Renovation with the 'X Factor' – Paola Tapia

Renovating is about transformation, and its limit extends to wherever your imagination is willing to take you. For instance, you don’t have to be boxed in by the idea that a residence is just a residence when you may be able to transform it into a commercial property with super-sized yields. Hear how Paola Tapia did just that.
Kevin:  This week, we released a podcast that details for you what’s inside the latest edition of Your Investment Property magazine. Go and have a listen to that. You’ll find it on the Your Investment Property magazine channel on Real Estate Talk.
I feature in that podcast, along with a chat to Sarah Megginson from YIP who is the editor, a chat that we had with Paola Tapia. Paola is featured in the latest edition in a special renovation feature. She joins me here now to talk about another aspect of that renovation.
Paola, thank you very much again for your time. I’m keen to talk to you about your tips on making sure that when we do a renovation, we don’t overcapitalize. In the article, you talk about the importance of shopping around, getting your hands dirty, and doing a bit of shopping yourself. How important is that?
Paola:  Thank you, Kevin. Yes, I believe that you need to be, obviously, very smart about what you’re going to be spending and what you want to be investing, which is really what it is, an investment. When it comes down to prices, you do need to compare, but obviously, you need to make sure first of all that you’re just working on the things that will make the difference.
For any property, you need to make sure that you do just stick to the things that are going to make the difference and will increase the value of the property. Look at each specific trade and see whether it is something that would be easy for you guys to do or just outsource to the best people who have the experience.
Kevin:  In the article, you talk specifically about some tapware, and there is an example inside the article where you compare two taps, one $619 and the other one $99, purchased at the same location but I would defy anyone to tell the difference. These are some of the things that you’re talking about, are they?
Paola:  When it comes to materials, yes, you can get things, but what I tend to do is just get good quality stuff if it’s going to be for a long-term investment. But yes, do shop around and compare different suppliers. I wouldn’t recommend to just go with the cheapest because obviously, then you have issues later on and if you keep the property, well, you’re going to have to pay more later down the track.
When it comes to more the actual team who would help you do the transformation, you want to make sure that they’re people who see your vision, who can work with you, and who can potentially, if you do have the time to invest into the renovation yourself, you can work with them.
It’s always easier to say “Yeah, I can do that,” but when it comes to actually getting the work done, you need to make sure that you’re going to get the same efficiency of someone who does it day in and day out. It’s just a matter of shopping around and making sure that you get the best bang for your buck.
Kevin:  We see a lot of television shows, renovation shows, where they do actually spend a lot of time in styling the property. How much effort do you put into that, and how important is that, Paola?
Paola:  Now, I do it as a business. I help other people with that, getting their properties ready for sale. I think it depends on what the property is going to be used for. If you’re going to rent it out, and obviously, giving that styling/vision of what they could do with the property when they move in is obviously great because people don’t actually imagine what they’re going to be able to do with the space and the flow.
Flow is super-important. When people see something styled, you want to make sure that the furniture highlights the space in the property, the access, the movement, what you can actually do with it.
Whether it is for buyers or for tenants, styling the property is always going to give you that, but also, now that I do it as a business, you can see how people are prepared to pay a lot more money for a property because they can imagine themselves in that property because it looks good, because it feels good, and they don’t have to do anything when they move in.
Yes, it’s definitely something that is important to do, and it’s going to maximize the potential at sale and also for rental as well. It’s going to give you good tenants. It’s going to give you tenants who are going to look after your property. And it’s also going to attract a lot more people to the open house.
Kevin:  There is some great advice inside this article. It’s inside the latest edition of Your Investment Property magazine. Make sure you also have a listen to the podcast, the special podcast that’s now on the YIP channel on Real Estate Talk.
Paola Tapia, thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on your work, and thank you for talking to us today.
Paola:  Thank you very much, Kevin.

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