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Renovating can be a stressful business and it often goes pear-shaped for the under-prepared.
But what about someone who has completed a whopping 110 renovations?
How does a renovator even survive that many and what are the main lessons from more than a tonne of property projects?
Naomi Findlay has seen it all during her lengthy renovation career and says the number one trap for would-be renovators is using the same strategy on every single project.
“The biggest thing is: nothing about renovation is a one-size-fits-all strategy,” she says.
“There are templates, systems, formulas, and there are tools and there are processes, but what you do in one house you can’t automatically take across and cookie-cut on to another because when you do that you’ll miss value.”
Findlay does have a formula which she follows rigidly with each potential renovation but it’s one that takes into account the uniqueness of each property as well as market conditions and the buyer target.
“Regardless of how many I’ve done, I still follow my formula because there is no emotion in a formula,” she says.
“You input the data and you get the same results every time. It’s about not being complacent. “
A reno myth that has long existed, Findlay says, is that there is a some kind of magic renovation profit percentage template.
She says too may novice renovators try to stick rigidly to a percentage template, such as spend $50,000 to make $150,000.
Instead, she says, they should be considering how much money they are willing to walk away with as profit from the renovation.
“It’s about being really clear about your goals from the renovation and then you can literally do the math,” she says.
“Some people, for example, might be completely outsourcing their renovation and doing four a year and walking away with $20,000 from each one.
“That’s an extra $80,000 and if they have an amazing team they won’t be doing much.”
Full-time renovators might aim for a $50,000 profit per reno, Findlay says, and complete two or three a year.
Price variations across the country – including the cost of trades – also made a percentage template unlikely to work, she says.
Findlay says many would-be renovators also waste time searching for the “perfect renovator”, when it doesn’t actually exist.
She says the best project for her is literally one that fits within her strategy and is in the location that she’s clearly identified as a renovation prospect patch.
“If you have a really clear idea about the property that you’re going to be renovating, all of a sudden they’re everywhere,” she says.
“But if you just go, ‘I’m going to renovate in Annerley’, if you’re not going to be clear on the type of property you’re looking at – is it a unit, a brick cavity, a weatherboard, a Queenslander – all of sudden you’ll be swimming around in this pot of soup and you won’t find any properties.” Five traps for novice renovators, according to Naomi Findlay:Adopting a one-size-fits-all strategySearching for the “perfect renovator”Not actually liking renovatingBelieving a magic renovation profit percentage template existsNot having a good team behind them