our-portfolio

Renovating in Woodridge, Queensland

By Phillip Tarrant
Woodridge property investment

As a journalist I’m always looking for an angle for any piece that I write. It gives the article sizzle, strikes emotion and draws a response. It’s the key to all good journalism.

But I’m in a bit of a quandary with this most recent instalment of Our Portfolio.

You’ve no doubt been following the last few months, where I’ve been discussing the purchase and proposed renovation of our latest property in Woodridge, Queensland – a suburb of Brisbane within Logan City.

This property checked all the boxes in terms of our investment strategy. It was under market value in a growth area with demand for rental accommodation; it also gave us the capability to undertake a cost-effective renovation to elevate both the rent and capital value of the property.

It couldn’t be better really. We also lined up a contractor who was happy to undertake a fixed-price renovation, which could be overseen by our buyer’s agent as well as the renting agent we will place the property with for management – and who already has tenants lined up to move in!

The problem I’ve got is that the whole project has gone immensely well – so smooth that it makes me a little nervous that something must rear its ugly head at some point.

Most of you will agree this is an excellent outcome – and I am with you 100 per cent. However, it has got me a little stuck in trying to find an angle for this particular article.

I don’t want to bore you with an article about how easy it has been, but you know what, that’s probably the angle I need – preparation pays off.

Fortune favours the prepared

Having checked in with our project team just before writing this, I’ve been informed all that’s left to do is to paint the final coat of enamel around a few door frames and to do the final clean of the property, ready for tenants to move in.

The problem I’ve got is the whole project has gone immensely well – so smooth it makes me a little nervous that something must rear its ugly head at some point

 

It’s actually been a seamless process all the way from the initial location and purchase of the property, through to scoping out the renovation and actually undertaking the project. So why was it so straight forward?

It has to come down to preparation and experience. We’ve got quite a few of these projects under our belt now, and we have a pretty good track record in scoping out a reno and getting the job done.

Like most things in life, the more you do something the better you get at it – and this particularly holds true with property investment.

However, I haven’t done it alone. I’m fortunate to have a solid team around me, including our buyer’s agent, Steve Waters, who not only acts as a sounding board but is also very hands on. The whole team assists where they can to support us with contacts, access to their network of tradies and other suppliers, and to also provide resources on the ground.

If there was one tip I’d offer any investor, it’s to trust the people you partner with as you grow your portfolio, and to leverage their skills and expertise. With that said, trust is something that is earned through shared experiences and successful project outcomes. When choosing your partners you need to do your due diligence, get testimonials from other clients and understand what services you’re purchasing.

You also need to make sure you don’t burn relationships. Remember, while you are a client and you’re providing a fee for their services – whether it’s your accountant, buyer’s agent or tradies – the fundamental driver of any relationship is trust and respect.

People like doing business with people they like. So build rapport, don’t take take take all the time, and show that you appreciate the work they put in – you’ll find that it delivers more successful outcomes. And this is exactly the case with this project in Woodridge.

The reason for the project’s success is team work. By working together, with everyone aware of their role and function, the project has gone exceptionally well.

If I was going to go looking for problems or challenges we’ve encountered – or where we could have done better – I’d need to dig pretty deep, although a few things could have gone a little smoother.

It’s taken just three weeks to get the job done – a little longer than originally envisaged, but tradies being tradies you’ve got to expect a few delays every now and then.

People like doing business with people they like – build rapport, don’t take take take all the time

 

I’m happy to wear the cost of another week or so in mortgage repayments should the tradies take a little longer because I know they’ve got good attention to detail and the work they’re doing won’t need to be touched for some time to come.

Nevertheless, it goes to show that projects do typically extend beyond the original planning period and it’s worth being prepared. While this was a fixed-price contract, the additional time taken, albeit small, has cost us a few hundred dollars in mortgage repayments that should have been covered by a tenant.

Another issue – and one that was unforeseen before demo work began – was that we had to replace the hot water system, which was completely unserviceable, adding another $660 to the reno costs.

We also found that after completing the reno – including flooring, kitchen, bathroom, new school house light fittings over the existing bayonets in the bedrooms and a full paint throughout – the fluorescent lights in the kitchen and lounge room did not fit with the rest of the renovated house. We decided to install two new track lights to replace these, adding another few hundred bucks in time and material.

Renovation results

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have seen The Block, or the million and one promotions surrounding it over the last month or so.

I love anything to do with property and it’s a good show – lots of drama, personality clashes and the like. The actual premise of the show is pretty good too: converting an under-realised asset into a marketable property to be sold at auction.

I feel the dollars thrown at these kinds of projects are unrealistic for the common and garden investor. So too is the scope and focus of the renos undertaken.
High-end fit-outs will appeal to the right target demographics, and the properties on The Block typically get a reasonable price at auction. The point I’m making here is those properties are renovated for a particular market, at a particular price point.

This is an important point. To undertake a similar renovation on a property in Woodridge, you’d simply be throwing money out the window. All too often investors over-renovate properties and spend far too much on luxury ¬finishes when they’ll never get a return on their investment.

Putting a $20,000-plus kitchen into a $145,000 property – which is what our Woodridge property cost – would be crazy. So too would be spending upwards of $20,000 on a new bathroom.

You’d never get your money back in a valuation or at the time of sale, nor would you elevate the rent to a point to justify the cost; there is simply no market demand for rents that high in Woodridge.

We spent just over $11,500 on our renovation, including our new hot water system. It was a cheap renovation, but you can see from the pictures the end result doesn’t look cheap.

We could have spent less on this property if we were just trying to ‘tart up’ the existing bathroom and kitchen to elevate the rent by about $20 per week, and buy us a few good years before needing to undertake a more significant renovation.

Instead, we opted to spend the money straight after purchasing the property – while it was vacant – to improve the whole property, including a new kitchen and bathroom.

This doubled our renovation spend but we’ll see that return on investment immediately.

Our agent has tenants organised who are due to move in very soon, paying $280 a week in rent.

Appraisals have also come back strongly with a conservative price point of between $180,000 and $190,000 – a stellar result for the property, considering the original purchase price of $145,000 plus renovation expenses.

Undertaking a project like this has reminded me how much easier it is to renovate a unit rather than a house – simply due to the limitations in work that can be tackled.

As a strata unit, most of the exterior is looked after by the body corporate; there are also limitations in the degree of structural works you can undertake, meaning most unit renovations are usually just cosmetic.

Looking back over this project – our first interstate renovation, and a property I’ve never actually seen – I’d advocate the process of long distance renovating.

With the right team, tradespeople, strategy and oversight it is possible and can be very successful.

Would I do it again? I sure would. Actually, we’re just working on our next purchase in Brisbane, which I’ll share with you next month! Remember, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or would like any further details on this project.

Renovation in action

Kitchen
New kitchen installed, including overhead cupboards, sink and sink plumbing, splashback tiles, under bench oven and hot plates

Bathroom
Completely retiled and a new vanity and shower glass installed

Hallway/lounge
Louvre doors to the linen press in the hallway replaced, walls painted, and flooring replaced with the same tiles throughout the unit. Curtains replaced throughout

Laundry
Old wall tiles replaced, walls painted and flooring replaced with the same tiles as the rest of the unit

NEWSLETTER
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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”.  He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How to profit from changing market conditions
Quit the 9 to 5: Taking control of your income and your career
4 tips for first time property investors

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Sydney
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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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