07 Aug Top 10 reno tips – The Reno Kings. Part 2
In today’s show the Reno Kings – Paul Eslick and Geoff Doidge – give us their all time top 10 road-tested tips to get the most out of a renovation. Listen to Part 2 now!
Kevin: Earlier in the show, you’ll recall I was talking to Geoff Doidge and Paul Eslick, who are the Reno Kings. They’re giving us their top-ten renovation tips. Let’s continue that series now.
Geoff, let’s talk about adding something to a property. What about a carport?
Geoff: Now, we’re talking rental property here. The most important thing I’ve found for a tenant is a vehicle. Quite often, that’s why they haven’t bought a house, because they’re still paying off their cars. They love their cars. If you can appreciate that and protect those cars, then you’re ahead of the game. I’ve done this so many times now.
How you do it is you get a professionally engineered shade sail and put it up as a carport for a couple of thousand dollars. Make sure it is properly designed, none of this pulling a few ropes and those saggy, baggy sails that you bought from the local hardware store. Get it professionally done, and do it with tension. They have turnbuckles and so forth. Make it look really good.
Quite often, even if there is a garage, I put them up. People put their car outside and they use their garage for other purposes, maybe rumpus room or whatever. There’s no council approval, because it’s with shade cloth. It’s high-density shade cloth. In fact, it keeps most of the rain out. You might get a few drops through. So no city council approval. Check with the town planner.
You can actually do this over decks and other areas, as well. It’s just so powerful, adding a carport.
Kevin: What about a bedroom, Geoff?
Geoff: Well, you have to have a bedroom.
Kevin: Can you add a bedroom? Is it worthwhile doing?
Geoff: We keep on saying, “This is the best tip,” but this absolutely is the best tip because it brings you so much equity. If you go and look on any real estate search engine and compare a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom, you’re going to find a difference – depending on the suburb – of $50,000, $80,000, $100,000, just on that.
Now, when you’re going out and looking for property, have a look for a big combination lounge/dining room or a little area off a hallway. If you can put up two walls and a door, voila, you’ve got a bedroom. Just put a few electricals in there, a light socket, and your power point.
Normally, it would cost me about $2500 to do and be done in a day or two. They’re non-load-bearing structures, so no engineering required. Just make sure you use a registered builder to do it.
Kevin: Indeed. The other thing I want to talk to you about too, Geoff, and I know you’re a great believer in this, is actually bring the outdoors in or combining the two, just opening a house up like that.
Geoff: Yes, it’s a balance between what I was saying before when you’re putting a bedroom in. What you do is to compensate for using that lounge/dining room. If you can find a window leading to an outdoor area, any external window can be turned into a door, because it’s already supported over the top.
You basically cut down from the sides. You turn your window into French doors or just a normal door. Make sure it’s clear glass so you can look outside. You walk outside, even you have to walk down a couple of steps. Then you pave that area there. Put your shade sail over the top. Put a private fence around the outside. You’ve got a private courtyard. A private courtyard adds so much value. It gives you that indoor/outdoor look that flows through living area to the outside.
Kevin: Paul, I just want to get back to you, if I may. Some of the big-ticket areas, like kitchens, they’re well worth doing up, aren’t they?
Paul: Let’s put it this way, Kevin. If this room isn’t renovated, then the house isn’t renovated. That’s according to my better half. I wouldn’t fight her any day.
If the carcass is okay – and that’s what the door swings off, that’s what the drawers slide into, and that’s what the benchtop sits on – then don’t rip it out. What you have to do then is either replace the doors or paint the doors. You can paint them with a laminate paint. Change the knobs and handles on all the doors. That’s all you have to do. It’s very easy. They’re cheap as chips, $1.30.
If the splashback is of tiles, go and get some tile paint and paint the back of tiles. Polish the sink. Go and get some professional stainless steel polish, probably from a marine supplier. Go and polish that. What you can do then is just go and get a [5:01 inaudible]. You can get those for $30. Put that in there. All of a sudden, it’s going to look fantastic.
Put a new light in there. I like the circular fluoro lights. Give it plenty of light. The window furniture, just take the old-fashioned ones off. Open it up. I even like venetians, because you can let light in. You can see in. Also, at the same time, you have some security and privacy yourself.
Updating a kitchen, it’s a real expensive area, but if you go about it the right way, gee, you can make a lot of difference. I know of a bloke who spent $240 just using laminate paint, changing the window furnishing, and painting the splashback, and I think he increased the value of that kitchen by about $6000. That’s for $240. That’s the power of just doing a minimal on an area that costs a lot.
Kevin: Paul, what about that other big-ticket area, the bathroom?
Paul: That bathroom, I can tell you, that’s another area, if it ain’t renovated, then the house ain’t renovated. You have watch the costs in those areas. Of course, there’s a lot of plumbing in those particular areas.
What I do is if I go into a bathroom… If you had a house that was painted pink, would you demolish it? Would you get rid of it? You wouldn’t. You’d go out there and you’d paint it. So what? You go in there, and you repaint that funky pink bath. You paint it white.
You can get a professional in there or you can do it yourself. Lots of products out there. Go and Google it, have a look at it. Paint those yellow shower tiles with a white tile paint. It looks fantastic. Anyone can do it.
Destroy that shower curtain. I’ll tell you what, they are just disgraceful. Replace it with a clear glass shower screen, the 6 millimeter clear glass in a white frame will do. You don’t have to go frameless here, to cut down the cost.
Renew that vanity basin with a new covered one. Go white and go polymarble. It looks fantastic.
You can get a pan and cistern these days for about $139. Why get on your hands and knees and try and clean all that up when you can just go and get a new one? Make sure the old fitments fit into the new ones.
Open up the whole lot with a good paint job. Make sure you paint that bathroom white because of three things. It makes it BBC – it makes it bigger, brighter, and cleaner.
Kevin: I’ll bet too, Paul, that you and Geoff have been into many renovations, lifted up the carpet or the liner, and found those beautiful timber floors just waiting to be polished.
Paul: That happens all the time, doesn’t it, Geoffrey, with that sanding and polishing?
Geoff: Yes. Don’t do it yourself.
Paul: I’ve done the dance once, so I can tell you. You can hire a machine. You can hire the edger. You have to make sure you hammer those nails down. You can do the dance. I’ll tell you, after doing it for a long time, you only have to do two and you’ll never do it again, because you get a professional in. They can do it quicker, easier, and better.
I can tell you, the difference is that after you’ve done it, you really know the difference between the floors. You can have a look and just try a small section of the floor there before you do it to make sure it’s going to be okay.
Sometimes you get a lot of borers that are a quarter of a millimeter under the surface. Once you strip that first quarter of a millimeter off with the sander, it’ll expose that and it’ll look horrible. Sometimes you’ll go back to carpet. But if you test it and it looks okay, polished floorboards, man, don’t they look fantastic in a house?
Kevin: Wonderful stuff, guys, here. They’re top ten from the Reno Kings. Geoff and Paul, thanks for your time, guys.
Geoff: Thanks, Kevin.
Paul: Thank you very much, Kevin.