Real Estate Development

“House Flipping” is the current buzzword, and it means to buy a house and renovate for profit. Our friends at Handyman Magazine have allowed us to share an excerpt from their May issue on how to renovate and sell within 10 weeks.

Thanks to all the home reno shows, buying and making over a house in need of TLC might look like a no-fail money-spinner.

Part-time property dabbler Claudine Novak knows the temptation well.

‘I bought my first house and made a bit of money when I sold it five years later. It gave me the confidence to think about renovating for profit.’

Find the Property

If you’re planning on buying into an area not known to you, spend time researching and make contact with local real estate agents. Check out the sales of similar homes over a period of time and be certain of your target demographic.

‘I buy in the area in which I live because it’s the market I know,’ says Claudine. ‘Some of the best advice I received was to make a detailed projection of costs before making an offer,’ she says.

Costs include purchase price, holding the property, loans, taxes, reno costs, and selling expenses. Being thorough and realistic prevents the bottom line coming as a nasty surprise.

Maximise the Investment

Claudine found her Victorian bungalow property after a lot of looking around. ‘It was good value for the area, so I jumped at it.’

‘The lounge room was small but I could see that opening the kitchen into the living space would transform the look and feel,’ says Claudine.

Another clever improvement for minimal cost was to raise the ceiling, adding to the expansive and bright feel of the primary living space.

First Impressions

Kerb appeal was improved with inexpensive fixes. The tiles were cleaned up and patched, the window trim and fence painted, and a bright new paved path led the eye to the newly painted front door.

The rear of the house had a lot of potential due to the size of the yard, so Claudine installed new sliding glass doors and added a deck.

The old pavers were lifted and replaced with turf to better suit the needs of a family.

Adding smart furniture and a pergola created a sophisticated entertaining area and highlighted the garden’s multifunctional appeal.

Skylight Solutions

It can be a good idea to brighten dark spaces with a simple skylight. A good rule of thumb is to choose a skylight equivalent to 10% of the floor area in size. Installation by a supplier should cost about $60 per hour.

Decorate and Paint

Decorate to present a classic canvas with a fresh, liveable feel.

Indoor paint colour choices depend on the amount of natural light. Use warm whites in darker rooms and cooler whites in rooms that receive lots of bright light.

Outdoor paint colours must tone in with neighbouring houses.

Flooring materials are subject to trends and the style of the home but most buyers prefer timber boards and light-coloured carpet in bedrooms is popular.

Neutrals are the colours to use when renovating a house to sell because they’re easy to match, inexpensive and let a buyer add their own style. They also make a space feel bigger. Avoid bland walls by adding colour and texture with accessories and art.

Things to look out for in a money-making project:

- Structurally sound and in good workable condition
- Good basic layout that will suit conversion to modern living
- Solid timber floors and/or period features
- The potential to create pleasant views
- Space to extend without incurring opposition and delays from neighbours
- Rarity value such as the location, architectural design, or landscape features
- Well-sited, preferably north facing, on a good street that suits the buying demographic

The full version of this article is published in May’s Handyman Magazine, available from Bunnings or by subscription on 1300 138 900 or