"But my strategy is to buy, renovate, refinance and hold for the long term. It’s just too hard to make money out of a 'buy, renovate and sell' strategy."
Four renovating lessons from The Block 2012: Michael Yardney
The Block was once again a hugely popular TV show. Three gruelling months of sleeplessness and renovations paid off handsomely for the four couples who, on the face of it, sold their terraces for substantial profits.
This will no doubt encourage a new generation of property investors to turn their hands to renovation.
But did they really make a commercial profit? The simple answer is no.
If you ran the renovations of The Block as a business and added stamp duty, buying and selling costs, interest for the holding period and payments for labour, there was no commercial profit in doing these renovations.
But then we know that reality TV is not “real life” don’t we?
The production company behind The Block purchased the four unrenovated terraces in South Melbourne for $3.8 million and would have then spent another $209,000 on stamp duty.
The contestant couples each had a budget of $125,000 to spend made up from cash and vouchers. Add to that the cost of labour, agents’ commission, selling cost and interest on the holding costs during the renovations and over the next few months until settlement and that puts the auction result in a different light.
Are renovations a good strategy?
But my strategy is to buy, renovate, refinance and hold for the long term. It’s just too hard to make money out of a “buy, renovate and sell” strategy.
So where do you start?
Here are four rules to follow to make the most of a "renovate-for-profit" property investment:
1) Determine the "right" purchase price.
Start by determining what the end value of the property will be when you have completed all planned works. You can do this by researching the value of similarly renovated properties in your area.
Once you have the end value in mind, draw up an initial project budget to calculate your approximate renovation expenses. You should also consider getting a building and pest inspection on the property so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, to help plan your budget accordingly.
Now, subtract all your costs from the end value, allow for a profit margin and this will give you a fair idea of how much you can afford to pay for your property in order to make your investment financially viable.
2) Be realistic with your budget
It's never as easy as they make it look on TV. And, funnily enough, the tradespeople never look as good as they do on the shows either. I am yet to encounter a tradesperson wearing neatly pressed overalls!
3) Consider the type of tenant you wish to attract
4) Don't get personal!
If you keep things simple and the decor neutral, to simply make the property liveable and functional, you can't go wrong.
Property renovating is not a licence to print money. It's hard work, if you intend to do it yourself, but it's a great way to increase your rental returns and manufacture capital growth in our flat property markets.
Michael Yardney is the director of Metropole Property Investment Strategists , a best-selling author and one of Australia's leading experts in wealth creation through property. He also writes the Property Investment Update blog.
Property Observer readers can download a free eBook on renovation and reality television.