My sister and I, with the help of our retired dad, renovated our very small one bedroom investment property. The property had been rented out to the same elderly man for nine years and, as you'll see, it was kept in quite a state. We had to do a significant renovation to enable us to get it on the renters market again.
It was a massive task that involved completely re-doing the kitchen and bathroom, painting and laying new carpet. We set a tight budget so that we didn't over capitalise. We used a number of trades but did do a lot of the renovation ourselves and got all our products from Bunnings.
The adjoining living area was very small so we had to try and open it up to make it feel more spacious. We went back and forth with the Bunnings kitchen consultant who came up with a few designs to help us get the most out of the space, which was really helpful.
We came across a few problems such as having to remove the old tiles due to asbestos. Because of our budget constraints, we couldn't have the whole wall re-plastered, but it really needed it as the old the walls were not straight and using mosaic tiles for the splashback showed it.
To cut down costs, we put together all the kitchen flat pack cabinets ourselves rather than paying someone to do it, so that a tradesperson then came in just to fix it all to the wall.
As for the bathroom, it was a very awkward space shared with the laundry, and with the toilet behind a separate door. We knocked down the toilet wall ourselves and pulled up all the vinyl floor. Then the tradies came in and re-plastered the whole room. We had it tiled and then put the vanity and shower screen in place ourselves (the base was done by plumber) so we saved a bit of our budget there too. We were able to make it a lot bigger by knocking down the wall and removing wasted space.
A few other budget options we used in the place was spray painting all the window frames rather than putting in new ones. We also spray painted the light switches and re-painted the cupboard doors rather than replacing them. We used a lot of products from Bunnings that give a very good result and were surprisingly affordable. We got the carpet installed by Bunnings at a great rate and used some harder wearing carpet in charcoal so that it wouldn't show the wear and tear. In hindsight, we shouldn't have used gloss floor tiles in the bathroom and kitchen as they can show scratches very easily.
It seemed like a big project at the start, especially with not knowing where to start, but if you just take each section at a time, tackling a renovation yourself is achievable and very rewarding. The first starting point is doing research to understand which sections need to be done when, and speaking to builders who can give you an idea of what trades need to come in at what point. I put together a project plan to map it out, but it doesn't always go to plan. Focusing on each section helps to not become too overwhelmed with it all while still keeping the bigger picture in the back of your mind. Overall, the project took about six weeks from gutting it to the final result and we were able to get an additional $90 in rent per week.
Before and after
How to tile a splashback
Whether you are renovating an investment property or just want to give your kitchen or bathroom a little facelift, one of the most cost-effective and simple methods is to replace the splashback. For a step-by-step guide, visit How to tile a splashback.