I really don’t watch much television at all, but every now and then I get sucked into watching one of these reality Australian renovation shows. (Damn it!) At the moment I’ve been watching the House Rules episodes. I justify my actions by claiming it’s research for my businesses (my blog here and our property investing). And that’s why I just had to write this post.
In fact, that’s exactly what I want to encourage you to do – use the show as research.
It’s no secret that these Australian renovation shows are scripted and edited to maximize a captive viewing audience. While there are a lot of tears and tantrums to wade through during the House Rules episodes, if you look deeper, you can find some golden nuggets that will keep you on track with renovations for your own home or investment property.
The House Rules Episodes – Lessons You Can Learn
These are the things I see as the major points to learn from this show:
Budget: I’d like to say there is something to be learned about how to budget your renovation. But unfortunately as we are never told what the teams have to use as a budget, I’ll have to pass on that.
Styling: The teams usually do a total demolition on each House Rules episode. Not every renovation you do will need that. What is nice, is seeing the completed rooms and the ideas teams have for styling. (Not all of them are great though!).
If you listen to the judges comments you can pick up small tips and tricks that work well in different areas.
Functionality: Look for things that make an area functional (or not). Small things can make a huge difference, such as oven or patio doors being able to open properly; the level of lights or shower heads.
I know it sounds like it’s too simple, so here’s a real life example. Last week I went to visit a girlfriend who had just moved into the dream home she and her husband had just finished building. My heart sank as she explained her disappointment in one particular area…. it was not until she went to put her new furniture into the lounge area, she realized it was not even big enough to fit a set of sofas, let alone the TV cabinet or coffee table. So now, it’s a small sitting area for two – not at all what they had planned.
Colours: Take notice of how different colours create different moods. People get told this all the time but seeing it in action always has more impact. Not all the colour choices on the House Rules episodes have been great.
I did love the colour Antique White that was used on this weeks’ episode, and have used a very similar colour myself called Hogs Bristle Quarter Strength in a cosmetic renovation. These are great colours for creating a crisp, clean and bright atmosphere.
Theme: It’s interesting to see how a theme, or in the case of this renovation show, the ‘5 House Rules’ can affect the whole outcome of the renovation. The ‘themes’ for the home renovations have varied from ‘farmhouse’ to ‘junky chic’, to ‘Bahamas’.
The completed rooms in each house have not always flowed as well as they could because of the nature of the competition. You however, have the chance to choose the theme or style for your property. Run it through the entire home to increase the impact of your whole renovation.
Renovate For The Owner: Every renovation on the House Rules show has been purposefully done with the owners in mind. This is a really important thing to remember.
It’s so easy to renovate for what YOU want. But if you are renovating for profit (and you should be), lots of thought needs to go into WHO will be living in or renting the finished property.
Are you renovating in an area where families are living? Is it likely to be young professional couples who tenant your property? The demographics of the suburb you buy in will have a huge impact on how and what you do during a renovation.
Be sure to do your homework first!!
House Rules – Final Thoughts
Sitting back at night with my cup of tea and feet up has been a fun way to reinforce some of these fundamental rules of renovating. It’s been great to see how much value has been added to each teams’ home and I’m sure you would agree, that despite faults, bad colour or design choices here and there – all teams have ended up with a home that is more functional and nicer to live in than what they started out with.
Although I’ve only done minor cosmetic renovations, I know several people that have had great success with renovating for profit. And I know some people prefer having a structured process that takes them from property selection through to working with their tradies etc.
I’d actually love to do a larger renovation at some stage in the future if it fits into investing strategies. I’m currently working on our buy and hold strategy and starting a property development joint venture, but at some point I may include a structural renovation. The way we’ve been investing up to this point as been super easy, so I’m interested to see if a renovation can be just as easy – or more complicated.
Here’s to your success!
P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts on the House Rules episodes, and on your renovation project in general. Do you find them complicated? Do they work for you?