Okay, some of you reading this know me quite well and are probably wondering why it has taken me so long to get my act together and make this renovation and development happen. Well, in my defence I have been doing the preparation work for it in my spare time, in between spending most of the past eighteen months on the road for work purposes. Any time something like this becomes an optional extra, as opposed to a full time renovation or development project, it will take a lot longer.
Apart from the workload, we were in no rush to get things done as we were living in the house and, at a basic level, it was meeting our needs. I was hardly home anyway so it didn’t really matter to me. Additionally, there was the fear factor. Sure, we’ve renovated houses before; my record for a renovation turn around is three weeks including painting, polishing boards, upgrading the bathroom, replacing the kitchen and carpeting, plus having tenants move in. However, these have always been cosmetic renovations with an empty house. I was living in this house – sometimes.
I guess that whenever you do something for the first time there is an element of fear. I put off anything more than paint and re-carpeting for a good few years when we first started investing. After doing a couple of small cosmetic renovations and talking with others who had also completed them, I realised that if you had a system, good tradesmen and knew where to source items at a reasonable price then it was relatively easy to cost out how much a similar renovation should cost and knock it over in a short period of time. Cosmetic renos no longer scare me. I know what I’m up for and I’ve worked out what I want to do and where I’ll be better of getting in a professional – I’ve gotten lazy, so the professionals do basically the whole reno with me project managing these days!
With this current project, however, I found it difficult to get exact figures for many of the stages. Also, I’m not a details person, as my admin assistant knows. I’m more of a ‘let’s get into this and see what happens and if it costs more than expected I had better go out and do some more work’. Yes, I know that is not a good profile for an investor, which is why I don’t profess to be an expert – perhaps this will be more of a ‘how not to do things’ blog… you’ll be able to measure this as time goes by.
Between not really knowing the cost of the final project (I actually do have a better idea now), having to move out of the house and find somewhere else to live while the work is done, financial negotiations and running a business that requires me to be away for up to six months of the year, I have been able to justify delaying the project. But it couldn’t be delayed forever. With the business expanding, I need a larger office and the old house just didn’t cut it, so ready or not we have had to move forward. Now we are committed, we’ll just have to hold on for the ride.
Part of my reason for maintaining this blog is to help me remember all the steps involved in this renovation and development project for future reference and also to share what I have learnt, which might help you out if you are contemplating a similar project.