Renovate for Profit: Tips from a Real Estate Expert
Interview with Roy Landless, Property Consultant with Benade’ Helman Real Estate Agents (Wembley)
Parties: Rob Haynes (“RH”)
Roy Landless (“RL”)
RH: Roy, what is your background?
RL: I am qualified in Accounting and Finance. I worked in Business and Corporate Banking for 12 years however, I always had a passion for property.
Approximately 6-years ago, I left banking to start a career in real estate.
Personally (and with my family), I’ve built 5 houses, completed 2 subdivisions and 3 renovations.
RH: What types of properties are you selling and what suburb or location do you specialise in?
RL: Mainly north western coastal (Wembley Downs up to Hillarys)
The style of houses range from older character homes, to modern family homes, villas and townhouses.
I also specialise in land, specifically properties which can be subdivided. I often get involved with early approvals and have typically assisted with the sale, right through to completion of the subdivision.
RH: What is your typical client profile?
RL: It’s a wide range, from first home-buyers, upsizers, developers and investors.
I aim to help my clients grow their wealth through property investment, including buying properties to renovate, subdivide and sell.
RH: Do you have clients that renovate to make a profit?
RL: Yes. They can be owner-occupiers who purchase a property, improve it and live in it. Typically owner occupiers are seeking a comfortable home and the financial security of owning their own home.
I also deal with investors that purchase and sub-divide, renovate (where required) and rent the property out or sell it.
RH: What makes a property sellable/ what do you like see when you appraise a property?
RL: The answer to this can be really simple. At a minimum, the property should be well presented, clean, have lots of light and fresh air.
Vendors should also make an effort to make sure that the house is uncluttered and furnished so that buyers can walk through the property easily.
Gardens should be neat and tidy
RH: What makes a property suitable to renovate?
RL: Try to avoid lots of structural work as this can be costly. Attempt to find a property with a functional layout & a good connection between the indoor/ outdoor areas.
Always look for a property in a good location, specifically good access to transport and other amenities.
RH: What are the ‘cheap fixes’ that can be done to add-value?
RL: Small changes can lead to big differences. As previously mentioned, it is very important to de-clutter. Allow buyers to see your property, not be distracted by personal belongings.
Other cheap fixes are fresh paint, tidy the garden and make sure the property is clean and tidy.
Another hint that can make a big difference is to remove or replace older window treatments. The aim should be to maximise light.
RH: What type of major renovations are people doing to their properties to add-value?
The obvious ones that can add the most value are kitchens and bathrooms.
Other areas that can make a big difference are updated floor coverings.
It is also increasingly important to have functional outdoor areas, landscaped well and with good integration between the indoor and outdoor areas.
RH: How do you work out how much to spend on renovations?
RL: You should spend enough to improve the property without over capitalising.
Compare your property to recent sales of other renovated properties and if required get advice.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t spend any more than 7.5 - 10% of the property value.
RH: How do you work out the renovation priorities (kitchen/ bathroom/ laundry/ pool etc)?
RL: Definitely kitchen and bathroom first. Work in these areas does not have to be a major rebuild. It can be as simple as replacing doors, countertops, tap ware etc
Pools are often a personal preference. When thinking about outdoor areas, the most important thing is to try to generate flow between indoor and outdoor areas. Can be as simple as replacing windows with doors.
The most important thing is to create a good first impression.
RH: Any other general advice?
RL: Set a budget and control your spending by always getting three quotes.
Use light, bright, neutral colours to appeal to a broad range of people.
Don’t be afraid to use kit form kitchens and bathrooms. You can save a lot of money compared to custom designed, but make sure that they are installed professionally (even if you do the installation yourself)
Do lots of research and educate yourself.