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Good Things Take Time

New renovators took a year to complete their first renovation, but it was worth the wait, writes Joanna Mathers.

By: Joanna Mathers

1 March 2021

Professional photographers James and Mel Jubb have had a passion for property for years. They specialise in house photography, and be it for real estate advertising or design awards, they understand the power of a beautiful home.

It was this passion that led them to buy, renovate and sell a home in the Invercargill suburb of Strathern; a process that, due to lockdown, was much slower than they originally planned.

The 1913 home was dated and unattractive, and the pair knew that the interior would need a major makeover. There was a weird back section to the house that included a shower, toilet and laundry; accessed via an ugly kitchen, which needed to be removed so the pair could subdivide, which was one of factors that went into their decision to purchase the 420m2 property.

They had missed out on a few properties before, but this ugly duckling caught their eye, and they were able to purchase it for just $195,000 at the end of 2019. With uneven floors, scrim on every interior wall, and blue and purple carpet that taste forgot, it wasn’t much to look at. But the exterior was in working order, the roof had been replaced seven years earlier and the plastered exterior was also sound.

More Than They Bargained For

Initially the pair thought they would just be able to do a quick plasterboard job on the property to bring it up to scratch. But a closer inspection revealed that it needed much more work than that.

“We ended up getting a really great architect in to draw us up some plans,” says James Jubb. The architect looked at the house, which had four bedrooms, and decided that one of them was ideal as a bathroom.

“So, the back part of the house was removed and the fourth bedroom turned into a new bathroom,” says Jubb.

Diy Versus Expert

The Jubbs demolished the back of the house themselves, which saved them significant money in labour costs. But they realised early on that they needed to bring in the experts for the jobs they weren’t knowledgeable enough to do themselves.

“We had an awesome team: the builder, the plumber, the GIB stopper, the electrician, they were all great,” says Jubb. “This made the process so much smoother.”

With a new bathroom to create, and a kitchen to revamp, the Jubbs could have been looking at some hefty bills. But they managed to buy a huge amount of whiteware and bathroom necessities from Trade Depot. “We popped into the showroom and bought most of what we needed within two hours,” says Jubb. “This only ended costing us around $9,000.”

New carpet and vinyl were laid throughout the home (sourced from local supplier Regal Floors; the Jubbs chose durable dark tones that hide stains. Resene Black White was painted once the walls had GIB installed, an extremely popular colour choice and a blank canvas for the buyers to inject their own personal style.

The bathroom and kitchen ended up being real stars in this renovation.

‘We popped into the showroom and bought most of what we needed within two hours’ JAMES JUBB

The U-shaped kitchen features attractive white tile splashbacks, white benchtops and white cabinetry with silver handles. The oven and dishwasher are black: a striking counterpoint that works nicely with the dark, wood-look vinyl.

A beautiful, white, free-standing bath is the highlight in the newly created bathroom. Here, you’ll also find a long, double sink vanity unit with black tapware (stylistic echoes of the kitchen), and a large shower in the far-left corner.

All up, the renovation took around a year. The Jubbs were working and renovating at the same time: snatching spare moments after work and during weekends. And lockdown took a fair smack of time out of the equation as well.

In terms of enjoyment, Jubb says the reno “was like a yoyo”. “Some days we really enjoyed it,” he says. “Other times, like when the house had been totally gutted, we would just look at each other and say ‘What have we gotten ourselves into?’”

Stress-Free Subdivision

The renovation of the house was just one component of the Jubb’s master plan for the property. Subdivision was another part of their investment vision: this was also a slow process.

They first had to demolish the back of the house and also remove a large shed that was located in the backyard. But the consent process was smooth, and with the help of an expert subdivision team, they completed the subdivision without too much fuss.

The house was put on the market just before Christmas 2020. There were two early offers, one of which was accepted, but ended up falling through. Things went quiet again until after the holiday period was over, then interest was piqued and three offers made, leading to an eventual sale in early February.

The house sold for $369,000, with the renovation costing around $100,000. The Jubbs have retained the back section and are now planning what to do with it. “We have been looking at transportable homes,” says Jubb. “We have found one that is in a much better state than the one on the front section, with double glazing, that we are interested in.”

After they complete this project, they are not sure of what their next property adventure will be. “We have a long-term end goal, and enjoy renovating, so may be interested in doing some more property flips in the next few years,” says Jubb.

Until then they will be working on developing the second part of the property for sale, with their team of experts on hand to provide advice and labour when needed.

Builderscrack Subdivision Rundown

For most private investors, a subdivision project requires several specialist, professional skill-sets. Engaging a suitably competent project manager to run your subdivision project will allow you to focus on aspects of the development you’re most passionate about. Dependent on your skills and time available, managing the project yourself is an option - but don’t underestimate the learning curve, diligence and persistence required if it’s your first subdivision.

The exact rules around what is and isn’t acceptable are dependent on the zoning of the land in question, and a resource consent is typically required for all subdivisions. Not all lots are able to be subdivided, and not all subdivision projects guarantee a positive return. Engaging a suitably experienced consultant surveyor early in the process can reduce risk and save time.

Other consultants typically required in a subdivision project include a:
- planning consultant
- engineer
- lawyer.

With the planning and consent taken care of, the typical contractors needed to get your subdivision build-ready include experts in:
- earthworks
- drainlaying
- key service installation, including
electric and gas
- paving/driveways
- landscaping.

Builderscrack can connect you with local, available specialists to subdivide your land.

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