Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

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Taking up where I left off – Back where it all began 1 year ago – Reno/Property Numero Uno! Simpson St, Wellington. Regional NSW: where the men are men and the women drive utes.

So I was back at the property because we had a tenant move out. Sadly it was left it in a bit of a state. It needed a general clean up - carpet steam clean, a run to the tip, pest exterminator, and a few minor holes in walls to be fixed up.  Nothing structural! Bond you ask? See learning lesson #1

Learning Lesson #1 – Don’t bother self managing your rental property ;)

I’ve read some shocking stories relating to bad tenants and thankfully it wasn’t too bad.  As far as self managing  goes, I think it can work for some people, but for us it’s just a bit hard when your 500kms away. Dad & I both agreed its just easier to let the real estate handle the rentals. Sometimes in life you have to put your trust in people who are doing this sort of stuff day in day out, and besides I couldn’t find a DIY YouTube clip on “how to self manage a rental property”.

Another positive about being back out in Wellington was it gave me a chance to get a feel for how the town is doing, speak to the locals and have a chinwag with the real estate agents. I was amazed at the difference from the last time I was out there in January (renovating property 2 & 3). Driving around the streets there were a lot of empty shops and not much happening around town. 7 months on and the place feels like its had some life pumped back into it. Many more shops open, lots of people buzzing around town and just an overall vibrancy.  

After speaking to locals and RE agents there’s a lot of talk of mining prospects that are about to get off the ground. 

Just how much benefit the town will have from the mines, is something that only time will tell. As I’ve said previously, our strategy was to purchase properties that are primarily cash flow positive. If this mine helps the town and house prices, then bonus.

So after 4 + days in Wello catching up with the locals and sorting out the house, it was time to head back to the big smoke for my “normal” life.

Before I signoff, I thought I’d reminisce about that 1st reno that almost sent me crazy! The Reno from Hell!  The 2 x week 5k reno that became a 2 month 20k debacle!

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

The Tool Room/Bedroom – I had borrowed a lot of tools from Friends for the 1st Reno (Cheers Damo, Jase & Dan). I had to guard these with my life.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Cheers. Me and my mate Mr Arman. Dinner for 2

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

My friend Brett was shocked to say the least when the neighbour decided to hack up a kangaroo on his wheelie bin next door (with his 4 year old looking onJ)


Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Lyle “the Roo Shooter”. Next door neighbour. Everyone out in the country at least have a mini chainsaw.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Some of the destruction. This was getting rid of the bathroom. We expanded that room to create a study or small 3rd Bedroom.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

“Michaelangelo” (Dad)

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Outdoor shower – After ripping out the bathroom this was one of the many alternatives to showering. “Urban Reno Survival” Bear Grylles style!

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

A hard days work for not much pay. Junior Enterprise bargaining.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Delicate renos 'country-style'. Yes, that’s a chainsaw and yes that was my brand new flooring.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Me hard at work on the new bathroom ceiling.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

Small Victories. A freshly tiled and grouted Laundry.

Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw

My temporary office. Trying to run my business back in Sydney wasn’t easy out there. Vodafail.

A professional photographer and now avid renovator, Duane has made fast work of starting small. His first purchases were nicknamed ‘El Cheapo’ and ‘El Dumpo’, but he’s moved on to bigger projects as he and his father/investment partner explore joint venture and development projects. From his home base in Sydney’s Maroubra, he splits his time between eyeing photos and property deals.

You can also read our profile of Duane here.

Top Suburbs : wentworthville , collingwood , millner , canterbury , spearwood

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2 Responses to "Duane Robinson: Renovating with a chainsaw"

  • Madeline Lu says on 19/09/2012

    Great photo's. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Glenn Robinson says on 03/01/2013

    Sheesh bro, good effort, and great little article. Shame about your painter though, you must have paid him peanuts, haha.

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