Selecting a suitable property renovation candidate – Part 1

Wednesday, 7th Mar 2012

renovation candidate

Many first time renovators make the mistake of rushing into their first project. They are excited and ready to start and unfortunately end up purchasing a property that is not suitable for renovation. They convince themselves that they will be able to fix the problems that impair the property. Sound familiar?

There are a number of characteristics you should look for when scouting a suitable property renovation candidate:

Similar style

People typically prefer to live in a relatively homogenous neighbourhood, where the properties have a similar style. For example, a run down character or period home in a character or period home area would generally be a good prospect.

Open floor plan

Open floor plans and flexible living are a desired part of today’s lifestyle. The floor plan needs to flow well or an opportunity needs to exist for the property to be altered (preferably requiring only minor structural change). The property must be able to accommodate today’s living requirements, such as large dining areas for entertaining and predominantly double bedrooms. You should always have a tape measure with you when inspecting property to renovate.


An important feature in any property is the ability to maintain privacy and present a pleasant outdoor entertaining area. Being overlooked by adjoining properties is a serious detriment, especially if it cannot be addressed.

Off Street Parking

If it is not available, you should assess whether it can be added – perhaps to the rear via a paved lane or perhaps the front if it does not compromise the property? Will the council permit covered parking to be installed? If there’s no opportunity to provide parking then this becomes a flaw that may make it harder to sell or rent.

Property with a sense of style or charm

Some older homes that were butchered in the 60’s and 70’s by horrible alterations can possibly be returned to their former self. If the property was build in the 50’s through to the 80’s that it is less likely to have any style or charm that is appreciated today.

Natural light

Does the solar orientation of the property provide for an aspect that lets plenty of winter sunshine into the courtyard areas and the living spaces? Is the home protected from summer sun? Does the inside of the home have lots of natural light? Can dark spaces be fixed, perhaps with skylights? Natural light and solar orientation are becoming more important in the purchase decision.

So be aware, although all properties can be renovated not all properties can be renovated successfully and for a profit. Look out for our next newsletter in which we’ll discuss some of the less desirable characteristics to avoid.