Guerrilla renovations: Adding value and rental return on the cheap

Guerrilla renovations: Adding value and rental return on the cheap
Guerrilla renovations: Adding value and rental return on the cheap

Finding good tenants can be hard.

Buy-and-hold investors typically seek two desirable traits from tenants:

  1. Good quality tenants who look after the property and pay their rent on time
  2. Not only finding these good quality tenants, but hopefully tenants that offer longevity to their stay. So, tenants who will stay for a couple of years or more

In my investment experience, whilst I’m yet to have a tenant ‘quality’ issue, if you have sourced good quality managing estate agents with a proven track record of property management experience, you should be OK on this front. I have had a somewhat ‘mixed bag’ when it comes to maximised tenant duration.

For some properties I’ve had young family tenants in them for four plus years, yet for others I’ve had a high turnover; with one property changing tenants every six months on the dot. Obviously for investors; minimising vacancy periods or ‘down time’ is a major objective and in one financial year even just a couple of weeks of vacancy between tenants, if unplanned for, can throw the holding cost and tax structure of an investment property in to a tailspin.

So, I’ve recently found myself in the precarious position of being ‘between tenants’ for one of my properties. However, instead of sitting tight with a vacant apartment for a couple of weeks, I chose to take action.

Like somewhat of a guerrilla investor, I’ve been busy most nights after work going over to the property and adding what I call ‘short-term value’.

I’m no Cherie Barber or Nathan Birch (two of Australia’s most revered fast-turnaround property ‘flippers’), however I’ve taken several cues from their YouTube channels to put together a list of time and cost-efficient things you can do in the shor- term to add value to your property whilst between tenants, to maximise return potential and capital growth.

Cost and Return Analysis:

In no order, here is what I’ve been able to do, by myself, after work every night, for the last two weeks. I’ll tell you to the total cost of the improvements along with the result in terms of rental return improvement.

This property is a small (67 square metre) two bedroom apartment in an old 1960s apartment block in Sydney’s Inner West.

  • Tile painting in the bathroom ($230)
  • Re-painting all bedroom/bathroom/front doors ($60)
  • Replacing all doorknobs with modern ones ($65)
  • Replacing living room and kitchen lights with modern ones ($160 including electrician)
  • Re-netting and re-tubing all flyscreens ($28)

Total cost (investment): $543

Asking weekly rent before renovation: $380 per week 

Actual weekly rental return, post-renovation: $420 per week

Rental return gain per week: $40 (effectively an extra $2,080 in rent per year; almost four times return on initial cost). This amount almost pay’s for a full quarter’s strata fees. Plus, the capital gain realised, though I do not yet have a post-renovation valuation report, will be a worthy reward for what has been a duck-in/duck-out light renovation.

To Sum Up

I’m a firm believer in the notion these days that property investors need to ‘manufacture’ return instead of just waiting for it and guerrilla renovations are an easy way to do just that.

Yes, the old investment adage ‘time in the market versus timing the market’ still does apply, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a little nudge every now and then.

Cameron McEvoy

Cameron McEvoy

Cameron McEvoy is a NSW-based property investor and maintains a blog, Property Correspondent.

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Renovation Investor Tips Cameron Mcevoy

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