Reno Focus: Out Doors

By
28/09/2017
Kitchens and bathrooms often secure the lion’s share of the renovation budget, and for good reason: they’re the most important and most often-used parts of the home.

But renovators can often spend so much time and attention on these rooms that they fail to make any upgrades to the exterior. 

The front façade and backyard are also very important parts of the home, as they represent both the first impression and the final word. In many homes, the backyard can be transformed into another living zone, which can add huge appeal and value to the property. But even if a deck or patio isn’t achievable, there are things you can do outside to add to the area’s appeal and functionality.

From a simple tidy and update to a full-scale backyard blitz, the following outdoor renovation tips and tricks should give you a dose of inspiration when refreshing your property’s exterior.

"The backyard can be transformed into another living zone, which can add huge appeal and value"



STEP ONE: HAVE A PLAN
It should go without saying, but having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how much you want to spend is just as important when renovating outdoors as it is when updating the inside of your home.

“Educating myself and having a clear plan of what I was going to do, and sticking to a strict budget, was key,” says renovator Danny Pavia.

“This helped me to ensure the work was done as quickly as possible while still achieving a quality result. This was very important, because every week that the house was empty was money that I was losing in rental return.”



STEP TWO: CREATE WOW FACTOR
The opportunity to set the space apart from the ‘average’ is what gives your property the wow factor. When sprucing up the exterior of the property, look for these opportunities to create maximum impact for minimal outlay.

For instance, you could install an outdoor fan and television set to create an external living room, or install a functional landscaping feature like a fire pit.

“The ambience a fire pit brings is worth the investment alone, providing an enjoyable feature for the garden and a natural gathering spot for socialising and entertaining. It’s a great focal point,” explains landscape expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador Jason Hodges.

 
Source: Adbri Masonry

TOP TIP
Be sure to have a plan for disposal. Those ripped-out shrubs and tree branches will quickly fill up a green bin, so if you’re planning a major garden refresh, consider hiring a trailer for a tip run.

STEP THREE: PRIORITISE THE FRONT DOOR
The quality of your front door is a strong indicator of how beautiful the rest of the property will be. So, put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and look at your front yard – would you stop in your tracks at the sight of the door to admire the view? Or would you immediately identify areas where it could be improved. For instance, are the hinges rusting? Is the doorknob tarnished? Maybe it needs a fresh coat of paint?

Sometimes, all that may be necessary is a good cleaning and polishing and you’re good to go. But if the tired, dated, peeling front door has seen better days, consider investing in a brand-new front door to create a solid first impression.




Source: huma.com.au

STEP FOUR: SHOP AROUND FOR SUPPLIERS
The golden rule when shopping around for any supplier is to obtain at least three quotes before making a decision. This gives you a good idea of what the job is actually worth in the current marketplace, keeping in mind that you may pay more in a busy or competitive area, where quality tradies are in short supply.

“Don’t be afraid to shop around,” Danny says. “I regret not shopping around a little more on the roofing, as after the work was complete I came across roofers who could have done the job for about $800 less. Lesson learned!”



STEP FIVE: MULTITASK
“Do your best to have all the tradespeople working on the property simultaneously,” Danny suggests. 

Having more than one tradesperson working at once – such as having your electrician wiring up the outdoor lights and fans at the same time as the new fencing is going in – will shave days (or potentially weeks) off your project, allowing you to get it back on the rental market sooner.

“Once our painter moved to the exterior, we got the roofer in to fix some holes and paint the roof, and at the same time our handyman came in to erect a fence and gate, to separate the front and back yards. By multitasking like this, we did the whole renovation in approximately three weeks, meaning we were able to get the property rented out as quickly as possible.”



TOP TIP
If you have no budget to work with, invest nothing more than your time and a few $5 bags of bark. A quick weeding session and a cover of bark will tidy up any garden bed nicely prior to inspection.

STEP SIX: CREATE CLEAR PATHWAYS
Unattractive pathways and driveways affect a property’s value more than you might think, because they can highlight the extent of wear and tear on the property. Buyers may wonder: if the outside is this tired, what is the rest of the home going to look like?

Fortunately, this is fairly simple and inexpensive to fix – after a thorough cleaning of the driveway or pathway with a high-pressure washer, a touch of paving paint can cover up imperfections. Lining paths with flora is another good way to beautify them, as it adds a pop of colour and vitality to a front yard. In grassed yards, you may also want to pave clear pathways towards the front door.

STEP SEVEN: SHED SOME LIGHT
The addition of a little outdoor lighting can brighten a property’s entire complexion. It makes the home feel more welcoming and approachable, and can also add a dash of sophistication, as a property with outdoor lights lends itself well to entertaining guests.

As an added bonus, lighting generates a strong sense of security for a potential resident – the presence of lights would deter many a burglar and make walking up to your doorstep feel safer.

Affordable solar-powered lights can be dotted throughout the garden, and they also make a beautiful feature when used to line pathways.



STEP EIGHT: REFRESH WITH PAINT
Even if a property has been maintained well over a period of time, the paint on its exterior will have been subjected to the strong effects of the elements, such as rain, sun and wind, resulting in chips, cracks and peeling. Over time, paint will also yellow, leaving an unattractive tint.

Repainting can go a long way towards making a property look shiny and new again by covering up these imperfections. Moreover, it’s a perfect chance for you to make over the property’s ‘look’ by applying a modern, vibrant, eye-catching shade that captures attention.

Rendering is another great way to add value to your investment property, if you can afford it; while many exterior renos can be achieved through DIY, it’s best to hire a professional to do the rendering to ensure a smooth, well-finished outcome.



TOP TIP

If you’re not sure how to approach a renovation job but you want to give it a go yourself, google DIY tutorials. Hardware stores like Bunnings also offer free in-store tutorials on a range of outdoor and gardening projects.
 
CASE STUDY
Outdoor reno boosts value and rent


BEFORE
  

AFTER


For Danny Pavia and his partner Brendan, renovating their investment property was always a matter of when, not if.

“My family have always instilled in me how important it is to own property, in particular investment properties, so as soon as my partner Brendan and I had saved enough money we went looking for our first investment property,” Danny explains.

“We did lots of research and found a suburb called Warilla, which is neighbouring a popular NSW suburb, Shellharbour, where we learned that plans had been approved for a $300m renovation to the local Stockland Shopping Centre – just a five-minute drive from the property we found. We decided it would be a great place to invest and renovate.”

After buying the three-bedroom property in November 2012, Danny and Brendan waited three years to build some equity before taking out a small loan to do some cosmetic renovations.

“We paid $275,000 for it and had it valued at $350,000 prior to the renovation, at the end of 2015,” Danny says.

“The reno budget was $20,000, but we ended up only spending $12,750 by shopping around and getting the best prices from various tradespeople. We did educate ourselves, enrolling in a course called ‘Cosmetic Renovation for Profit’, to learn from someone who was already experienced and had a proven track record. After completing the course, the first step was making a plan and budget, then shopping around for the best deals.”
 

Interestingly, the majority of that money was spent on the outside of the property, as the pair recognised the value in making an impact from the first look. A breakdown of the renovation spend included:

Even if a property has been maintained well over a period of time, the paint on its exterior will have been subjected to the strong effects of the elements, such as rain, sun and wind, resulting in chips, cracks and peeling. Over time, paint will also yellow, leaving an unattractive tint.

Repainting can go a long way towards making a property look shiny and new again by covering up these imperfections. Moreover, it’s a perfect chance for you to make over the property’s ‘look’ by applying a modern, vibrant, eye-catching shade that captures attention.

Rendering is another great way to add value to your investment property, if you can afford it; while many exterior renos can be achieved through DIY, it’s best to hire a professional to do the rendering to ensure a smooth, well-finished outcome.



Danny and Brendan had the property valued post-renovation; it was estimated to be worth $420,000, which was an increase of $70,000 on the pre-reno valuation 

“The exterior was just painted, but we specifically chose a paint that would mimic the appearance of render”




 

Disclaimer: All products and prices listed are correct at time of printing. The advice contained in this article is for genera information only and should not be taken as financial advice. Please make sure to speak to a qualified professional person before making any investment decision.

 

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