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Kyal and Kara: Ep 1 The beginning

30 March 2016

We’ve purchased a 1970’s brick house, with the goal of transforming this ugly duckling into a timeless, beautiful beach house full of character.


We've been looking for an investment property for the last 12 months and after searching the internet and looking every day, we finally found one.  And it came on the market really quickly, so we had to act fast.

We're not new to the property game, so we got our finance through our existing lender.  But when it came down to it, we wanted more than just a good rate.  We needed someone approachable, who could help us into the future.  We know RAMS, and when I jumped online, I found that our local team could come to us, which made it easy and convenient. 

We run our own business, and like a lot of people, we're time poor. So we just needed someone to make that refinancing process as seamless as possible.  

Greg and Lisa were able to give us a good idea of what flexible options were available and offered advice on how RAMS could structure our home loan into the long term.  So Kara and I were able to sit down with the team and have a coffee and they answered all that questions on the spot.  Plus their local knowledge of the area was really helpful.

Next stop - home loan reno with RAMS.

After doing a bit of research, we did know what we were looking for.  We were after a house with good bones, in a good street, in close proximity to the beach.  And a block that could handle an extension. 

This property came on the market and luckily Kara was just searching the internet every day and stumbled across it and then booked in an inspection pretty much the day that it came on. I think within an hour of seeing it, we had an inspection, and we were meeting the agent.

Once we got here, and had a look inside the house, we really realised that the house is not in a good state.  It needed a renovation.  You know those dodgy electrical work, plumbing work. It was literally half renovated.  So it was half renovated but then it had been stripped out.  So it was just like a bare shell of a house, and the things that had been left were a little bit dodgy.  

So some things have been taken away.  There was no balustrade.  There was no lighting.  There's no bench tops on the kitchen.  So for a lot of people, that would deter them away from buying a house in that sort of state. But you know, for us, it sort of work to our benefit because they can take it all with them, because we're just going to strip it out anyway.  

Because at the end of the day, what we really wanted to know was, how much we need to spend to get the house to a state where we can either rent it out, live in it, sell it, make some money pretty much. 

After crunching some numbers and a couple of phone calls to the real estate agent, we made an offer and went back and forth for a little bit. But the main thing was that the agent knew that we were serious about it. We didn't want to play games.  We said 'look we're really interested in it - we don't want to muck around, this is our offer, and let us know how we go'.  So luckily he called us back and we got the house, so we were stoked.  

One of the appealing things about this house was that it had really good access down the side as well.  So it meant that we could do a development out the back and it could have its own access and not interfere with the house at the front.  So that was a big tick.  

It was really good having Craig our draftsman over, because we're able to measure up around the outside of the house, stand back on the street and really take a look at it and see what we wanted it to look like from the streetscape.  And see how we could manipulate the front garage to be more private with the front yard. So it was really good having him on board.  Then we went out the back and started measuring up for the granny flat.  He knows the rules and regulations as to where it can sit.

Throughout this whole process, I've just been gathering ideas for how I want the house to look and how I want the  house to feel.  And a really good way of doing that is just like pinnng everything I see that I like to Pinterest.  Then stepping back and looking at it all and you can really start to get a feel for what the house is going to look like.

Now that Kara and I've basically got the layout of the new house plotted out, it's time to sort of tweak it and start modeling up what we want the exterior of the house to look like.  Sometimes I'm a bit impatient and I just want to get it done.  Get into Council.  But the back and forth and the adjusting things and the tweaking is really important because at the end of the day it's a big investment and you've got to make sure it's right.

But we're at the point now where we're happy with the plans. We're really excited and it's time to go.  We're into Council.

So while we're in the council, there is still plenty of work to do.  We can do all the demolition upstairs.  We can get that stripped out.  We can remove the kitchen.  We've removed the pantry wall.  We've supported the roof line above by putting in a big beam.

Generally speaking, it takes council between four to six weeks, maybe even longer, to come out of council.  So in that time we've got heaps of work we can be doing.

Today we are taking out this pantry wall.  I'm just prepping the ceiling to throw in a couple of structural beams.  I've got the ceiling temporary propped.  What I'm about to do is just jump up in the roof, cut out the ceiling joists and then once I've done that we can install our structural beams.  And then we'll tie all the ceiling joists back into those beams and then bang, all this pantry wall can come out.

Kara and I can now move forward and start planning the kitchen and even go as far as picking some furniture for the dining area.

So all in all, it's a bit of an effort, but the outcome is really good.  And it's exactly what we want.

We are really happy with all the progress we've made over the last few weeks, but we are just at that point now where we are ready for the next stage.  

We're ready to start living in a half reno'd house.  So we are anticipating Council to give us our plans back and be stamped and approved ready to go in the next few days, and we are pumped!

And so Kara is whipping and I'm neigh-neighing.

We've stripped the bathroom out.  We strip the bathroom out.  You keep rolling when I say strip the bathroom out.


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