much are the renovating and repairing services going to cost you and plan accordingly.

When you have made an arrangement, conduct a thorough research and converse with the companies that provide renovation services in Auckland to perceive what kind of return those enhancements may bring. A few changes will enhance your home pretty effectively.

2. Paint the walls again

Painting the walls of your property using neutral colours such as beige, tan, grey etc can instantaneously enhance the overall look of your home and thus its resale value. Newly painted walls will add vibrance and exuberance to your room and make it smell fresher.

Keep in mind about outside paint, especially if your current paint is chipped, peeling or worn out. An excessive number of colours could make the home to seem uneven as opposed to coordinated by a typical sense of taste. Pick not more than three shades for the exterior of your house.

3. Keep it clean

Think from the perspective of a buyer, if your home is available for purchasing, a brilliant and sparkly home can draw in purchasers like a magnet.

A perfect spic and span property can offer a lot of benefits at once. To begin with, you don’t have to worry about maintenance issues, it becomes easier to identify potential issues before they transform into costly expenses. Also, you don’t allow dirt and garbage to develop if you keep the cleanliness of your property up to date.

Think past your standard vacuuming schedule. Contract a company that can offer profound cleaning services. You may need to contract a different company to steam-clean the carpets, as not every single home cleaner offers this service.

4. Modernize your kitchen

On the off chance that your cupboards are in great condition however obsolete, you can enhance their appearance by applying a new coat of fresh white paint and replacing the pivots and handles. You could also procure contractual workers to replace the cabinets, while leaving the cupboards themselves intact.

Use Stainless Steel. The frosty feel of steel is a hot ticket for purchasers. Replace your equipment as it becomes outdated and pick a similar metallic look in your light switches.

Replace your countertop with granite, for it will supplement the overall look of the kitchen greatly.

5. Update your washrooms

Of all the rooms in your home, the washroom is the most used one. There is a lot of wear and tear and damage involved, so you need to keep it well maintained and make attractive updates if required.

Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can end up accumulating on washroom surfaces rapidly. Spruce it up with new grout.

Exchange your standard showerhead with a more noteworthy looking choice. Include a builder grade granite or marble ledge to your shower vanity at a moderately minimal effort point, as the material expenses won’t be too high.

In the event that your washroom is in good working order, these updates aren’t important. In any case, if your washroom is outdated with obsolete ledge with dings, chips and stains, replacing this could enable you to draw in a purchaser.

Last but not the least, it is advisable to take a proactive approach towards renovating your house by hiring a reputed company that provides professional builders who will do the job for you in a more efficient manner. There are a number of renovating companies in Auckland like Your Builder Ltd who provide such services at very reasonable prices.

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Maximising your outdoor living for year round use

Properties which are orientated to maximise sunlight are at the top of priority list for home buyers, according to So investing in an attractive, liveable outdoor space, with good flow between indoors and outdoors, is money well spent. Not only will it make your home feel more expansive, but it will also pay dividends should you decide to sell.




Properties which are orientated to maximise sunlight are at the top of priority list for home buyers, according to So investing in an attractive, liveable outdoor space, with good flow between indoors and outdoors, is money well spent. Not only will it make your home feel more expansive, but it will also pay dividends should you decide to sell.

What do I need to consider when creating indoor/outdoor flow?

Depending on the current layout of your property and how you intend to use your outdoor space, considerations will vary. However the consistent factor with all outdoor living areas in NZ is climate. While the summer months lend themselves to socialising outdoors, our inconsistent weather and varying temperatures throughout the middle of the year means your outdoor living space needs to work to combat these elements and minimise their effect.

Incorporate shade & shelter

It’s hard for a Kiwi to catch a break when we are trying to enjoy ourselves outdoors. We are either being roasted by our harsh sunshine, rained on by a passing shower, or blown away by random wind gusts. No matter what the weather – your outdoor space needs shelter. Fortunately you have a lot of options – including awnings, umbrellas, gazebos, pergolas and sails – depending on your budget.

Outdoor Heating Solutions

Outdoor heating allows you to get the greatest value out of your investment in an outdoor living space as it lets you utilise the area all year round. While there are many options the most cost-effective, energy efficient solution is roof mounted, electric heaters.  Auckland based outdoor heater manufacturer, Kelray Heaters produce a range of outdoor infrared heaters which are specifically designed for NZ’s salt-laden air.

Unlike traditional gas powered heat lamps which simply heat surrounding air, infrared heaters act similarly to the Sun’s rays, with heat waves being absorbed only by solid objects.  This makes them the most efficient patio heating solution.

Lighting your outdoor space

Outdoor lighting needs to be practical as well as decorative. By illuminating certain features of your yard such as paths, plants, ornaments and seating, you create an aesthetically pleasing night time environment.  The two main options for landscape lighting are 12V and solar powered each of which can be LED or halogen.  The solution you select will be based on the intended use of your outdoor area as well as any limitations.

When it comes to creating an attractive, liveable outdoor space in NZ the items highlighted above – shelter, heating and lighting, are really the bare minimum. When it comes to other considerations such as outdoor furniture and appliances, this really depends on what you intend to use this space for. Be sure to closely define what you want to get out of your newly created space, before undertaking any significant project.

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The Most Cost-Effective Renovations for Improving Property Values

No matter what they want to tell you, it’s not just ‘location, location, location’ anymore. People looking for new homes are actually looking at the home itself these days, not just where it’s located. The term ‘curb appeal’ took off in the 80s, and we all know about it, and yet particularly among new owners, using the concept is a challenge.



Location, Curb Appeal, Value for Dollar, Location. That’s more like it.
No matter what they want to tell you, it’s not just ‘location, location, location’ anymore. People looking for new homes are actually looking at the home itself these days, not just where it’s located. The term ‘curb appeal’ took off in the 80s, and we all know about it, and yet particularly among new owners, using the concept is a challenge. We’re going to make that a little easier — only we’re not stopping there, because prospects walk through a house, too. We need to add a little value inside the home as well with these cost-effective renovations.

Curb Appeal

Clean Up
We’re hoping that this is a no brainer for most of you, but just in case there’s someone out there who intends to rent out a property that’s exterior has junk laying around and the interior is cluttered with crap…don’t unless your goal is to be a slumlord. We’re not talking about construction materials, we mean whatever previous tenants left behind. If we can’t fit the debris in the back of a truck or the garbage men won’t take it, we’ll rent a dumpster. Now we have shown properties to tenants that we’re eager beavers to see them when they weren’t ready & on the market, and there are exceptions to every “rule”, but our goal is not to market a property until it’s cleaned up.

You don’t have to have an actual landscape to do some landscaping. Cut & trim the grass, add a few pavers or garden logs to define (empty) ‘planting beds’, and maybe some planters under the kitchen windows will do the job. The point, however, is that if you don’t take care of these basics, it looks like you don’t care about the house — and if you don’t, why would they?

This is the real ‘first impression’ — literal curb appeal is good, but the prospect is going to start looking critically at the home as they walk up. A fresh coat of paint on the front door and frame, some new address numbers, and (if relevant) some solid, good-looking stairs go a long way.


Now You’re Cooking
The kitchen is the heart and soul of the American home; most modern kitchens are designed to be used while hosting, with guests seated within sight and earshot. That means that some clean & matching appliances (no white fridge and stainless steel oven), scrubbed kitchen cabinets and counters, and no burnt out lightbulbs are the minimum. Be sure the paint on walls & ceiling, especially around the stovetop (where grease splatters), looks good. For a few hundred bucks you may want to put down a new floor – if you use peel & stick tiles don’t use the cheapest ugly stuff and be sure to use specific floor contact cement so they stay down and your new tenant isn’t calling and complaining after a month that the floor tiles are coming up! Make sure the kitchen is bright and inviting with light fixtures that aren’t just the cheapest you can find. Find a Habitat Restore or other resale shop for inexpensive, nice-looking used ones. Also be sure to address the area under the sink – if it looks crappy and dirty what’s a potential tenant going to think? For $20 we install a rubber mat that looks good, is easy to keep clean and protects the particle board base.

…and Giggles
The next area that draws an excessive amount of consumer concern is the bathroom. Like the kitchen, a few small changes can really turn a bathroom from a dingy place where you wouldn’t want to touch anything to a place you wouldn’t mind doing a crossword puzzle. A new toilet seat, fresh tub surround caulk and the cabinet mat we mentioned for the kitchen are easy to do. Going further, an updated vanity, light fixture and mirror shouldn’t cost more than a couple of Benjamins, but the value they add is huge.

Let There Be Light
The last great (cheap) home upgrade that will get your rental filled quick is brightening up the living areas. If you don’t have a massive window, add lights with daylight bulbs. Tip: don’t show a property with all the blinds/shades closed (unless you need to hide an eyesore next door). If the carpet is dingy, replace it with something light-toned (but not so light that it will make dirt stand out). A coat of paint slightly less ‘off’ and slightly more ‘white’ can help quite a bit, too. Some contrast is also good, so don’t paint the ceiling & trim the same color as the walls! Bright rooms feel like big rooms, and you can completely change the feeling of the living space for less than a hundred bucks if you play your cards right.

With these cost-effective renovations in place, you can make almost any home feel like a place you’d want to live — and if you want someone to live there, you should strongly consider doing just that.

This article has been contributed by RoyalRoseProperties – and found in a discussion on

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