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Structural Renovation Tips for Your Investment Property

The rental property market has always been highly competitive; and with so much choice on the market, modern Australian tenants have high expectations when it comes to choosing a home to rent.

However, knowing exactly how to improve your investment property to make it more appealing can be difficult. Here, five of Australia’s top investment property experts offer structural renovation ideas to make the most of the space you have.

Do Your Research Before You Renovate

A structural renovation goes further than just fresh paint, new carpets, and curtains; it may encompass an extension, moving walls, or creating new rooms. There are two main things you should consider before you raise the sledge hammer, according to Positive Real Estate, one of Australia’s leading real estate investment education agencies: will it be manageable and does it add value?

To undertake a structural renovation successfully, you need to research and fully understand the requirements and needs of the market in the area, such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms are desirable in rental properties, or whether studies are more popular. There’s no point spending money on things people don’t actually want.

It is also highly important that the property you buy should be compatible with modern construction methods. Make sure you know all your costs in advance and have all the correct paperwork in place, for your own protection. ‘Time and time again people enter into loose agreements on large amounts of money with no real protection in place,’ say the experts at Positive Real Estate.

Meet the expert: Positive Real Estate is one of Australia’s leading real estate investment agencies. They work one-on-one with their clients in mentoring programs that help educate on building an investment property portfolio and provide sound information and advice for those interested in buying a rental property in their regular seminars.

The business was co-founded by CEO Sam Saggers, who over the last 20 years has authored several books on the subject. Positive Real Estate has so far helped to educate over 30,000 people about the principles of investing in real estate.

Think Outside the Box with the Space You Have

When you consider expanding your property into your garden, what springs to mind? A landscaped garden, or a pool maybe? Before you make any decisions, think about the comparative value they could add.

Granny flats are a great addition to your property because they are completely separate from your own home, despite being built on your land. As they have their own entrance, kitchen and bathroom, they can be rented out as a separate private home or as a holiday let.

Today, eco-sustainable and minimalist designs are especially popular, offering tenants the modern lifestyle normally associated with luxury apartments, says Granny Flat Finder. Gardens can either be fenced off or shared with the main house, which often provides a great social meeting place.

The rules vary from state to state when it comes to permission to build a granny flat on your property, so the experts at Granny Flat Finder recommend you engage an expert early on in the process.

Meet the expert: Visit the Granny Flat Finder website to understand and compare Australia’s leading options and designs for granny flats. The site connects you with designers and builders across Australia, enabling you to get competitive quotes and maintain a high degree of control over your property renovation project.

The ethos behind the website is to change the perception of granny flats as a modern, alternative type of home, rather than just an add-on for an elderly relative.

Areas to Focus on in Your Property Renovation

Structural renovations are a great way to ensure your property is ready for a new tenant to move in straight away. In terms of priorities, it is vital to make sure that the roof and foundations of your property are solid so they can withstand any renovations, advise the experts at LocalAgentFinder, a real estate agent comparison website; it’s worth having them checked by a professional before you start.

It is also worth consulting a good local real estate agent prior to beginning a renovation, as they have a wealth of knowledge about what is expected from a property in your area. Priorities can shift dramatically from one postcode area to the next.

Generally speaking, focus your energy on the kitchen as this is a highly important social space; it must be up to the standard of other properties in the area, so you might consider knocking down part of the wall, or the full wall, to open up the space.

However, overdoing a kitchen upgrade may lead to the assumption that a property is more expensive to rent than it actually is, so communication and realistic expectations are key. The bathroom should also be attractively finished with a high standard of functionality.

Meet the expert: LocalAgentFinder is a leading real estate comparison website in Australia, allowing customers to make realistic appraisals of estate agents, their services, experience, marketing strategies and fees. They offer comparisons of estate agents by state and city to help you choose the right agent with appropriate knowledge of the area.

It is a free and totally independent service, used by over one million people every year.

What if Your Tenants Are Your Family?

Granny flats are no longer cramped, outdated spaces for older family members. They are now modern, highly innovative, independent properties, and are becoming increasingly sought-after living spaces.

Whilst planning permission varies between states, the accommodation is usually up to 70 square metres, but some councils will allow up to 100 square metres – more than enough space to live comfortably with your extended family.

‘Granny Flats have recently undergone what can be described as nothing short of a revolution,’ says Shane Williams from Perth’s Granny Flat Specialists. These days, many granny flats are occupied by adult children rather than elderly parents, providing a practical alternative to having the whole family under one roof, while still allowing family members to share in each other’s lives.

With over 4 million Australian families now having more than one generation of adults living together, a granny flat can be the ideal solution. They are also a great option for those whose children have moved on, as many retired couples are now renting out their own homes and travelling the world, using the granny flat as their base between trips abroad.

Meet the expert: Perth’s Granny Flat Specialists design and build small, independent homes in backyards, from studios up to two-bedroom apartments. They work in close conjunction with the client, allowing you a high level of control over your project from start to finish.

As they only take on a maximum of 20 projects per year, this allows them to offer each client the care and attention they deserve, ensuring each job is completed to the highest standards.

Let the Love (and Light) in

The real estate review website,, encourages you to remember that while ‘you do not hear many people who fall in love with their BHP shares, a lot of people do fall in love with their home.’ Keep this in mind when you’re considering your property renovation, you should be focusing on things that give buyers and renters a good feeling.

Plenty of natural light is something many people look for in a rental property, so incorporating large windows or sliding doors onto an outdoor entertaining area could be an attractive improvement to your investment property.

Open plan properties are growing in popularity, so removing walls to create a continuous living, dining and kitchen area is another great way to modernise a property, advises If you want to add extra rooms, prospective tenants are most likely to be impressed by an en-suite bathroom or extra bedroom.

Meet the expert: is a website that provides ratings and statistics for Australian real estate agents, in addition to allowing property buyers and sellers to leave reviews of the estate agents they have used.

This enables future buyers and sellers to build a realistic picture of different estate agents, so they can make an informed choice of which agent to use. The site currently has almost 150,000 reviews, with a new one added on average every four minutes.

Before you get carried away with your investment property renovation ideas be sure to do your research thoroughly and understand the needs and preferences of your market before you start.

Be that as it may, if you have an idea in mind consider the advice of our leading investment property experts to help make your rental property more appealing to prospective tenants, and keep it fit for purpose for years to come.

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