The 6 Things I Learnt From My Favourite Renovation Project

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Blog from Amelia Lee, The architect behind Undercover Architect:

 

Buying our second home came as a bit of a surprise. We were nearing the end of renovating our first home, and our first child was 3 months old. I dropped my hubby off at work one Saturday morning, bought the paper and checked out the real estate section. It was 2007, and you still looked at printed listings! I saw an open inspection on a house in our suburb that was on 810m2 – a large block – and no price. I was curious, so I went to have a look.

 

HOW TO BUY A HOUSE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

 

Twenty-four hours later, we’d made an offer on the place. It was a late 1960s brick home, with cork and carpet floors and every surface finished in an apricot colour (except where it was exposed brickwork). BUT it had great bones. It was located in a small cul-de-sac. The bulk of the yard, and the internal living areas, were to the north-east. The plan was simply laid out, with good size rooms, high ceilings, and there was an internal staircase to the downstairs garage. It just needed cracking open – internal walls removed in the living area and opening up to the garden, as well as a decent outdoor entertaining area, and modernising throughout.

 

CRAP – WE STILL OWN A HOUSE AND HAVEN’T FINISHED RENOVATING IT

 

Thing is, we weren’t ready to sell our first home. So we offered a 3 month settlement (the home was empty), and increased our offer to match the rent the owner would have received for that time. It was accepted, and we madly worked to finish off our first home, get it on the market and sell it. Its first open was super-busy, we had a contract on it that night, and sold very happily at the price we knew it was worth. We had $290,000 in equity to head into this next project. Not bad, given that for most of the time we lived there, our combined income was around $60K per annum, and we’d bought it with $10,000 to our name.

 

THE PLAN

 

Our strategy with this reno was to:

  1. have our mortgage structured as a line of equity, geared to 80% of the property value (purchased at $455,000)
  2. both work part-time over the course of the renovation, using our line of equity to pay for the work, and also live off whilst we renovated
  3. do most of the work ourselves, and manage trades where required

Of course things don’t always go exactly according to plan. These are the 6 things I learnt from renovating our second home.

To continue reading: undercoverarchitect.com/the-6-things-i-learnt-from-my-favourite-renovation-project/

Undercover Architect

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