Choosing the right property for a renovation


There are so many factors that come into play when deciding which property is right for you depending on your personal and family situation, whether you’re looking to renovate or simply buy and move in. Things like location, market research, price, understanding your finances, ‘absolute musts’, the capital injection required to fund a renovation and so on. This is a topic that seasoned renovators could write a thesis on, but in this blog post I’m going to focus on the key design and structural elements that I feel are essential when purchasing a property to renovate and why I chose our Tanawha home and more recently our Tewantin investment.

first impressions last!

You want to start with a home that will provide a great canvas for your vision and style, without the dreaded budget blowouts and delays. First things first and first impressions last! Does the property have street appeal and a stand out front exterior? If not, is it a straight forward and cost-effective fix? Personally, I can’t understand focusing your time, energy and budget solely on a beautiful interior, when potential buyers are already unimpressed before they step inside. The entrance of our Tanawha home speaks for itself – we’ve got lovely black front gates to match our front door , a long driveway and the traditional detail of the entry is just beautiful. Our Tewantin investment is completely different, however it has a beautiful old tree and lovely gardens either side. Once the exterior is painted and the gardens are replaced, the entrance will have street appeal and feel more inviting for our potential buyers. Think holistically about your future renovation, and make sure the exterior of your property has the potential to deliver a great first impression.

Tanawha before photo exterior
Tanawha before exterior renovation
Front entry exterior of our home design by danni
Tanawha exterior post renovation
Cambridge court front exterior before renovation
Tewantin Exterior before renovation
Tewantin Exterior after renovation... Stay tuned

what’s inside…

Stepping inside the property and I’m now looking at the layout, structural integrity and the build in general. Does the property have a layout that you can work with or easily modify if need be? You may need to engage a builder to go over what structures in the home are load bearing, and what can and can’t be removed. Look for cracks, water damage, rust, discolouration, pest damage and open everything! You’ll want to feel comfortable that this property can handle what it’s about to go through, and there won’t be (too many) surprises throughout the renovation process. Our Tanawha home was built almost 20 years ago by a master builder, but not for a client, for his family. Knowing this, I felt comfortable that our house was built with integrity and quality construction. Add to this an intricately detailed floorplan (which I love because it’s different), beautiful high ceilings, Tasmanian oak flooring, solid cedar door frames, windows and fly screens and all the extras that go along with a beautifully constructed, old master built home.

kitchen before full renovation services page
Tanawha kitchen before renovation
kitchen renovation with Pipi and Danni
Tanawha kitchen with a Hamptons style upgrade
Tewantin Kitchen before renovation
Tewantin Kitchen before renovation
Tewantin kitchen after renovation... Stay tuned!
Tewantin kitchen after renovation... Stay tuned!

what makes this property special?

Now for my favourite part! Ask yourself, what will make this property unique in 3 months or 10 years times when you put it on the market with 20 others in your area? What’s the property’s point of difference, the elements that will make it stand out from the pack? I like to look for a few key features that make a home unique and work them into my vision when transforming a space. On inspection, our Tanawha home had many unique features – all the interior finishes mentioned earlier as well as a large pool, tennis court and a back yard to die for. Obviously, these are all rare features in homes these days. Our Tewantin investment, which is quite the standard ‘3 bed, 2 bath brick lowset’, has a separate formal living room and a unique layout that sets itself apart from other properties built in the era. It will easily be transformed to suit modern Queensland living with a large living space inside and out. And it’s got a pool, bonus!

Tanawha backyard before renovation
Tanawha backyard before renovation
Tanawha backyard after renovation
Tanawha backyard after renovation
Tewantin backyard before renovation
Tewantin backyard before renovation
Tewantin Backyard after renovation... Stay tuned!

danni’s top 5 tips…

  1. Do your research – location, suburb identity, age and types of buildings in the area, where the hot spots are etc. (I could go on forever) Before you start renovating, understand who your target market is whether you’re selling now or later. Whilst I’m a fan of a super trendy, industrial fit out with lots of metal and concrete, I’m not sure if it’s the best choice for a suburb that has a high rate of aging retirees.
  2. This may sound blatantly obvious, but ensure your potential new property undergoes a thorough Building & Pest inspection done by a reputable company. This will prevent any nasty surprises popping up after settlement.
  3. The unique factor! What makes this house stand out from the rest? So when you sell your property on the market along with 10 others in your area, you’ve got something special to offer that the others don’t. Keep your cards close to your chest!
  4. Get help from the professionals. Call Steve the sparkie and Paul the plumber. Get Cam your carpenter up in the ceiling just to make sure you can move that wall. Again, this will help prevent any hiccups down the track.
  5. Go with your gut! If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t so don’t make any decisions just yet. Sleep on it and regroup the following day. This also goes for every aspect of a renovation.
danni's top 5 tips

final thoughts…

My biggest piece of advice when looking for a potential renovation project is to ensure you have a clear vision of what you would like the property to deliver, and that the home meets this criteria. Renovating a home is a stressful and time consuming process, but can be made easier by starting with a home that is structurally sound and can provide a great canvas for your design vision. Check out more of our Tanawha renovations here

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