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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.

White-Knuckle Ride

White-knuckle ride
It’s been a nerve-wracking journey for a newbie Christchurch investor. But his bold plan has paid off, as Joanna Mathers discovers.

Uninsured. Earthquake damaged. Two phrases that would see most property investors heading for the hills. But Michael Calder from Christchurch isn’t like most investors; and his property journey has not been for the faint of heart... more

Bright sparks - transforming a do-up into a money maker

Bright sparks
A married couple who work together as electricians have transformed a filthy Northland house into a money maker.

It’s not something that would work for everyone, but Michelle Dry and her husband Dan have made a success out of working, and renovating investment properties, together. After nearly 10 years of investment, their most recent renovation was the most challenging, but yielded great results, even in the midst of Covid-19 lockdown... more

Hokianga Hobbit House - a tunnel house renovation

Hokianga Hobbit House
Bought for just $80,000 in 2013, a cute “tunnel house” in Rawene has provided a determined single mum of two with a great first step up the property ladder.

Nestled into a hillside on the banks of the Hokianga Harbour, Karee Owen’s first home wouldn't look out of place in Lord of the Rings. With rounded walls and ceilings, the “tunnel house” in Rawene was one of a cluster of concrete character homes built by doctors who worked in the area in the 1970s... more

Double down

Double down
A dual income property in Hamilton has been a good earner for its owner since 2007, and will prove even more lucrative post-reno.

Isle Wolfe was working as a corporate analyst for Westpac after graduating from university in Hamilton, when she became aware that all the wealthy clients she worked for were backed by property. So, she decided to follow suit... more

Change of fortune

Change of fortune
A filthy rental formerly inhabited by a gang has ended up being the winner of the annual NZPIF/Resene Renovation of the Year

Suzanne Taylor has seven years of investment under her belt, but she’d never seen the likes of the Porirua rental she viewed in early 2018. Previously inhabited by troublesome tenants (who’d been given notice and moved out) the most recent occupants were gang members... more

Thinking big

Thinking big
Two Hamilton investors transformed a single dwelling into a multi-income goldmine.

Kathryn Hill and Chad Hooker have thrown away the renovation rulebook with their dramatic reconfiguration of a 1960s brick and tile home near Waikato hospital in Hamilton. It’s not their first outing (Hill in particular has done a number of renovations for trades in the past) but the scale of the job is unprecedented... more


Cheat Sheet

Renovation cheat sheet
Ten renovation tips for adding value the cost-effective way.

Renovations of tired, rundown homes can add big dollars to both yield and sale price. While it can be an expensive proposition (especially if you start moving walls around or redoing kitchens and bathrooms) there are some simple ways in which you can modernise old and unattractive homes without spending too much in the process... more

Family affair

Family affair
He may only be 22, but Adam Wareing from Wellington has already proven he's got the right stuff when it comes to renovations. Software developer by day, the young investor spent the evenings and weekends of the first part of the year working on the renovation of a home and income in Newlands.

He was thrown in the deep end, with a renovation that was full of thorny challenges. But he's come out the other side with knowledge and a fire in his belly: property investment is now firmly part of his master plan... more

Double down

Double down
Two's a charm for Tracey Griffin and her partner Duncan McCartney. The couple from Gisborne (now living in Taupo) have two renovations under their belt, and both of them have been roaring successes.

The most recent renovation in Taupo came off the back of an earlier one in their home town. At age 22, the couple had used their KiwiSaver nest egg to purchase a small house for the grand sum of $185,000 in Gisborne. It seemed a lot at the time... more

First time reno success

First time reno success
Two young investors embarking on their first renovation project prove that hard savings and hard work really do pay off, as Joanna Mathers discovers.

Determination and drive underpin the success of Aron Innes’ and Nikki Couling’s debut reno project. At just 26 and 25 respectively, they had the prescience to put aside the “avocado on toast” lifestyle Millenials are mocked for, and save every penny in order to purchase their first home... more

Joint effort - renovating with your tenant

Joint effort
A Napier landlord has worked alongside her tenant to transform the interior of a rundown property.

Curtains provided the impetus for Napier investor Julie Thomas's recent interior rental makeover. When her tenant's mother was given a house-lot of beautiful curtains, she shared them with her daughter, who then showed them to Thomas... more

Learning curve

Learning curve
Yvonne Gattung’s first foray into “renovate-to-sell” was a steep learning curve, but she came out the other end unscathed, with a bit of money in her pocket, and a fire in her belly to do more.

Hamilton-based Gattung has been a buy and hold property investor for over ten years. But she was keen to try her hand at something new, and a three bedroom deceased estate in the suburb of Pukete (just 100m from her own house) offered her the perfect place to hone her reno skills... more

Rough diamond - tranforming a property

Rough diamond
“Nasty secrets” aren’t usually in the check list of desirable attributes for an investment property. But one Palmerston North investor has carved her niche by taking undesirable properties and transforming them into investment gems.

Heather Black is a buy-and-hold investor who spends her time travelling between Auckland and Wellington for work, but she lives and invests in Palmerston North... more

On trend - rental renovations

On trend
Looking to renovate your rental in the new year? Here are some tips and tricks from those in the know.

Renovating can be a hard business, but it can also be fun. Here are some tips and trends from those in the home improvement business to help you make the best decisions around renovating in 2019... more

Triple threat

Triple threat
The results of the annual NZPIF/ Resene Renovation Award are in and sweeping into second place is a nifty little reno undertaken by three investors just starting out on their property journey.

Sam Wang, Andy Kim and Pat Nga (all from Palmerston North) have used the power of three to make their entrance into the property market. Joint ventures are a good idea in the current environment, where restrictive LVR rules make it hard for new investors to get a foot in the door... more

Relocatable reno

Relocatable reno
These ex-Block NZ winners recently put their renovation skills to the test with the development of a new site in Auckland, writes Joanna Jefferies.

You’ll probably know Alice and Caleb Pearson as the couple who won The Block NZ in 2013, but the handy pair actually began renovating three years before that, and they’ve renovated a house every year since. The latest project for their company Pearson + Projects was the development of a 674m2 corner site in Otahuhu... more

Masterton masterclass

Masterton masterclass
Trish Keogh and Kael Blake may be new to investing, but their unique renovation strategies have already yielded some remarkable results.

A $5,000 renovation of a Masterton rental increased the property’s value by $100,000. It may have smelt like an abandoned pet store, but when Trish Keogh was shown a large, worse-for-wear four bedroom home in Masterton, she went with her instincts... more

Hidden potential
First impressions didn’t count for Lucia Xiao, who decided that an ugly duckling of a property could easily be reborn as a swan, writes Joanna Mathers.

There was a beauty hidden behind the beastly exterior of a rundown brick-and-tile in Mt Wellington. It was hard for most to spot – the floors were riddled with holes, wallpaper was hanging off the filthy walls, there was a smashed front door, and an unkempt garden... more

Long-distance reno
Living eight hours away from your investment property can be challenging, especially when you decide to renovate, as Joanna Mathers discovers.

When Auckland investor Ginny Douglas looked at buying a duplex in the heart of Upper Hutt, she had a fair idea it could be problematic... more

Gang house comes good

Gang house comes good
Wayne Dickson’s Tokoroa renovation project was ambitious. It was worth the effort, though, with a potential $100,000 in added equity.

Property investor Wayne Dickson lived in the same street as an infamous gang house. He watched the house moved onto the section, a decade or so back, and commented to himself: “what a tip”. Never did he expect to own it... more

Win-win situation

Win-win situation
Working alongside tenants to do interior improvements can add value to your investment, writes Joanna Mathers.

Good landlord/tenant partnerships lie at the heart of every successful property investment. Napier-based investor Ian Olson prides himself on fostering such partnerships, he keeps his rents reasonable and holds onto his houses to attract tenants who will stay for the long term... more

Rental upgrade with paint

Rental upgrade with paint
Rich Visick’s Resene colour transformation improved both the value and yield of his rental, writes Diana Clement.

Renos always cost more than budgeted, don’t they? Not Richard Visick’s renovation of the “Gold Miner’s Cottage” in Thames. Visick’s exterior renovation was judged runner-up in the NZPIF/Resene Renovation of the Year Award late last year... more

Convert extra space

Make $ from extra space
Making more of the space in your rental property adds $$$$ to the return. At the most basic level better use of the space can mean improving storage. At the other end of the scale it’s about creating more rooms from the existing space, by moving walls, developing loft spaces or converting garages, sheds, dining rooms, second living spaces and others into living areas... more

Renovation of the year

Renovation of the year
Donna Youngman and husband Murray moved from their home onto a yacht to free up capital in the year 2000 and never looked back. Their property investing was a way of funding travel. After Murray died in 2009, Donna continued. With only herself and dog Shrek to care for, she camped in the properties between tenants giving each a complete makeover before moving onto the next one. Soon there were few renovation jobs she couldn’t do herself... more

How to convert your garage into a dwelling Convert your garage
Garages make great living spaces, albeit not always legally. Too many tenants use garages for things they shouldn't. And some landlords take the risk of letting garages illegally. But every year plenty of savvy investors go the full hog and convert garages into extra rooms or separate tenancies. Done right and within the law these can be a real money spinner. Garage conversions offer a great strategy to both improve rental return and/or increase value... more
Updating bathrooms More bang for bathroom buck
Updating bathrooms is a key way to attract better tenants and higher sale prices, Jai Breitnauer uncovers the key products to invest in... more
Adding a room Make profit by adding a room
Diana Clement looks into the niche strategy of adding a bedroom to create cashflow and capital gain. Rooms mean money when it comes to property investment: the more rooms you can add to a property the higher rent you can charge and the higher the sale price will be in most cases. Ask investors who have done it and they’ll tell you that the best strategy is to squeeze more bedrooms from the same footprint... more
Before you reno Before you reno
As kiwis we all like to keep our rental properties in good order, enhancing them where possible for capital or rental gain, but there’s no point rushing in if the projects you’re planning won’t change the status quo. Planning and careful research is crucial, so we’ve put together 10 top tips to inspire and inform you. As with any project it’s vital to plan your renovations well in advance. Take time to check out prices for areas such as the kitchen, for example, because there can be some huge differences in terms of price and the budget offerings at big hardware chains can end up being just as good as bespoke cabinetry and fittings... more
Investing in storage Investing in storage
We all know that storage is key in any home – Louise Richardson identifies the areas where you can create more in your rental. When it comes to best utilising storage space in living areas, builder Phil McDonald is a big fan of built-in furniture. “I’ve worked a lot with rentals and you can make a dramatic difference if you construct a full wall unit with places for the TV, stereo gear, books, ornaments or whatever else tenants want to put in it. You could even incorporate a desk there for a simple home office set-up and it’s easy and inexpensive to do.” He also advises building in window seats that are also storage boxes... more
How to raise the rent How to raise the rent
Well-chosen renovations can add 10 per cent or more to the weekly rent. Others, however, cost an arm and a leg but only add value on paper, not the rent itself. In order to raise the rent, a renovation must deliver tangible value to your tenant – no surprises then that almost every expert we spoke to said the top renovation is adding bedrooms. A three-bedroom property, for example, will rent for more than a two-bedroom, even if the footprint is the identical size. That’s because renters either want to put more people in the house or would like to use the extra bedroom as a study or media room... more
To DIY or Go Pro To DIY or go pro?
As they like to say ‘DIY is in our DNA’ but is it always safe and advisable to do work on a rental property yourself? Louise Richardson investigates... more
Property staging - to stage or not? To stage or not?
Why, currently should you invest money into DIY or professional home staging when you put a property, rental or otherwise, up for sale? The answer is simple. Despite our runaway market, or even because of it, buyers always look for the best value possible. With a few handy tricks, you, or your paid home stager, can create an environment in which the new owner can imagine living comfortably… more
Summer spruce up Summer spruce up
Louise Richardson lists her top 10 tips for giving your rental a lift before the hot weather hits.... more
Paint has always been one of the most versatile tools in a property owner’s box of tricks Paint through the weather
Sometimes even small changes to a house or unit can make a dramatic difference, and paint has always been one of the most versatile tools in a property owner’s box of tricks. But painting in wet weather can’t be done – or can it?... more
Roof maintenance should be high on your priority list Raise the roof
Roof maintenance should be high on your priority list. With the right maintenance it should last a lifetime. Most types of roofing should be cleaned... more
Ventilation of rental properties Ventilation options for a rental
In theory, ventilating a dwelling should be as simple as opening the windows wide each day, but in real life, and particularly in rental properties, the situation is far more complicated... more
Rental properties must now be made healthy Latest heating options for a warm, healthy rental
The media spotlight has been firmly fixed on rental properties recently - and on landlords’ obligations both legally, and morally, in terms of their tenants’ health. Louise Richardson takes a look at the latest heating options for a warm, healthy rental.... more
Rental properties must now be insulated. New regulations: insulation
Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) means insulating rentals is no longer optional. By 1 July, 2019 all rental properties must be retrofitted with floor and ceiling insulation and landlords ordered to specify what level they have provided... more
Bathroom renovation helps Bathrooms on a budget
Having just sold her home and trekked around Auckland to find somewhere reasonable to rent, designer Hayley Dryland, of August & Co, understands the importance of providing a decent bathroom to attract good tenants. “Bathrooms are one of the places where you walk in and just cringe,” she says. Dated 1970s bathroom fixtures and fittings; ugly black mould and mildew growing in grout; stained toilet seats; dripping shower heads and leaky cisterns – she’s seen it all. Grotty bathrooms in rental properties are far from unusual. On the upside, she says, landlords can upgrade them in many, simple, cost-effective ways. It’s worth it, because good tenants like herself are prepared to pay more for a clean, neat bathroom… more
Keeping your tenant's home weathertight is not only desirable to avoid ongoing health problems but it is also part of your duty as a landlord Getting weather tight
Keeping your tenant's home weathertight is not only desirable to avoid ongoing health problems but it is also part of your duty as a landlord. Since 2004, the Building Code sets out objectives on how all new buildings or renovations must perform to "Safeguard people from illness or injury, which could result from external moisture entering the building". That is, dwellings must be weathertight… more
Invest time in improving the kitchen of your rental propertty Sink time into the kitchen
Given the popularity of TV cooking shows, renters are developing a taste for sophistication when it comes to the kitchen in their rental. Quality tenants want a beautiful and functional kitchen and they are prepared to pay a higher rent for one too... more
First impressions last and a good first impression will attract good tenants Curb appeal
First impressions last and a tidy dwelling will always attract good tenants. Whether your property's value is soaring high or standing still it makes sense to maintain your asset as neatly as possible. If you allow an investment property to become derelict, unkempt and overgrown, tenants will value it the same way you do. On the flipside, a tidy dwelling will always attract good tenants... more
The latest in home security technology for tenanted properties and what landlords should have in place Security breach
The latest in home security technology for tenanted properties and what landlords should have in place. With 38,770 home burglaries occurring last year in New Zealand, burglary is the most common crime to affect New Zealanders. But while many of us have alarm systems, security lights and dogs guarding our own homes, far fewer tenanted properties have the same level of security. The latest technology means tenanted properties can now be more secure than ever... more
Roof maintenance Love thy roof
Careful material selection and good maintenance are the keys to a long, happy relationship with your roof. For many of us the roof is out of sight and out of mind. This is fine as long as we understand the characteristics of our roofs, inspect and carry out maintenance at least once a year and keep good records of installers, repairs and warranties. Roof cladding varies in cost, upkeep, appearance and durability... more
Renters value their decks every bit as much as owner-occupiers do Hit the deck!
The deck has become an integral part of our laid-back kiwi lifestyle - and renters value their decks every bit as much as owner-occupiers do! It's hard to go wrong as a landlord either by enhancing and maintaining an existing deck, or by adding one to your rental property. Tenants of all ages, students, families or working couples, desire indoor-outdoor flow - especially in summer. As long as it's well built - small or large - it will not only add value but.. more
Buying and renovating a property for resale Renovation to trade
This month we look at a renovation on a property purchased with the intention of adding value and then selling for a profit. Jen Gautier is a passionate property investor who has been building a buy and hold portfolio since 2002. Two years ago she decided to try her hand at trading. "It was scary at first," she says, "after all those years of 'don't sell, never sell' as my mantra." It also meant putting herself on a fast learning curve in renovation skills... more
Call in the experts who specialise in managing renovation projects for rental properties Renovations in a jiffy
When you want your renovations fast-tracked with minimum hassle it may be time to call in the experts who specialise in managing renovation projects for rental properties. For property investors who are not hands-on in terms of managing their rentals or are not confident DIYers, the prospect of undertaking a renovation can be daunting. Deciding the extent of work needed, setting a realistic budget, calculating the return on investment required..... more
Renovating on a small budget Step-by-step guide to investment property renovations plus renovations on a small budget
Renovating an investment property is a very different project from renovating your own home. Firstly a step by step guide for rental prpoerty renovations followed by the first of a series of renovation features covering small, medium and large renovation budgets... more
The humble garage is actually a desirable property feature for a rental property Giving the car a home
Often overlooked and taken for granted, the humble garage is actually a desirable property feature. Not only does it provide a home for the car, but it also provides storage space. For this reason, investors looking to boost the value of their portfolio should consider adding a garage, or carport, on to properties that don’t have them. A surprising number of properties don’t have off-street parking, let alone covered parking space. And yet most people want it... more
Reliable appliances are a must for rental properties Place reliance on a good appliance
That time of year has crept up. It’s winter so we spend more time inside and so do our tenants. There’s more cooking happening inside and, without a doubt, more clothes-drying inside than out. Gas fires and heatpumps must be ready to spring into service… more
Do timely house maintenance before the onset of winter Preparing for onset of winter
The balmy days of summer are fast becoming memories and cooler weather is just around the corner. It makes sense to act now and tidy rental properties, protecting your investment and ensuring your tenants are well set-up for a comfortable, dry winter. Seasoned Christchurch property investor Adam Armstrong warns thinking about storage as space should be avoided, period. Cavernous 'storage' spaces without cupboards or shelving can turn negative... more
Smart storage ideas for smallliving spaces Big ideas for small spaces
Small but ideal? Do your prospective tenants whisper these words as they peruse your rental for the first time? Or is there more of a pointed stare into inadequate wardrobe spaces and a pantry far too economical on shelving? Your rental property might be small. It may not have much room for storage or anywhere to put things. But there are clever space-saving ways to overcome this... more
A nice looking, well-tended garden can help when trying to attract good tenants or to sell a property Green fingered gains
Owners and renters alike, kiwis love the concept of indoor-outdoor living that has come to define our relationship with our homes. A nice looking, well-tended garden can help when trying to attract good tenants. If you are renovating to sell, quality work carried out on the section is undoubtedly a hands-down winner in terms of fetching the best possible price… more
Curtains, blinds and other window treatments in a home are aesthetically pleasing and add tp privacy Shedding light on curtains
While having curtains, blinds and other window treatments in a home is aesthetically pleasing, it’s also important in terms of privacy and especially important for managing energy use. Most tenants will appreciate at least some basic form of window coverings. Even if you opt for better quality products, the outlay involved can be surprisingly modest. In colder parts of the country, thermal lined curtains will increase comfort while keeping power bills down… more
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 on enhancing this part of a property in the hope of gaining better rental returns or is it something that should generally only be considered in terms of adding value for an eventual sale?... 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

Renovating guide

Window Treatments
It's the decoratIve touches that can make or break any property, even a rental. If you're showing tenants through a house that has scuffed walls, cracked tiles and dirty carpets, you're not only unlikely to get a decent rent but also caring tenants.

What's on the windows is also part of that decorative package. There are many options for window coverings, from venetian blinds through to drapes. Many of these are now available off the shelf for a reasonable price. Be aware of quality however as the lower price tag may not be so attractive if you have to go to the hassle of replacing the curtains more often than if you had invested in better quality products... 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

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
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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