IF YOU saw the March 18 edition of The Chronicle's Real Estate Guide, you would have seen a beautiful Queenslander in East Toowoomba on the front cover that sold for more than $500,000.
It featured a massive merbau deck out the back, a gorgeous modern kitchen and an open back area.
The most amazing thing? Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall paid just over $350,000 for it less than 12 months earlier.
The Brisbane couple and self-confessed renovation specialists, who go by 'The Reno Lads' online, has already turned around three Toowoomba homes - two for sale and one to increase its rent.
Despite having minimal prior building experience, the duo of the creative Nelson and financially-savvy Baden has sold or valued each of their renovations at between $50,000 and $90,000.
After selling houses on Edward and Partridge Sts for big profits and increasing the value of a property in Ramsay St by $60,000, the couple bought a fourth house to renovate.
Nelson said Toowoomba's housing market and property profiles offered renovators like themselves a chance to create some beautiful homes for people to buy.
"We've done probably three complete renos and we've got another one that settles on May 15 in Geoffrey St in Mount Lofty," he said.
"Toowoomba is a great market - there are so much developments.
"It's not necessarily safe because nowhere totally is, but it's stable and it's not as volatile in pricing changes as places like Sydney and Brisbane.
"We love building with heritage buildings and it's definitely Queenslanders that are buying it, so we need to renovate to fit it."
In the case of Edward St, the Reno Lads worked with the existing structure but opened up the back part of the house to include a better kitchen, bathroom and new back deck.
"It's very alfresco and it was a big winner with the buyers," Nelson said.
"We did a free-standing stone bathtub and it was a single fixed-pane glass in the bathroom.
"The old smallish office we turned into a master ensuite - we ripped out the old kitchen, but it's about reconfiguring what's already there."
Each full renovation cost up to $60,000, which Nelson said needed to be factored into the cost price.
"We need to have a good margin in case things do go wrong - it's not easy work, getting into summer in the middle of heat," he said.
Despite the hard work, the Edward St property attracted 35 potential buyers and eventually sold for a street-record $515,000.
TOP TIPS FOR POTENTIAL RENOVATORS
While Nelson works with the design and creation of the renovation, his other half Baden offers a level head in negotiations and cost-pricing.
His top tips for potential renovators include:
- Buy with your head, not your heart: Make sure you keep emotions out of your decision to buy a house
- Do your research: There are some suburbs in Toowoomba that you shouldn't renovate in, so pick your locations
- Consider who your buyer is: Baden and Nelson targeted empty-nesters and young first homebuyers, and renovated accordingly
- Set your budget early on: Make sure you leave enough gap in the budget (purchase cost, renovation cost, potential sale) to mitigate speedbumps.
- Focus on the potential: Check what the house could be, and how much or little work would be needed to get it up to scratch.
To follow the Reno Lads on their adventures, check out their Facebook page.
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