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Grand Plans

Upland Road is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most desirable streets. With average values in the $2 million-plus mark, it’s lined with gracious mansions set amidst mature greenery. The sort of place you’d live if you won Lotto.

There was a misfit in this street of stars, however. A derelict 1960s wooden home, abandoned and sinking into decrepitude. The owner was an old man with no family, who lived by himself, until poor health forced him into a care home.

“It was a really sad story, actually,” says Gemma Ansty, a property investment expert who works in partnership with another investor in the cut-throat Auckland market.

She spotted the home in early 2018, and realized that although it was in a sorry state, it had potential in spades. Neither Ansty nor her investment partner had ever done investment property renovations before (although she had renovated her own home), but they were keen to give it a try “in our spare time,” Ansty says.