New Zealanders love their properties and many of us seem to enjoy renovating. Given the cost involved though, renovation is not something to jump into lightly. The biggest mistake renovators make is failing to consider the needs and wants of their prospective tenants or buyers, says property expert Patrick Bright.
“When renovating for profit you must create a property that tenants want to rent and buyers want to buy,” said Mr Bright. You have to begin with the end in mind.” Some of those “ends” to keep in mind include:
Avoiding structural defects
If you have a limited budget (and let’s face it, most of us do) then it doesn’t make sense to spend that budget repairing structural defects that will be largely invisible to buyers/tenants. “The most common defects are sinking footings and water erosion under houses,” said Mr Bright. “Then there’s a sagging roof, sagging ceiling due to a wall being removed without an appropriate size hanging beam put in to hold it up, plus pest issues. These are all pretty expensive issues to fix.”
It makes sense that a property that has the right features, in a location with the right features, will be easier to rent or sell. According to Mr Bright, that’s the golden rule of renovating. “Considerations such as public transport, proximity of shops and having a good school in the area are very important when choosing a location,” he said. “The more of these you’re closer to the better as the property will appeal to a wider audience. Keep in mind you want to be “close” to them not “on top” of them or have them on top of you.”
It does help if your property stands out from the crowd – but remember that there’s unique and “unique. Which leads into…
“Don’t get sucked in by what’s trendy this month,” said Mr Bright. “You want the renovation to last for a good many years. So don’t go for a colour scheme, design or decor that will date quickly. Choose neutral palettes and avoid doing anything that is personal or what most would think is a bit ‘out there’.”
Parking and floor plan
Don’t forget the practicalities of living. A property needs to have a floor plan that works well – and somewhere to park! “A good floor plan is practical and functional,” said Mr Bright. “It allows an efficient flow of traffic through the property and it maximises natural light and takes advantage of the best outlooks.”
And of course, when renovation is on your agenda, ensure that you do your sums carefully. Also ensure that you shop around for your home loan. Small differences in both interest rates and features can make a big difference to the cost and efficiency of your loan.