After the first terrible experience with engaging a remote builder, I was gobsmacked but at the same time determined to find the people I can trust to get the renovation job done. The other side of me was hoping that I may be able to get away with just getting it rent out as is – a bit less on yield but it’s also OK.

Despite there were one or two parties rocking up to the open, there was clearly very little interest over December and X’mas. Effectively the house would have been sitting vacant for 6 weeks by the time it hit X’mas.

To understand what the prospects were unhappy about, I’ve asked the PM for feedback on the property in order to tackle the pain areas.

A couple of requests I’ve got were:
– Getting security screens installed to the windows to prevent children from climbing the window and falling out
– New oven to replace the one in current oven as it’s extremely outdated
– Installation of ceiling fans

These are not major items so I thought to myself – perhaps the property isn’t as appealing as it should be as I still couldn’t get a half decent tenant after 6 weeks! There has been application from not so decent prospects but I would prefer attracting decent tenants. In this case it’ll be better off for me to get the rent up, and the only way to get it up is by doing some work to get the place tidied up!

First experience with remote Project Manager – Planning and Style Guides

Around the same time I met with another investor who also has properties in QLD and was doing renovation on one of his IP. He was kind enough to share some photos of the before and after as well as how he was impressed by the expertise and communications with this Project Manager he used. The before-after photos looked impressive but more than anything else, the communications and updates was exactly I was looking for in a remote renovation!

That was what triggered me to reached out to Pam Jirapak from PolyPlus Properties – right before X’mas! Pam was very responsive and provided lots of insights based on the photos available online. In first week of Jan we managed to get her into the Woodridge property and she has taken the photos in preparation and planning of next steps.

Over the course of next 2 weeks in Jan we’ve had numerous conversations around budget, planning and design details. When we work closely together I can tell she’s an honest professional with integrity. Also because she has done renovation workshops previously and also completed a number of renovation projects she has picked up some very niche design ideas from renovation experts such as Cherie Barber. It was an eye-opener for me on some of the simple concepts but putting together would have made a great visual impact!

We worked together on finalizing style guide details for kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and external areas around the house – not a small feat! Just so you know what’s involved, have a look at the Work Breakdown structure here for Renovation Phase:

Electrical works and make ready for demolition
Kitchen Demolition
Bathroom Demolition
Rubbish removal
Left Fence installation
Bedroom screens and wardrobe doors installation
New Kitchen installation
New Carpet
New Bathroom installation
Toilet mini makeover
Right Fence installation
Other updates and repairs
Patch and repaint works
Curtain re-position
Door frames and door repair
Steel post replacement
Electrical works finished off
Gardening & mulching
Lawn mowing
Photo shooting & Hand over to PM

And below are some of the style guides we’ve finalized:

Woodridge Transformation - kitchen style guide
Proposed Style Guide for Kitchen transformation with details on the end product to be installed
Woodridge Transformation - bathroom style guide
Proposed Style Guide for Bathroom transformation – note new layout to create more space and more premium feel

We’ve then moved onto timeline and as she had her tradies lined up ready to go she was able to provide me a detail plan which outlines the two weeks work duration, looking at a completion date towards end of Jan or first week of February ?

Transformation at it’s best

The next 2 weeks are an absolute amazing experience with Pam. She would travel onsite literally every second day to check-up on progress, took photos and give me update/reports on progress with photos.

Here are a couple of work in progress photos:

Kitchen demolition & installation in progress!

And bathroom transformation in progress!

Knowing I have a tight budget for this transformation, Pam would be searching online at night for the best deals on appliances or carpets and flick them through to me for review/opinions before going ahead with order. I was very impressed – she was definitely going above and beyond in terms of her service!

Not only that – she would also get her hands dirty with some simpler items. For instance, all the new curtains was purchased and put up by herself. That again saves some cost for me to hire another handyman.

And most importantly – she managed to the team to keep to the budget and schedule! The work was completed to an excellent quality by her tradies team, and the visual transformation is phenomenal!

Again, a picture is better than a thousand words. Here are some before and after photos:

Woodridge Transformation - Bathroom before after 1
Bathroom – before and after!
Woodridge Transformation - Bathroom before after 2
Bathroom – completely different layout now!
Woodridge Transformation - bedroom before after
Bedroom – before and after
Woodridge Transformation - Kitchen before after
And Last but not Least – Kitchen makeover! Welcome to 21st Century lol

And even better news – after the reno was completed the property was rented in 2 weeks time! And with competing tenants too…shows the good work Pam and the team has put in to transform the place completely! Funny enough I thought these only happens on renovation shows on TV but who knows it can actually happen in our everday life too…:)

To-date, Woodridge property has had a very stable tenant who looks after the place well so again I’m forever grateful for the wonderful work Pam and the team has done and the power of cosmetic reno and the visual impact it can bring to a property.

I’ve also picked up some of the renovation tips and tricks along the way which lays the foundation of my knowledge moving forward and opens up the door for my future potential of cosmetic renovation ideas on upcoming investment properties.

Just now I’ve only realized this marks as a new milestone in my investment journey as after going through this process I have now learnt to look more from an angle of how I can be smart and add value to a property by simple transformation or quick wins. This is something that I would have never thought of (or be hesitant to do so) back in my early days of property investing.

Summary of this renovation project:
Total budget: $35K
Actual cost: $31K
Total duration: ~4 weeks from planning to completion

This brings Woodridge property to:
Total cost including renovation: ~$330,000
Current Rent: $400/week
Gross Yield: ~6.3%

Still a nice little performer with future potential to build out downstairs, and a granny flat at back which I can convert from the shed. The future potential is absolutely unlimited ?

As always, if you have any questions about any of the contents feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.


P.S. If you’re interested to reach out to Pam Jirapak, you can contact her via http://www.polyplusproperties.com/

Alternatively, you can find more of Pam’s work on the facebook page. Enjoy!

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