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Seven Deadly Sins Of Renovating – Common Mistakes That Will Kill Your Profits And How To Avoid Them

If you are thinking about renovating your home or investment property (for profit), then I’m sure you want to know all of the risks involved and do everything in your power to avoid them.




If you are thinking about renovating your home or investment property (for profit), then I’m sure you want to know all of the risks involved and do everything in your power to avoid them.

Like me, I bet you hear stories all the time about how people have lost money on their renovation – they spent too much, they took too long, the property didn’t re-value up or sell for what they had anticipated… or all of the above.

In addition to the negative stories out there, there are plenty of happy endings. I’m sure you’ve read about these in magazines and seen examples at seminars etc… But what’s the difference between a renovation success story and a renovation nightmare?

What do the successful renovators do that the others don’t?

The answer is that successful renovators know the 7 Deadly Renovating Sins. And they know how to avoid them.

Deadly Sin 1

Not knowing that if you know your target market, you can make your property invaluable to them and create enormous demand (= more $$!)

A smart renovator will identify their probable target market and renovate their property according. This is true whether you are selling or renting your property out.

If you don’t know who your target market is, talk to local real estate agents or property managers to find out. Also consider what facilities are nearby to your property so you can ascertain the types of people who might buy or rent there. Are there day care centres nearby, high schools, churches, public transport or shops?

Your target market might be first home buyers with small families, professional couples (DINKys – Double Income No Kids), retirees, students or large families with teenage children. Often it’s hard to define who your target market is going to be, but it is worth the effort – even if you need to cater to more that one of these groups.

Next thing we want to work out is – what do these people want? How do they live? What sort of home are they looking for? Think of how your target market lives day to day and do your best to cater to those needs.

If you are simply re-valuing, then this concept is not particularly likely to increase the valuation.

However, if you are selling or renting your property out, then getting your renovation right for your prospective buyer or renter, will result in hot demand and a faster, easier and more profitable transaction.

Deadly Sin 2

Copying the ideas, colours and concepts from other people’s renovations, thinking it’s the right thing to do on your property too

This is a classic mistake! You’ve seen the shows on TV and thought –“mmm that looks great; I’m going to do that to my property”. Or you’ve seen a friend’s house and you’ve asked for the paint colours and got their advice on what to do on your property. Or you’ve been to a seminar or read a magazine article to gather inspiration – and found a few interesting ideas and concepts to use.

Am I right?

Unless you’re a trained designer, then I’m 99% sure that this is how you’ve got your ideas together for your own renovation.

However, this is NOT the best way to plan your renovation. Your property is no doubt different to the one you’re planning to copy – a different style probably, a different location, a different budget, a different target market.

A different set of rules from what will make your renovation a success.

My point here is that you need to look at your property in its own right. Copying other people’s renovation ideas can lead to disaster if you’re not careful. For instance:

  • Using the wrong colours on your property. Even if a particular colour looked great in a magazine or on a friend’s property, it may not be suitable for yours. Be careful not to waste all that money on paint and materials in colours that are simply not right for the job.
  • Renovating parts of the property that will not add value to YOUR property (even if it added value to the one you’re comparing to). This is the easiest way to over-capitalise – spending money where there is simply no return.
  • Making renovating and design choices that don’t suit your property – and therefore spoil and devalue it. I see this a lot – where people suddenly become ‘master designer extraordinaire’ (sorry, excuse the sarcasm!) and add design features that simply make the property look worse, not better. Instead of asking for help, they waste their time and money on ugly, unsuitable features that offer a negative return.

Deadly Sin 3

Not spending the TIME on planning your renovation.

Unless you have a clear plan to follow for your renovation, you will over-spend and you will take longer than if you did have a plan. Simple as that.

Time-poor people often fall in to this trap. Struggling to do their day job and then trying to plan and co-ordinate their renovation often spells mistakes and ultimately loss of profits.

You’ve no doubt heard the expression “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail”. And this is true for renovations as well.

Without an item-by-item list of what you are going to do to your property, how can you expect to:

  • Create a great looking property that is cohesive in design?
  • Get accurate pricing before you start?
  • Thoroughly plan the implementation?
  • Monitor your renovation progress and keep your trades-people on task?
  • Enjoy a smooth flowing renovation

When you have a clear plan in place there is no confusion, no fluffing around and no arguments about what you need to do to your property for the greatest financial return.

In particular, spend as much time as you can on:

  • Working out exactly what you will do to you property to improve it most effectively (see Deadly Sin 2)
  • Getting pricing on the things you decide to do to your property (that will add the most value within your given budget) (see Deadly Sin 4)

Deadly Sin 4

Not working out your renovation budget BEFORE you start

Mostly, people decide what improvements they want to make to their property and then get quotes on those things.

However, you must do this the other way around. Work out your budget first and THEN figure out how you are going to improve your property within that dollar value.

There are a number of schools of thought about how much to budget, but I like to work on approximately 7-8%.

So, if your property is valued at $500,000 you should aim to invest $35,000 – $40,000.
If your property is valued at $300,000 you should aim to invest $21,000 – $24,000.

Of course, these numbers are not set in stone.

For instance, I would increase that amount if the property is in a good growth area. And I would decrease that amount if the property is not in such a good area. And if you’re planning on a structural renovation then this value would need to increase significantly.

You can also decrease that amount if you are experienced. And increase that amount if you are inexperienced to allow for overspending and errors.

The bottom line is you need to know your numbers before you start renovating – then fit your renovation specifications within that budget.

I never ever advise a client or start a renovation of my own before knowing what the budget is – and I suggest you make this a rule too.

Deadly Sin 5

Not knowing what things cost.

This is the number one way to over-spend on your renovation. How can you work out which things to do within your budget if you don’t know what things cost?

If you under-estimate the cost of your renovation based on the list of ideas you’ve come up with, then disaster will strike. You will spend more money than you anticipated on your renovation and end up making no money.

Or, if you over-estimate the cost of your renovation, then you kill the feasibility of the project before you even begin.

Be extra careful when calculating your expected costs and spend a good portion of time on getting accurate pricing from suppliers and trade-people. Then prioritise doing those things that are going to make the biggest difference to your property within your pre-set budget.

Deadly Sin 6

Taking too long to renovate your property (and wasting money on unnecessary extra mortgage repayments).

Let’s face it, you would rather have your renovation completed much sooner than much later. No one wants a renovation to chew up more of their spare time than necessary.

Not only will a renovation time ‘over-run’ take up more of your personal time, it will eat up a fair chunk of your profit in unnecessary holding costs (unless you are living in the property yourself).

Having a clear action plan is essential for completing your renovation on time:

  • Know exactly what you are doing to your property and can plan in advance accordingly
  • Get accurate pricing from trades-people and product suppliers up front so you know your renovation will come in on budget
  • Pre-order materials and products so they are ready when you are
  • Buy everything at once to get considerable discounts
  • Start work on the project without a hitch
  • Minimise the amount of one-on-one communication necessary with each trades-person. With a clear renovation plan written down, everyone will be working to the same ‘script’ and therefore minimise gaps and over-laps which will cost you mistakes and loss of profits. Print your Renovation Action Plan and leave it on site for all trades-people to refer to
  • Experience a stress free renovation that finishes on time

Deadly Sin 7

Thinking it’s better to save money than get expert help about what to do to your property.

Being a DIY nation and with so many renovation shows on TV these days, you may think that you have all the necessary skills to make your renovation a success.

If you could spend $1,000 – $2,000 in return for adding ten or twenty TIMES that to your property over and above the amount you achieve on your own – would you do it?

I often see people who will scrimp on the cost of a Hotspace Renovation Action Plan © or a “Borrow My Brain” session with me, but then go on to waste money on a half baked renovation (doing the wrong things, creating an amateur looking property, spending too much money etc.). In the end, they make much less money from their renovation than what would have been possible – just because they thought they could do it better without outside help.

Will that be you? Are you willing to believe our previous clients (see the testimonials page on my website here) and minimise the headaches, frustration and risk a renovation can present?

For 3 free eBooks and 7 renovating eLessons delivered to you weekly by email, go to my website and register –


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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