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How To Add Value With Fresh Flooring

A flooring refresh doesn’t always equate to a brand new purchase. Sometimes, a commercial clean can add huge value for low cost. Property Investment Coach Ilse Wolfe explains how to know what choice to make.

By: Ilse Wolfe

1 November 2022

There is a process for assessing the flooring in your rental property, Wolfe says. In practice, there are several things to consider – which go far beyond “just replace it”.

“Generally, we talk about a refresh, replace or restore,” she says.

Similar to a fresh paint job, new flooring can offer a high value add in exchange for a small cost.

This is why it’s Step No.6 of the Cashflow Hacking List – a six-step approach to turbocharge any BRRRR project.

But unlike painting, flooring isn’t the arena for “green” DIYers. Here are a few considerations to get you thinking.

KEEPING THE CARPET

It isn’t always necessary to rip up any and all carpet in your rental, Wolfe says. “If you are lucky enough to get a house and keep the carpet – great.”

In this instance the go-to would be a commercial clean, which can look quite new and is cost effective.

“But – this is important – you must tell the team of tradesmen you plan to keep the existing carpet in the renovation,” Wolfe says. “If you don’t, it will get ruined.”

Professional quotes are usually per room, but if you can get a fixed price for a couple of rooms in one job, you can save yourself some dollars.

And there is always the option to hire a Rug Doctor from the supermarket.

However, if your carpet is frayed, burnt and has a couch footprint – then a new carpet is your only option.

A fresh professional install will cost you about $4,500 for a 3-bed, 1 bath house.

FLOOR DAMAGE

New flooring can be collateral damage when it comes to renovating spaces with vinyl overlay – such as the laundry, bathroom and kitchen.

Be aware of the “footprint” issue, Wolfe says.

This happens when a toilet, sink or cabinet is removed, but the “footprint” of it remains embedded in the flooring.

So, if a reshuffle is a part of your renovation plan, factor in potential hard flooring costs up to $2000.

However, Wolfe says the benefit of newer kitchens is that cabinetry is “deeper”.

This means the new cabinets will cover any vinyl cut-outs around the old cabinetry if the kitchen layout remains the same – and original vinyl flooring can be kept.

DURABILITY THE KEY

In a rental, you want durability. Sheet vinyl is going to be your best option for water tightness, so keep as few joins as possible, Wolfe says.

“Not only is this cost effective, but practical.”

Remember, anything that can lift, will lift. And joins invite water.

But when it comes to the question of “what type?” Wolfe says a laminate plank is a popular choice.

“But sometimes even regular cleaning, like a weekly mop, can send water seeping into the grooves,” she says. “You’re much better getting something smooth.”

Sheet vinyl could be considered “a bit low brow”, but it’s about finding what’s appropriate for your tenant and your wallet, Wolfe says.

“It may come down to preference but know what you start you have to maintain.”

MIX OF BOTH

Sometimes it’s great to have a blend of both flooring types – where possible, Wolfe says.

“Carpet in the bedrooms can be great for insulation and noise control, but you aren’t going to have carpet in the bathroom.

“So, when you’re getting different quotes, ask for different options. For instance, ask for a quote that’s just soft floors in the bedroom.”

Existing hardwood floors may otherwise require sand and polish, often per square metre.

Comparatively speaking, the cost between sanding and installing a new carpet is often the same, Wolfe says.

Unless you undertake to learn then sand yourself.

“But remember, once you decide to carpet, you have to continue to buy and replace it.

“Some landlords will say the timber is the timber floor and it will endure, but carpet you may have to replace.”

Finally, when it comes to replacing flooring, it’s best suited for a professional.

Wolfe says allow for it in your budget, with the comfort of knowing that it’s a relatively low cost for its scale that will result in high returns.

“Unless you or a friend is a skilled carpenter, it’s not really up for DIY,” she says. “Unless you’re hiring a Rug Doctor.” ■

Property Investment Coach, Ilse Wolfe says it is important for investors to know the limit of their DIY skills when addressing flooring.

Ilse Wolfe is Director of Opes Accelerate Coaching Program. To enquire about memberships and how you could accelerate your property investment pathway contact Ilse at [email protected]. For further information visit www.opespartners.co.nz/accelerate. Follow Ilse at @opesaccelerate and @ilsewolfenz on Instagram.

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