Renovating guide


Learn the tips and tricks for renovating rental properties with this handy information series from NZ Property Investor magazine. Learn about colour choice, planning your project, furniture selections and more. Add value to your rental property or your own home with these handy guides.

Also check out the Renovation Workbook series from Homestyle magazine and the selection of decorating stories from Renovate magazine and Abode magazine.

Adding and maintaing decking Summer time to hit the decking
Kiwi homeowners, potential buyers and tenants alike have an on-going love affair with the concept of indoor-outdoor flow. But as a landlord, is it worth spending good money... more
Renovating a kitchen can be time consuming and costly but it can be done it for much less Pulling strings in the ktchen
Renovating a kitchen can be time consuming and costly but it can be done it for much less - often using
very fresh, imaginative and innovative approaches... more
Spring is the time for a post-winter cleanup of your rental property Spring fever
Spring signals the start of investment movement. Seasoned investors are urging you on. In the same way you suddenly notice dirty windows when higher-intensity sun streams through, your tenants will be feeling down if the property they’re in isn’t being maintained... more
Choose flooring carefully when renovating a rental property Ground Effects... the foundational topic of floors
Though it’s often the last thing tackled when upgrading a rental property, flooring should nevertheless be one of your initial renovation decisions. The expanse of a floor is crucial to first impressions. Floors either attract or deter tenants. They’re also an important part of your property strategy. Choose the wrong products for floors, and you’ll suffer financially from every careless tenant... more
Winter tips: Wisdom from seasoned investors Winter tips: Wisdom from seasoned investors
One of the most rudimentary rules in property investment seems almost ridiculous to spell out: Bring investment properties up to high functional and aesthetic standards, and then maintain them at that level. Otherwise you’re not investing a future of great cash flow, or in your tenants’ wellbeing. These go together. If that’s intelligence-insulting, read on, as the details of such maintenance are often not as blatantly obvious… more
An attractive bathroom is a big draw-card to renters Bathrooms should mirror your home
The bathroom is one of the home’s desirable areas. Aesthetically, the small room appeals to renters. Make first impressions count. An attractive bathroom is a big draw-card to renters. It creates renter competition, and tenants will want to stay longer. But for a beautiful, functional thing now to still be a beautiful, problem-free thing in 15 years’ time, guidance is good... more
A fenced property will attract more tenants and add street appeal and value to your investment Fencing to attract more tenants
Tenants want to feel safe, secure and private in their homes, just like you do. A fenced property will attract more tenants and add street appeal and value to your investment. Fences historically were used to mark boundaries or ward off enemies. These days, especially with close proximity living, they are more about everyday life. From security to privacy to creating an outdoor area to blocking off a view to creating a safe space for kids… more
Security around your rental property is more important than ever Safe as houses
Security around your rental property is more important than ever. Aside from adequate window latches and door locks being amongst proposed building WOF criteria, a secure house helps to secure tenants. Security and safety is as important to tenants as it is to you in your own home. While the initial costs and ongoing maintenance of a full-blown burglar alarm system won’t make it a suitable option for all rental properties, there are many easy steps you can take to provide a safe and secure home for your tenants… more
Spruce up rental properties between tenants Opportunity knocks, between tenants
A little planning and budgeting by landlords can turn a rental property vacancy into an opportunity. Not only is it much easier to work on an empty house but a spruce-up will almost certainly fetch a higher rent and attract more tenants. A spruce-up is generally superficial work that is easy and quick to do and doesn’t require any structural or building changes... more
Energy savings Wiring into energy savings
Future proofing your rental property does not have to be as expensive as you think. The rewards can be reaped for years to come through increased tenant appeal, higher rents and increased property values. Eco-friendly homes are making more and more sense these days, even as rental properties. Sure, there is the initial outlay to consider but the paybacks can be significant with increasing demand from tenants wanting modernised and future-proofed homes. It certainly makes commercial sense... more
Taking a blind bit of notice
Privacy, temperature control, functionality and nice décor are important when it comes to your home’s window furnishings and it’s no different for tenants. While decent quality, ready-made curtains or blinds are often sufficient for rentals, it is important to consider how they may impact everyday living for your tenants. Blinds look smart and are ideal for daytime privacy but they don’t hold in as much warmth as curtains or give the same night time privacy. Curtains also enhance decor and have good thermal qualities… more
Choose durable, hard-wearing, decent-looking and low-maintenance flooring for rental properties What lies beneath?
With the wide range of vinyls, laminates, carpets and flooring paints now available, flooring can be a creative way of adding a feature to your property. Tenants like nice-looking floors - when they move in that is. Despite comfortable, clean and good-looking floors factoring high on tenants' "must haves" when viewing a place, most of them, even the very best ones, won't really actually look after the floors that well. Spills, stains, heel marks, scuffing ... you name it. Putting down durable, hard-wearing, decent-looking and low-maintenance flooring will go a long way in reducing headaches later... more
Adding a room can be a great way to increase the equity, rent and rentability of an investment property Need more room?
Adding a room can be a great way to increase the equity, rent and rentability of an investment property but the key is doing it right. Deciding if and how to add a room to an investment property should be based on understanding the numbers, the potential equity or rental returns and the area's rental market. While a $60,000 to $80,000 cost of extending a house in a high-growth area could be justified with the resulting valuation increase, the additional rent might be similar to what can be achieved by creating a room for around $10,000 using existing space at a much lower cost in a lower-decile area... more
Add outdoor flow eal to your rental property Outdoor flow appeal
Whether you're after a higher rent, value or selling price, a deck or a patio will add plenty of X factor to your property for prospective tenants and buyers. A tidy and functional outdoor area will help your property appeal to more people. Some tenants won't mind paying a little extra rent for it either. Balancing, quality and cost is a key challenge to any property investor when doing work on rental properties. While you want a finish that is functional, durable and looks good, you don't want to break the bank... more
Rejuvenate your rental this spring Rejuvenate your rental this spring
As the longer, sunnier and warmer days kick in, it's time for that overdue rental upkeep - get it done now and there will be fewer headaches over summer for you and your tenant. Too often good tenants move out because of small, fixable problems. Spending money on small improvements and maintenance like replacing tatty curtains, cracked benchtops or security lights is always better than the cost of lost rent because a fed-up tenant moves out. Tenants appreciate having their concerns and complaints taken seriously and are more likely to stay longer and treat a place better if they feel happy there... more
Home ventilation, whether by a system or by doors and windows, is necessary to remove the moisture created in our everyday activities Clearing the air on home ventilation
Not only do we live in a cold climate for half the year but many of our homes are damp. Managing the eight litres of moisture created by the average family daily is about having the right balance of insulation, heating and ventilation in place. Damp homes are unhealthy homes. Ventilation, whether by a system or by doors and windows, is necessary to remove the moisture created in our everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and washing and to maintain a healthy air quality. The problem escalates in winter when we spend more time indoors and open windows less… more
A well-planned and well-executed renovation should add value to your property and increase its tenant appeal and achievable rent Renovations - the real deal
You can spend a little or a lot on your property – provided you get a return on your investment. Putting aside required maintenance and upkeep, investors should really only ever renovate rentals to increase equity, increase returns or both. So before even starting a renovation, you need to be clear on why you are doing it. A well-planned and well-executed renovation should add value to your property and increase its tenant appeal and achievable rent... more
adequate insulation needs to be in place otherwise the warmth just escapes Taking heating to heart
Insulation to a house is like a woollen jersey to a person; it helps keep heat in and makes you warm and cozy on cold winter days. For home heating to be efficient, adequate insulation needs to be in place otherwise the warmth just escapes. Insulated rental properties are more common than they were four years ago thanks to the Government's Warm Up New Zealand - Heat Smart funding programme. Aside from happier and healthier tenants, benefits to landlords in insulating a property include increasing its appeal... more
providing tenants with an efficient and affordable heating option has good paybacks

Warming up to rentals
Heat pumps, modern woodburners or pellet fires are by no means commonplace in rental properties, but providing tenants with an efficient and affordable heating option has good paybacks. Heating a rental property traditionally wasn’t a priority for landlords, why would it be? If a tenant was cold then they’d just put more clothes on - it’s what we all did but... more

Rental friendly gardens Rental friendly gardens
In a perfect world rental properties probably wouldn’t have gardens… Imagine it, no messy-looking grass to scare off good tenants, no concealed rubbish to deal with when bad tenants vacate and best of all, no ongoing garden maintenance to worry about. But the reality of course, is we live in a country largely fixed on a quarter-acre dream, whether you own a home or not… more
Renovating an apartment is relatively easy and is often merely cosmetic

Space-Smart Apartment Living
Any apartment, no matter how old, will start out all sparkly and new but can quickly become scruffy. It's partly a symptom of people living in a more confined space where walls are easily dinged and carpets worn. Renovating an apartment is relatively easy and is often merely cosmetic. Often there is little to be done structurally as most purpose-built apartments were well laid out when first conceived and built... more

provide enough storage in a renatl home Everything in its place
When it comes to messy rental properties, you can’t always blame the tenants. Many small city apartments just don’t provide enough storage. And there was no such thing as a culture of consumerism when those big, old character homes were built. Nowadays we all have so much stuff it’s a challenge to keep a home tidy. But if you’re clever with spaces, you can pack in a whole lot of neat storage solutions to help attract better tenants with higher living standards – and make sure your rentals remain looking good. It’s a matter of identifying every wall, nook and… more
Ecochanges that pay off Eco-changes that pay off
Apologies if the assumption is wrong, but as a landlord planning improvements to your property, eco-friendly solutions are probably one of the last priorities on your list. At the top of the list are changes that will provide value for money, and effectiveness of spend. You want to know how much the improvements are going to increase rental income, and how much they are going to lift the value of your asset. Environmentally-friendly systems aren't usually a priority for landlords, but here are five green changes that can actually attract tenants and save money... more
DIY disasters fixed

DIY disasters fixed
There are two ways of going about the maintenance and renovations of your rental properties - like the hardware TV ad says, there are those who pay someone else to do it, and then there are those who do it themselves. Many landlords have another day job, so are quite happy to pay someone else to do repairs. But if you're one of those hands-on landlords that the hardware stores love, there are some common pitfalls to the DIY game. Here are five common DIY mistakes and what to do about... more

between rentals is the time to give a rental property a thorough check-over The great vacancy spruce up
Your rental property is tenanted, everything is sweet, there’s the odd phone call for minor maintenance but essentially, life just ticks along nicely. Aside from the odd inspection or visit, when your rental property is happily tenanted, there’s hardly any need to go near the place, let alone clip on the tool belt and do anything to it. But when tenants leave, that’s the time to give the property a thorough check-over… more
Roof maintenance Raising the roof
Putting a lid on a house, and keeping it weathertight is a key structural element to any building. If you have a good roof, chances are you have a sound home. And when something goes wrong, like a leak, it can be one of the most frustrating problems to fix. Water travels so sneakily – along roof trusses, rafters and into insulation - that often the leak in the roof isn’t aligned with the leak in the ceiling. Water can also sit in your roof cavity … more
preparing a rental property for ssale

Ready to sell
In turbulent economic times, many of us sit back and reassess where we're at. It may be that you've reviewed your portfolio of properties and decided to sell one or two to release some capital. Turbulent times do not necessarily mean bad times or that what might be seen as a forced sale is going to have an unhappy ending. In some inner parts of Auckland properties have recently been selling for well over CV, so cashing up on those might make sense. Even buy-and-hold investors sometimes need to sell their rental properties. If you're putting a rental on the market, here are some tips to ensure you get the best possible result... more

Choose a tough and aesily cleaned floor for a rental property Walked all over
It's one of the most abused surfaces in a house - the floor. It gets stomped on, spilt on, and mud and dirt tracked over it. Chair legs scraped over it and things dropped on it. Any home needs a hard-wearing floor surface, let alone a rental property. You might get away with white carpet in your own house - as long as you have no children or pets and don't drink red wine - but for a rental, that's not an option. You need to think tough and easy cleaned. Having said that, as with any rental renovation, do consider your likely tenant and the level of wear and tear the floors will sustain... more
Renovation organisation Renovation organisation
One of the decisions every landlord needs to make is whether or not to use a property manager. There are many upsides to using a manager, especially if you are a part-time investor who has another day job and just don't have time to show prospective tenants through the property and check them out, keep tabs on whether the rent's been paid or organise tradespeople for repairs... more
All about paint All about paint
Paint is a landlord’s friend. It’s cheap, highly flexible in regards to colour and easy to apply. It has the ability to transform a rental property, or bits of it, quickly and simply. While most Kiwis know the basics about paint, here’s a recap and a look at some of the new technologies in paint. Only a few decades ago paint was mostly solventborne or oil-based, but as paint technology has improved, there has been a huge shift to using waterborne paints. Waterborne paints are generally... more
Renovation pitfalls Pros talk renos
The biggest renovation pitfalls? According to Sharon Trafford, director of Renovate to Profit they are: Not having a budget, being out of your depth, thinking things cost less than they do, not doing research and not valuing your own time. “People diving into things they don’t know about anything about. I recently had an investor looking at a leaking home and I told him to leave it alone, don’t touch it as your first project.” She says investors must do their research; guessing costs and time frames doesn’t work.... more
Maintaining your rental property is a key way to keep up a healthy  rental stream Caring for your investment
Keeping a rental property well maintained shouldn’t be seen as a chore or a threat to your positive cash flow. Whether you are making improvements or simply attending to the effects of day-to-day wear and tear, keeping your property functioning well and halting any deterioration, is key to keeping a healthy rental stream. Any costs incurred while maintaining your property can be offset against your rental income - as long as it is truly maintenance and not an improvement of any kind... more
Finding good trades people Tricks of the trades
Whether you are undertaking a more substantial renovation of your property, or simply keeping up with repairs and maintenance, chances are you will be employing tradespeople. It can be the bane of a landlord’s life to find skilled, reliable, well-priced tradespeople – but then, that’s when you employ a property manager and transfer the hassle on to them! When you do find good tradespeople, hang on to them. You will soon build up a contact book of good tradespeople whom you can call on... more
Painting your rental property yourself can save you thousands of dollars Paint by numbers
Painting your property yourself can save you thousands of dollars, but you need to ensure you do a good job. Hands up if you're hands on. Once upon a time, many landlords were decidedly hands on, in that they did much of their own maintenance and repairs. Nowadays, many rental property owners would rather get others to do the maintenance. But the one area that is still within reach of those who want to do their own maintenance is painting... more
Apartments can be renovated on a tight budget to great effect Small but perfectly formed
Apartments can be renovated on a tight budget to great effect. Renovating an apartment is relatively easy ad is often merely cosmetic. Often there is little to be done structurally as most purpose-built apartments were well laid out when first conceived and built. More often than not, it will be a case of providing an attractive interor and using fairly bullet-proof materials in the kitchen and bathrooms so they don't mark too quickly... more
Outdoor appeal is improved by well kept decks and fences Outdoor appeal
A house sitting in the middle of a barren piece of land may be easy to maintain but it's unlikely to be that appealing to prospective tenants. Likewise, one with scruffy, broken fences won't have them flocking to your door. And with our love affair with outdoor living, a deck is definitely going to improve your chances of tenancy and increased income stream. Whether you are adding either of these external items or renovating existing ones, here are some of the aspects to consider... more
Transform your garage Transform your garage
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to add value to your property investment may be staring you in the face. That shabby old garage that's full of old paint cans, rusty bike frames, broken tools and a whole array of unwanted clutter can be resurrected as a living/sleeping space to generate extra income. The foundation, walls and roof are already in place. The wiring is probably sufficient and the entry already exists. In many houses, a well designed garage conversion can create... more
upgrading the bathroom in a rental property Bathroom bliss
For today's homebuyers, bathrooms are important - so a well-judged renovation will pay for itself. Getting the advice right from the outset can be the most vital part of the process. On the face of it, upgrading the bathroom in a rental property might seem like an easy project. After all, it's one of the smallest rooms in the house. All you need to do is replace a few of the fittings, right? Well, actually no. Because it's a wet area, the bathroom has a hard life... more
A guide to renovating kitchens in rental properties The heart of the home
Make or break: That’s how important your kitchen can be when it comes to being able to rent your property. If it’s battered and shabby, prospective tenants will just think “grimy and old”. They’ll have visions of the families of cockroaches and rodents that will set up home in the back of the cupboards. It’s also notoriously one of the most expensive rooms of the house to renovate. It may be that a coat of paint will do the trick for now and certainly a good-quality enamel will withstand quite a bit of wear and tear, not to mention liberal doses of spaghetti sauce on the splashback… more
A guide for tidying up the garden and outdoor living areas of your home or rental property be The great outdoors
With summer on the horizon, now’s the time to look at tidying up the garden and outdoor living areas of your home or rental property, says Sharon Newey. Your work will pay dividends in value and rental appeal... more
A guuide to replacing flooring, cladding or roofing on rental accommodation Exteriors and floors
Replacing your flooring, cladding or roofing can cost a heap. You don’t want to get it wrong... more
Furniture for flats Furniture for flats
More tenants than ever before are seeking furnished accommodation. Sharon Newey looks at the options – and the returns. Fully furnished rental properties are a relatively new feature in New Zealand, where the tradition has been that the tenant supplies everything... more
Colour affects how we feel A splash of colour
Colour affects how we feel - calm, happy, relaxed or stimulated. A fresh and appealing house translates into better rents and better resale value. Never underestimate the power of colour. With a splash of the right hue, a house can be transformed from flat to fabulous, dull to exciting, small to spacious... more
Renovating is a great way to boost the value of your property Clever rooms
Everyone wants to take something and make it better so you can rent it for more. Renovating is a great way to boost the value of your property, but when that property is a rental, you have to go in with your eyes wide open. The first thing to do is think about why you’re renovating and the scale of renovations... more
 

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