Taking DIY renos in hand

Ask any landlord, contractor, builder or small real estate investor, what’s the one tool you have in your DIY renovation arsenal? and the answer is invariably the spreadsheet.

Most property owners with some years of experience behind them have crafted a list of must-do projects as they inspect their latest investments.

The spreadsheet, making up years of gained knowledge on a variety of projects, is the key to that successful renovation.

Peel back the spreadsheet onion and investors reveal the projects that are essential in making the most amount of profit for, hopefully, the least amount of cost.

Especially in a volatile economic climate with the fear of a double-dip recession, property investors and landlords are taking it upon themselves and ‘DIYing’ their projects to ensure they are attracting the best tenants and/or buyers for their properties.

DIYing and the economy

Owners and landlords are enhancing the value of their properties on their own more than ever before. Cost is always the number one factor and certainly the economy has heightened the need to cut expenses as much as possible.

Even though uncertainty in the economy can create buying opportunities for investors – by way of foreclosures – would-be investors need to be aware of the pitfalls those investments might bring.

“Economic times have increased the availability of some projects,” says Andrew Brennan, a professional real estate investor with Brennan Property Investments. “A lot of people who are behind on mortgage payments may not have the money to maintain their homes. So those are the ones you will get more distressed issues, more maintenance, especially if they are being foreclosed on.”

There is a flipside to the economic story other than the availability of potential projects. Landlords, because of uncertainty, are looking to save money.

Stuart Henderson is a property owner and a senior member of the Ontario Landlords Association. The Association has over 3,000 members, most of who own properties of 10 units or less. He says members are looking for assistance on DIY renovations more than they have in the recent past.

“The economy has not been strong since 2008 so more and more landlords who would have normally paid a contractor are now forced to do their own repairs and renovations,” he says. “Doing your own repairs and renovations is really a key point of landlords these days; the days of slumlords are over if you want to get good, qualified tenants.”

To read the rest of this article and learn more about taking DIY projects in your own hands, pick up a copy of our February issue, now on newsstands.

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