Home' Domain South Coast Register : January 20th 2010 Contents 4 - Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Domain.com.au supplement to the SOUTH COAST REGISTER
To knock out interior walls for the
purposes of renovation do I need council
approval? And who can tell me whether or
not the interior walls are str uctural?
: Yes, you will need council approval, which
is required for any construction valued at
more than $5000. An architect can tell you
if the walls are str uctural, in addition to
helping you go about your renovation in the
best, most economical way possible.
Q The actual house is quite dark and
shaded. How can you brighten up even the
smallest of rooms and make them look
bigger at the same time?
The quickest and most economical way
to brighten a room is with brighter colour s.
The best way and it's a little more
expensive than paint is by installing a sky-
light.There are plenty of companies in the
yellow pages that can assist you.The third
way and most obvious is adding windows.
Of cour se if there is no external wall, this is
impossible, but you probably already knew
that.The best way to make a room seem
larger is with careful placement of mirrors
and maybe use smaller furniture.
Q I have a brick wall in one room that is
always cold, even when the heater is going.
This creates a cold spot in the room where
you can sit with the wall to one side of you
and feel the cold on that side and be warm
on the other. I'd like to cover the brick wall
to help with the warmth of the room.The
wall is double brick, the other side being the
inside wall of the unit next door.
The heater is probably not effective
enough. Is it fan assisted? A radiant fireplace
is not terribly effective either. It sounds like it
could be the positioning of the windows.
Maybe need fan to bring heat down from
ceiling if you have high ceilings.The wall
couldn't be radiating cold it could be just
drawn to the windows where it's coldest. Is
there a draft due to the location of the
windows? Try cur taining the windows with
Would like some different ideas of what
to do with a small cour tyard of approx 2m
by 5-6m. like tropical plants and enjoy
Tall, skinny plants work wonders in small
areas. Birds of Paradise immediately comes
to mind because they are colourful and
exotic, but check with your local nur ser y
about maintenance and suitability. Have a
look at magazines too for some good ideas.
Cut out and keep scraps.There are tables
and chairs that are suitable for any type of
outdoor area. Large furniture chains would
be wor th a look.
Is salt damp different to efflorescence.
What can be done about salt damp?
Efflorescence is evidence of salt damp in
the form of crystals.What can be done? It is
wise to remove that plaster to a height of
about 300mm above the affected area, but
it's also wise to wait several weeks --
perhaps as long as three months between
the damp problem and replacing the
plaster.This time period will allow the rising
damp moisture to evaporate off the bricks,
draw the undesirable salts into the plaster
layer and thus enable that salt to be
removed from the plaster. Hope this helps.
AS I shake the gyprock dust out of my hair and splutter
my way through an apar tment renovation, I've been
thinking about whether it's tr uly possible to "add value"
by spending money on renovating proper ty.
I realise that businesses and companies can add value
to their bottom line by investing in cer tain items -- for
example, buying new machinery can increase output
and make more profits for business -- but I'm not so
sure the same principle applies to residential
proper ties. Especially when it comes to renovating.
The real reason I'm star ting to doubt whether
renovating adds value is because I realise how
bankr uptcy-inducing a renovation is, even when you
know exper ts, get cheap deals and co-ordinate it well.
There are plenty of supposed proper ty gurus out
there who will tell you renovating can add hundreds
of thousands of dollar s to a house if you know cer tain
"secrets" ... (and these secrets usually cost a pretty
penny to read about). It's bunkum.
Here's what you really need to know about "adding
value" by renovating:
Yes, it's true that spending money on cer tain
renovations can make a proper ty either sell or rent for
a higher amount than if that money had never been
spent in the fir st place. But the real trick is to keep reno
costs so low and the impact of that spend so great that
it will make a proper ty wor th more money.This ain't as
easy as many exper ts believe.And the tr uth is that low-
cost home improvements like landscaping, repainting
and decluttering will probably add as much value to a
sale price as spending $30,000 on a new kitchen.
This is a rule of thumb I have gathered over my years
of proper ty watching. I've seen plenty of derelict
houses that have been stunningly renovated sell for $1
million more when they go back on the market after a
gorgeous architectural renovation. But the fact is that
those derelict proper ties were wor th well over $1
million to purchase and then had a $500,000
renovation, plus one-year of holding costs (with the
owner or developer or "flipper" paying interest on a
mor tgage and renovation costs) plus stamp duty and
then agent fees to pay as well. So the $500,000
renovation cost (which, believe me, is not abnormal in
Sydney and Melbourne's best suburbs) on a $1.2
million house that can then sell for $2 million is not
really as "value-adding" as people are led to believe.
But whether you want to renovate a $300,000
apar tment or a $3 million beach house, sticking to the
5 per cent r ule means you are less likely to
overcapitalise on a renovation and be able to recoup
your costs when you go to sell.
Back in the days when Jamie Durie was on ever y telly
renovation program and we watched unsuspecting
suburbanites spend $10,000 on a cheap kitchen
makeover to magically sell their proper ty for $50,000
above the real estate agent's original price
expectations, many Australians believed in the power
of renovation.What they forgot was that the market
was booming and that price may well have been
achieved without a kitchen upgrade. Many real estate
agents, such as L.J. Hooker's Poh Ling Ee, say
unrenovated proper ties fetch similar prices to
renovated proper ties -- and in some cases, people pay
a premium for an unrenovated proper ty simply to
"dream" about how they might renovate it.
People who plan to live in a house for 10 year s or
more don't need to worr y about spending more on
their renovation than they can immediately recoup on
a sale. And that's because a $150,000 renovation of a
$500,000 family home will add lifestyle value that can't
be measured by dollars and cents.What price do you
put on a working mother having a kitchen that's easy
to whip up a quick meal for the family if she's tired?
What price can you put on having a swimming pool
to enter tain the kids rather than have to pay to take
them to the movies? It's really only investors or
people who don't want to live in a proper ty for a long
time that need to obsess about the dollar s and sense
of adding value to a property. After all, a proper ty is a
home to live in, love in and hopefully not leave.
Talking property with domain.com.au
Four things to know about adding value to proper ty
Buying a unit or apar tment?
Time to get acquainted with
your sinking fund
buyers lead the
pack in 2010
DID you know you could be charged thousands of
dollars for repair s to common areas of your
apar tment building?
Wise and war y buyer s are insisting on inspections of
apar tments because they recognise that once they
sign on the dotted line they not only assume
responsibility for their own apar tment but also for
common areas of the building.
Archicentre state manager Angus Kell suggests
for this reason people should do a thorough check
of the Sinking Fund and the Maintenance Plan for
the proper ty.
"It is not unreasonable to think that some owner s
might put their apar tment on the market if they
suspect they might be facing a future repair bill."
Mr Kell said people considering purchasing older
flats and apar tments as an investment or to live in
should be aware that many of the same faults found in
older homes, such as rising damp, electrical faults,
cracking, poor water pressure , termites and borers,
can also be present in older apar tment buildings.
Archicentre pre-purchase housing statistics show
one in every three homes for sale have at least one
Faults are easier to repair in a stand-alone home
than in a block of flats or an apar tment building which
may require repair s on a number of individually
owned proper ties.
Having the proper ty professionally inspected is an
impor tant investment risk strategy.
FIRST Home Buyers have been knocked off the
top of the proper ty perch as upgraders come
out in force, according to Australia's biggest
Second, third and subsequent home buyers
are now the biggest buyer group in NSW, after
first home buyer s dominated for more than
Stockland NSW residential communities general
manager Barr y Mann says upgrader s star ted to
eclipse fir st home buyers in the June quar ter of
2009, when they were vir tually neck and neck at
42 and 41 per cent in NSW respectively.
By September upgraders made up 54 per cent
of Stockland's NSW buyer s, outpacing first
home buyers who had dropped to just 23 per
cent of buyers.
Mr Mann said the same trend had emerged on
a local level.
"In the past 12 months, second or subsequent
home hunters at Bayswood, Jer vis Bay, grew
from 35 per cent to 42 per cent of prospective
"First Home Buyers and those buying homes to
retire to have dropped significantly in the past
few months, largely as a result of the
Government's first home owner boost being
scaled back and slightly higher interest rates
adding to the cost of mor tgages in the last
quar ter of 2009.
"The increased fir st home buyer activity we saw
in 2008/09 as a result of the generous
government bonuses resulted not only in big
number s of fir st home buyers entering the
market, but also in increasing number s of existing
home owner s being able to sell their first home
and upgrade -- where perhaps they weren't able
to sell previously.
"That has allowed many home owner s to trade up
and become more aspirational in their purchasing.
"We're now seeing a return to our traditional
customer base -- the second and subsequent
home buyer," Mr Mann said.
"The second and subsequent home buyer s are
re-entering the market as confidence builds in
"Investors are also re-entering the market
because of increasing rents and improving
yields," he said.
MONEY PIT: '
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