Renovation How To $30k Budget

Property Details: Knights Rd Rothesay Bay
A 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom brick and tile standalone house, approximately 100 square metres, with a basement garage. The house is in a premium Auckland North Shore location, with stunning views of Rangitoto.
Objective: This house has been owned by Larry Robbins for 15 years, and with its popular location, has tended to attract stable long-term tenants, the last ones were in place for 10 years.
“We knew it had gotten shabby,” says Larry, “and asked our tenant to let us know when they next planned to go on holiday, so we could make some improvements. As it turned out, that suggestion encouraged her to give notice.” To complicate matters, Larry and his wife were overseas, doing volunteer service on Mercy Ships, the world’s largest charity hospital ship.
Clare Seed from Rentex Property Management, has managed the property for as long as the Robbins had owned it, so was charged with the project.  Her goal was to give the house a modern refresh, to bring it up to date with the current rental market expectations, and maximise the rental return. They wanted to ‘do it once, and do it right’, with a job that could be expected to last another 15 years.
Planning: In her property management role, Clare had overseen the odd bathroom tidy up or maintenance tasks. She began the planning of this project, with a view to gathering three quotes from each of the required tradespeople. She soon realised the scope of the task. “Honestly,” she admits, “In a very short time, I realised it was going to be just too hard.”
The quotes she did gather were confusing when she relayed them to the Larry Robbins, “Some were ridiculously high, but others were ridiculously low. We wanted to ensure a good standard of work,” says Larry.
It was then that she brought in Mark Trafford from Maintain To Profit, a company specialising in renovations and investment property maintenance. “We have completed over 600 renovations, averaging around 120 jobs per year. For this job, we had 12 different tradespeople on site at different times, so you get an idea of the logistics,” says Mark. “We submit very detailed quotes to our clients, you really need to know what work is included in a quote to be able to make comparisons.”
“It was great,” Clare says, “Mark gave me a flow chart of the process and we took it from there.”
On a project like this, down time between tenants is a significant cost to factor in. Mark’s team can complete a project like this in around three weeks. A scope of work, with a timetable is displayed in a central place in the house, so each tradesperson is clear on the timing. “This eliminates errors and clashes,” Mark says. “It’s important that each part of the process occurs in the right sequence.”

Budgeting:
From the first round of gathering information, it seemed that a budget of around $30,000 was a realistic figure. Everyone involved in the project was happy to report that budget was adhered to.
“This was a great project to work on,” says Mark, “in that we kept to the original scope of works. Many times budget blow outs are due to people changing their minds on things during the renovation.”
With major responsibility for the project with the owners absent, Clare Seed was mindful of the budget throughout. For instance, the house had ornate 1970’s metal door handles on all interior doors. “If it had been my property, I would have modernised those,” says Clare, “but they are functional, undamaged, and we just about had a full set, there was no real need to spend more money on new ones.”
This is another key point when renovating an investment property. It has to be a practical exercise, don’t get carried away with high end fittings, or modern schemes that don’t add to your rental return.
Review:
“Our Plan A for the renovation,” Larry Robbins says, “was to get a few friends over and splash some paint around. In reality, if we had done that, I think we would still be up to our ears in paint and rubbish. In terms of the time the house was off the market, the quality of the job, and the availability of my labour to do the work myself, bringing in the experts was a smart move, and it wasn’t much more expensive.”

Case Study: The Makeover at Knights Road.

Exterior: Owners gave trees a prune, cleared garden. Maintain To Profit painted back door and steps, front door and side panels in Ironsand colour paint. Total: $422.50
Renovation Home Truth: Tenants are no different from home buyers, Mark Trafford stresses, if the property isn’t appealing from the street, they will just drive by. If your budget is tight, take care of curb appeal details. Paint the fence, straighten the letter box, put clear numbers on it. Give the gardens a tidy, pare them back so that they are simple and low maintenance. “These are all things you can easily do yourself,” Mark says, “and needn’t cost a lot of money.”
Bathroom: The bathroom already had a modern acrylic shower unit which didn’t need any alteration. New fixtures were a bath 1670mm x 715mm with exposed bath mixer, 900mm vanity with basin mixer, and a new toilet suite. The vanity was positioned to allow space for a rubbish bin to be inserted, and a large frameless mirror made the room light and spacious.
Plumbing works total incl. Labour and Materials $3,650.00

Electrical Works:
Kitchen: The owners had bought a new oven, so the electricians on the project had to disconnect the existing oven and connect the new one. To modernise the kitchen lighting, the existing fluro light was replaced with a 4- bar spot light, and repositioned to the middle of the room.
Back in the bathroom, an inline fan was added and ducted out, with a new 7 minute timer switch added.  A new modern covered LED light replaced the existing light.
Hot tip: An extractor fan in the bathroom on a timer, ensures your new pristine bathroom stays mould free.
Throughout the house, any wall lights, such as the old fashioned bedside lamps were disconnected and made safe.  All light fittings were fitted with new batten holders, shades and bulbs.  Existing corner lights were repositioned to the middle of the room.  An original light in the dining room was removed, with a new 3 bar spot light installed.
Hot Tip: For all his projects Mark Trafford installs plain white plastic light shades, and basic bulbs. This allows tenants to replace them with fancy light fittings or different bulbs to their own tastes easily.
Electrical Works Total: Labour and Materials $2,183.71
Painting:
For the interior of the house, all rooms including the hallway and stairwell to the garage, were painted with 2 coats of interior paint after mould treating, priming, filling and repriming as required · The ceilings were scraped back and primed, with mould treated and painted with mould shield. The paint for the walls was applied over the existing textured wallpaper. Any tears or bumps in the wallpaper were repaired and sealed before being painted over.
Painting $8,456.25
Hot Tip: Removing the existing paper would have been a big job, costing up to $6000. Painting over wallpaper gives a modern textured effect.

Building Works: Existing kitchen cabinetry was removed, including an original breakfast bar, with an overhead storage cabinet, ready for new units.  The old bath, toilet and vanity were taken away.  Existing wall linings in the bathroom were removed, and replaced with new waterproof linings.  To install the new bath, boxing around the base had to be constructed. Total: $2,900.00

Kitchen:
The kitchen was the biggest job of the house, with a total redesign, to incorporate a dishwasher.
Renovation Home Truth: Dishwashers are becoming an expected feature in rental properties, worth a corresponding estimated rental increase of $10 per week.
In this kitchen the renovation included all new units:  3200mm x 600mm kitchen bench under the window, 2000mm x 900mm breakfast bar bench, cupboards and doors, new single sink and taps, fridge surround with cupboard above, a microwave unit, new pantry door. All units were done in white, with a laminate bench top. Dishwasher plumbed in. Inside of existing pantry painted to match rest of house. Splashback tiling completed.  Kitchen Works – incl. Labour and Materials $6,348.14

Heating:
Heatpump purchased by owners. Cost $2500 including installation.
Renovation Home Truth: A permanent heating source needs to be a top priority in any renovation, Tenants just aren’t prepared to live in cold, damp or draughty houses any more. “If you lined up ten lots of tenants, and gave them a choice of similar properties, one with a permanent heating source, and one without, I would bet money that all ten would choose the one with heating, and be prepared to pay a premium for it,” advises Barry Adkins, business owner of Quinovic Property Management in Mt Eden.
Flooring:
Neutral beige carpet throughout living areas and bedrooms, wood-look vinyl in bathroom. Cost?

Was it worth it? Final Numbers
House purchase price: $210,000. (Remember, this was fifteen years ago!)
Renovation costs: $30k
Weekly rent before renovation: $420
Weekly rent after renovation: $520

Estimated value before renovation: Mid to high $600 000s.
Estimated value after renovation: $800000 plus.
Yield: 11.2%Property Details: Knights Rd Rothesay Bay
A 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom brick and tile standalone house, approximately 100 square metres, with a basement garage. The house is in a premium Auckland North Shore location, with stunning views of Rangitoto.
Objective: This house has been owned by Larry Robbins for 15 years, and with its popular location, has tended to attract stable long-term tenants, the last ones were in place for 10 years.
“We knew it had gotten shabby,” says Larry, “and asked our tenant to let us know when they next planned to go on holiday, so we could make some improvements. As it turned out, that suggestion encouraged her to give notice.” To complicate matters, Larry and his wife were overseas, doing volunteer service on Mercy Ships, the world’s largest charity hospital ship.
Clare Seed from Rentex Property Management, has managed the property for as long as the Robbins had owned it, so was charged with the project.  Her goal was to give the house a modern refresh, to bring it up to date with the current rental market expectations, and maximise the rental return. They wanted to ‘do it once, and do it right’, with a job that could be expected to last another 15 years.
Planning: In her property management role, Clare had overseen the odd bathroom tidy up or maintenance tasks. She began the planning of this project, with a view to gathering three quotes from each of the required tradespeople. She soon realised the scope of the task. “Honestly,” she admits, “In a very short time, I realised it was going to be just too hard.”
The quotes she did gather were confusing when she relayed them to the Larry Robbins, “Some were ridiculously high, but others were ridiculously low. We wanted to ensure a good standard of work,” says Larry.
It was then that she brought in Mark Trafford from Maintain To Profit, a company specialising in renovations and investment property maintenance. “We have completed over 600 renovations, averaging around 120 jobs per year. For this job, we had 12 different tradespeople on site at different times, so you get an idea of the logistics,” says Mark. “We submit very detailed quotes to our clients, you really need to know what work is included in a quote to be able to make comparisons.”
“It was great,” Clare says, “Mark gave me a flow chart of the process and we took it from there.”
On a project like this, down time between tenants is a significant cost to factor in. Mark’s team can complete a project like this in around three weeks. A scope of work, with a timetable is displayed in a central place in the house, so each tradesperson is clear on the timing. “This eliminates errors and clashes,” Mark says. “It’s important that each part of the process occurs in the right sequence.”

Budgeting:
From the first round of gathering information, it seemed that a budget of around $30,000 was a realistic figure. Everyone involved in the project was happy to report that budget was adhered to.
“This was a great project to work on,” says Mark, “in that we kept to the original scope of works. Many times budget blow outs are due to people changing their minds on things during the renovation.”
With major responsibility for the project with the owners absent, Clare Seed was mindful of the budget throughout. For instance, the house had ornate 1970’s metal door handles on all interior doors. “If it had been my property, I would have modernised those,” says Clare, “but they are functional, undamaged, and we just about had a full set, there was no real need to spend more money on new ones.”
This is another key point when renovating an investment property. It has to be a practical exercise, don’t get carried away with high end fittings, or modern schemes that don’t add to your rental return.
Review:
“Our Plan A for the renovation,” Larry Robbins says, “was to get a few friends over and splash some paint around. In reality, if we had done that, I think we would still be up to our ears in paint and rubbish. In terms of the time the house was off the market, the quality of the job, and the availability of my labour to do the work myself, bringing in the experts was a smart move, and it wasn’t much more expensive.”

Case Study: The Makeover at Knights Road.

Exterior: Owners gave trees a prune, cleared garden. Maintain To Profit painted back door and steps, front door and side panels in Ironsand colour paint. Total: $422.50
Renovation Home Truth: Tenants are no different from home buyers, Mark Trafford stresses, if the property isn’t appealing from the street, they will just drive by. If your budget is tight, take care of curb appeal details. Paint the fence, straighten the letter box, put clear numbers on it. Give the gardens a tidy, pare them back so that they are simple and low maintenance. “These are all things you can easily do yourself,” Mark says, “and needn’t cost a lot of money.”
Bathroom: The bathroom already had a modern acrylic shower unit which didn’t need any alteration. New fixtures were a bath 1670mm x 715mm with exposed bath mixer, 900mm vanity with basin mixer, and a new toilet suite. The vanity was positioned to allow space for a rubbish bin to be inserted, and a large frameless mirror made the room light and spacious.
Plumbing works total incl. Labour and Materials $3,650.00

Electrical Works:
Kitchen: The owners had bought a new oven, so the electricians on the project had to disconnect the existing oven and connect the new one. To modernise the kitchen lighting, the existing fluro light was replaced with a 4- bar spot light, and repositioned to the middle of the room.
Back in the bathroom, an inline fan was added and ducted out, with a new 7 minute timer switch added.  A new modern covered LED light replaced the existing light.
Hot tip: An extractor fan in the bathroom on a timer, ensures your new pristine bathroom stays mould free.
Throughout the house, any wall lights, such as the old fashioned bedside lamps were disconnected and made safe.  All light fittings were fitted with new batten holders, shades and bulbs.  Existing corner lights were repositioned to the middle of the room.  An original light in the dining room was removed, with a new 3 bar spot light installed.
Hot Tip: For all his projects Mark Trafford installs plain white plastic light shades, and basic bulbs. This allows tenants to replace them with fancy light fittings or different bulbs to their own tastes easily.
Electrical Works Total: Labour and Materials $2,183.71
Painting:
For the interior of the house, all rooms including the hallway and stairwell to the garage, were painted with 2 coats of interior paint after mould treating, priming, filling and repriming as required · The ceilings were scraped back and primed, with mould treated and painted with mould shield. The paint for the walls was applied over the existing textured wallpaper. Any tears or bumps in the wallpaper were repaired and sealed before being painted over.
Painting $8,456.25
Hot Tip: Removing the existing paper would have been a big job, costing up to $6000. Painting over wallpaper gives a modern textured effect.

Building Works: Existing kitchen cabinetry was removed, including an original breakfast bar, with an overhead storage cabinet, ready for new units.  The old bath, toilet and vanity were taken away.  Existing wall linings in the bathroom were removed, and replaced with new waterproof linings.  To install the new bath, boxing around the base had to be constructed. Total: $2,900.00

Kitchen:
The kitchen was the biggest job of the house, with a total redesign, to incorporate a dishwasher.
Renovation Home Truth: Dishwashers are becoming an expected feature in rental properties, worth a corresponding estimated rental increase of $10 per week.
In this kitchen the renovation included all new units:  3200mm x 600mm kitchen bench under the window, 2000mm x 900mm breakfast bar bench, cupboards and doors, new single sink and taps, fridge surround with cupboard above, a microwave unit, new pantry door. All units were done in white, with a laminate bench top. Dishwasher plumbed in. Inside of existing pantry painted to match rest of house. Splashback tiling completed.  Kitchen Works – incl. Labour and Materials $6,348.14

Heating:
Heatpump purchased by owners. Cost $2500 including installation.
Renovation Home Truth: A permanent heating source needs to be a top priority in any renovation, Tenants just aren’t prepared to live in cold, damp or draughty houses any more. “If you lined up ten lots of tenants, and gave them a choice of similar properties, one with a permanent heating source, and one without, I would bet money that all ten would choose the one with heating, and be prepared to pay a premium for it,” advises Barry Adkins, business owner of Quinovic Property Management in Mt Eden.
Flooring:
Neutral beige carpet throughout living areas and bedrooms, wood-look vinyl in bathroom. Cost?

Was it worth it? Final Numbers
House purchase price: $210,000. (Remember, this was fifteen years ago!)
Renovation costs: $30k
Weekly rent before renovation: $420
Weekly rent after renovation: $520

Estimated value before renovation: Mid to high $600 000s.
Estimated value after renovation: $800000 plus.
Yield: 11.2%