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  • jetnelson

Presale Apartment Renovation - Coogee

Updated: Mar 9, 2023


With years of smoke damage and general neglect, this 2 bedroom art deco apartment had seen better days. I had never renovated an apartment before and was keen to learn about strata laws and how to navigate them to complete the renovation in just 14 weeks.


Scope


With such dilapidated interiors, it would be easy to get lost in what needs to be fixed or changed and in what order.

To keep it simple and comply with NSW Strata Laws of "Minor Renovation" I outlined the work into buckets. They were;

  1. Kitchen

  2. Bathroom

  3. Flooring

  4. Paint

  5. Fittings

  6. Miscellaneous.

Next I broke down the work so that it was very specific and prioritised those parts to work on the design.



Design

I measured the kitchen and set about creating 3 designs trying to keep them as functional as possible and all the while asking myself "would I live with this layout?" I chose the most practical in terms useability.

For the light fittings, I kept them elegant and consistent in the bedrooms, lounge and hallway whilst opting for something more economical in the toilet and bathroom.

The colour scheme would be a very light grey with white trims, black fittings and hybrid timber look flooring.

Flooring in a strata apartment needs to comply with the Building Code of Australia in terms of decibel level. Preventing or reducing sound transfer is important to apartments above, beside and most importantly below to ensure peaceful enjoyment.

With the bathroom design, it was tempting to demolish and start again, through as bad as it originally looked, another option was going to be far more cost effective and faster to complete.

Planning

Over the course of the 4 week planning phase, I conducted interviews with builders, electricians, plumbers, painters, tilers, floor specialists and carpenters to ensure my designs were technically possible and get formalised quotes, timeframes and understanding of risks.

After reviewing and comparing the quotes, I locked in the team with dates on when they were required. I needed to allow some flexibility though as it is very rare to have everything go according to plan, especially when coordinating so many different trades and dependencies.

I also used this time to order the various things I needed to be ready for the trades such as tiles, vanity, tapware, fittings, blinds.

In addition, the submission to strata was completed and I just needed to wait for their approval in 3 weeks time. Though knowing enough about the bi-laws now, I knew how much work I could get done and prepared as I waited so that the 14 week timeframe would not be jeopardised.


Delivery

Demolition day had arrived and 2 young lads made light work of all the items that needed to be removed from the apartment to give us a clean canvas. The kitchen, bathroom, carpets, broken cabinets, blinds and more were all removed from the unit.

The next day, the electrician arrived to disconnect the cooker and replace the defective power points and light switches which was important to the safety of any who would work on the property.

By the end of the first 2 weeks, significant progress had been made with patching and prepwork for painting, undercoating and repairs in the walls and timberwork throughout.

Once the strata approval was granted, the kitchen and bathroom were completed with little fuss thanks to the upfront planning that was done in the prior weeks.


A Potential Setback


4 weeks from the finish line, The flooring was installed and looked fantastic to the naked eye. When I walked on it, I noticed areas where the concrete below was not level causing the floor to move up and down a little in a number of prominent places.

I contacted the installer to discuss what would be done to have this resolved. After some discussion, they agreed to remove all of the floorboards from the entire unit, level the concrete floor with 20 bags of self leveling material, and reinstall the floorboards 2 days later after the floor was dry. This was critical to ensure the unit had a premium feel to it for the end buyer and whilst this additional work was unplanned, it didn’t impact the timeline as we had 1 week of contingency remaining. Although there was an additional cost, the budget was not impacted as I had made a contingency allowance. It's essential to any renovation project to ensure there is allowance for things that like this as you just don't know what might occur that needs to be dealt with.



Although there were a couple of other issues that were resolved during the renovation, the project was completed within the 14 week timeline, which included 2 weeks off at the end of the year.

With the final works now complete, the cleaners took just 3 hours to make the apartment sparkle before the styling was installed the following day.


Sale

​The property hit the market and had a number of interested buyers come through the 5 open for inspections. A few made low offers to see if they would get lucky. However, within 2 weeks, a serious buyer that made an emotional connection with the apartment made a significant offer and the property was SOLD above the expected price.

 

A presale renovation does come with it's challenges though when it comes to maximising the sale price, a renovation is the single most effective way to get there. Not all presale renovations need to take 14 weeks, many can be completed in 4-6 weeks depending on what work is required.

If you would like some guidance on preparing your property for sale, get in touch.

 

Engaging a real estate agent BEFORE your property is ready is one thing that many sellers unknowingly get wrong.




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