Renovation Update – #1 Planning our attack!

Renovation update - planning our attack

Wow, now this is exciting!  Our first renovation update!  Now you can watch along at home as we take on our first home renovation project!   Just to fill you in on the details:

Location: Traralgon, Victoria

Details: 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom

Purchase Price: $165,000

Positives: Large corner block with subdivision potential, generally good structure with no major issues (that we’ve identified yet!).

Negatives: Only a 2 bedroom with no real potential to get a third bedroom in without major work.

Plan: To do a cosmetic renovation on the inside and outside of the house then rent the property out.  In addition to this we will have plans drawn up and a planning permit submitted for a three bedroom house on the back of the block then subdivide and hold that property also.  So it’s a buy, renovate, hold, develop, hold!

The main issue that we face is our lack of experience in costing tasks, trades and materials.  We just don’t have the knowledge of how much  things really cost so much of our costing spreadsheet is ‘guestimation + contingency’!  This is why we’ve gone for a ‘little one’ to start out with.  We are considering this project our ‘practice house’ and don’t expect to really ‘make money’ on the renovation.  We’re employing people to do several tasks and hoping to learn from them along the way!  I think some  people will look at this project and say ‘why would you put in all that time and effort for such a small profit or equity gain’ but for us this project is all about us learning about costing, renovation process and of course practical DIY skills to take into the next, bigger, project.

So, to let you know where things are at for our first renovation update, basically, the house is due to settle in 4 weeks time, so we’ve been busy getting lots of quotes from tradespeople and are sourcing materials.  We’re trying to refine our massive costing spreadsheet as we go, which currently looks a little bit ugly in terms of expected renovation costs.  We’ve been very lucky to have access to the house, which is vacant, pretty much whenever we have needed to and so I’ve found that the best way to get our quotes done was for me to base myself at the property for a few full days and then just tell the tradespeople that I would be there from 10-4 or so.  This has worked really well and has meant that the tradies could just call in whenever it suited them within those times.

I must say, meeting with the tradies has been quite an experience too!  Some have been awesome and I could very much see us working with them and learning from them, whilst a few have just been awful – by that I mean incredibly unprofessional.  I’ll leave you with an example of a conversation I had with a person coming to quote on sanding and polishing the floors, this occurred after he had walked around and looked at the place for a few minutes:

Floor man: It’ll be ’bout a coupla thousand.

Me: So, is that based on a per square metre charge? (I’m asking this because I’m interested to know how he got to $2000 without even measuring anything).

Floor man: Yep.

Me: So then you’ll send me out a quote?

Floor man: It’ll be ’bout a coupla thousand.

Me: Oh, so that’s your quote then?

Floor man: Yep.

Floor man: I could send that out to you.

Me: Ah, no, thanks, I could probably just write that down then myself….


  1. John Hubbard says:
  2. Hi John
    Funny, because not that long ago I was looking into relocating a home and seeing if it would be a profitable venture, but then I moved on to other things and hadn’t thought of it in context of this project. That’s certainly worth a look into. Certainly the area that the home is in would suit a relocated home as most of the surrounding homes are quite old. I’ll do some investigations!
    We are also looking into some interesting options for getting a house built inexpensively, such as working with a local education and training institute.
    Thanks for the idea, have you done much of this yourself? Would love to hear about it.

  3. Oh Dear….that tradesman is scary…I have been caught before with a tradie giving a verbal quote on repairs to a rental property and than it blows out. Lesson learnt.

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