Expert Advice for Adding Value to your Queenslander Renovation from Place Auctioneer Andrew Degn


Hi, I’m Jan Hogarth from PlaceMate Architects, renovation architects in Brisbane, and today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Andrew Degn who, as it happens, we grew up next door neighbours in Brisbane a hundred years ago. But-

– Well, close to a hundred, that’s how it feels .

– That’s right. So Andrew has been a real estate agent for just about that time as well. So today I wanted to ask him the question that a lot of owners ask me, which is what is the value in a renovated property, what sells well? Because if you’re thinking of renovating, you want to spend the money where it’s really going to be lasting value. So, Andrew, what sells well?

– Okay.

– Mm.

– Well, first of all, the person who writes the check is the person we cater for, most importantly.

– So, the master bedroom, en suite, walk-in robe, all those sorts of things are important to virtually everybody-

– Because the person who owns the house, that’s where they reside, and that’s their space. So that’s really important to get that right.

– After that, it’s all about lifestyle. It’s kitchens, living, dining, pools, access to backyard, and then it’s the demographic of how old your children are. So if you have young children, you want to make sure that the renovation caters for those people because you’re working as a parent, you’re doing everything in your living space-

– Mm-hmm.

– And you want that space to be easy and comfortable. So when you renovate, that needs to work.

– It needs to work well, it needs to work to the aspect, the light and air of the home, and how the house is orientated on the block. They’re really important things which, you as an architect, Jan, get right all the time, a lot of people don’t, they design their house to suit wherever it’s facing or whatever it is, but they forget about the aspect.

– So longevity for that renovation, aspect must be right because people who get that right stay in their houses a long time ’cause it’s nice and comfortable.

– If it’s orientated the wrong way, it’s south, southwest, whatever, they sell their house and move on to the next one ’cause they don’t like it. So that’s about aspect, and that’s really important, and then it’s how old are your children? If you’ve got young children-

– You need to have them fairly close to you-

– Mm-hmm.

– So they need to live on the same level and sleep on the same level as you as a parent-

– Mm-hmm.

– Okay? But if you have older children, they move down to downstairs, their rumpus room, their own private spaces, and they need to have a bit of separation from their parents ’cause that’s how they like it-

– Mm-hmm.

– And the parents need somewhere where their friends and family can come and actually enjoy a space which is a bit away from where they are as they’re getting older.

– Mm-hmm.

– So if you can incorporate all those things into a design and a renovation at the right time of life, say your kids are 10 or 12, or 1 and 3 years old, one of them is becoming a teenager-

– Mm-hmm.

– You come and design the house, get the aspect right, get the orientation right, spend all the money on the house, and you can stay there for 15 to 20 years-

– Yep.

– And you’re happy. And then, what people don’t realize is once their kids leave home-

– Mm.

– And they stay in that house long enough, in their big house, guess what happens?

– The kids don’t go away, or they come back. Yes.

– They go away, and then they come back.

– Yeah.

– And then they come back with what?

– Their own baby, yes.

– Exactly. So if it’s designed well, it gets generational-

– Yes.

– And that house has a long-term value. And I’ve seen lots of people sell their beautiful big home that was renovated, go into an apartment, go, “This is not for us.” Their grandkids arrive, can’t bring the grandkids in there, they can’t scream, they can’t go in the pool-

– Mm-hmm.

– Even when COVID, they couldn’t even go and visit their parents, and I’ve had people even buy their old home back because that’s the home that their kids loved and wanted to bring their kids to Grandma and Grandad’s house.

– Not to mention body corporate fees.

– Body corporate fees-

– And the dog.

– And the dog, and all the things that life is-

– Mm-hmm.

– You lose when you go into an apartment.

– Now, I noticed that you didn’t mention cars.

– Cars, okay.

– Yeah.

– Cars are really important to some people and less important to others. But depending on who you are-

– Mm-hmm.

– So, before you have children, cars are really important, so are dogs.

– Mm-hmm.

– Once you have kids, don’t worry about the car, get us a Tarago.

– Mm-hmm.

– If you have 5 kids, no worries-

– Mm-hmm. Don’t worry about that so much.

– And then when the kids are gone, you wanna buy a nice car again, okay?

– Right, okay.

– So car parking is important-

– Mm.

– But not critical.

– That’s interesting. Now what about the type of finishes that you put in the kitchen? So this is something that I deal with that people seem to have a lot of angst about getting it to be a really high quality kitchen. Is that going to make a difference in the lasting value of a property?

– Okay, design and form is the most important thing.

– Mm-hmm.

– So, like I mentioned when I started, master bedroom’s gotta be right, walk-in robe is really important, en suite’s really important.

– Mm-hmm.

– So once that’s done, you come into the kitchen/living space.

– Mm-hmm.

– So, eat-in kitchen, lounge, dining, a little bit like what we’ve got here, this type of arrangement which you’ve designed, is absolutely perfect.

– Mm-hmm.

– The design, and form, and space, much more important than an appliance.

– Mm-hmm.

– Okay? Because the appliances get old and they get redone in the future.

– Mm-hmm.

– Everyone used to have gas once, gas is the thing, now it’s all induction, so it’s all gone anyway.

– Mm-hmm.

– After 5/10 years.

– Now the other thing that happens sometimes, with renovations, is that you have an old Queenslander, and then out the back you decide to build something new and you decide to go, oh, well there’s trends with this kind of thing-

– Yeah.

– And over the years things come and go.

– Sure.

– But often, I mean, if you look at magazines for instance, there’s a Queenslander and there’s this really trendy, cool extension out the back-

– Mm-hmm.

– Which looks really cool, how do those hold up as value in, like, 10 to 15 years if you were gonna renovate and then sell?

– Okay, this is a really good question too. So, at one stage there was the traditional renovation where it all had to be exactly as it should be. Like, we’re renovating this house, we’re raising it, it needs to be all VJs downstairs, it needs to be exactly the same as upstairs, and it needs to be perfect.

– Mm-hmm.

– That’s the purest, that person is a rare fish now.

– Right.

– Because modern experiences say-

– Mm.

– We want modern things-

– Yes.

– We’re a new generation, we want lifestyle-

– Mm-hmm.

– We want our television in the right spot, we want our couches to work properly, and we want our light and air, and we want space.

– Mm-hmm.

– So the traditional classic Queenslander house was in general a little bit dark, had smaller windows-

– Mm-hmm.

– And that sort of thing is out. There is a purist who’ll buy them, and only buy those, but the rest of the population, 80%, want lifestyle.

– Mm-hmm.

– Ideally, you should tie the two houses together so they’re not sticking out like a sore thumb, like a modern, you know, colorbond box on the back.

– Yeah.

– It’s not ideal.

– The black box.

– The black box, not ideal.

– Mm-hmm.

– But the form of the black box, well-

– It depends, doesn’t it?

– It depends.

– Yeah.

– But if you can incorporate, and expand on the colonial idea of windows, and doors, and beautiful things, a bit like what you’ve done here-

– Mm.

– Where you’ve got nice sliding doors, and windows, and let the light in, this is a much better solution-

– Mm.

– Than the ultra modern box on the back.

– Now something else you didn’t say is, “Oh, just design for street appeal.”

– Street appeal, street appeal.

– I mean, you know, like, as an agent-

– Correct .

– I would’ve thought you’d say that first, but you didn’t.

– Okay.

– Yeah, yeah.

– No, no, well I didn’t. Street appeal is one thing.

– Yes.

– But once you get inside the house, people wanna live in the house. So street appeal is good-

– Yes.

– But it’s gotta be attractive, if you put, you know, stucco your house and make it look like the early Australians did-

– Yeah.

– And ruin it .

– Yeah .

– Ruin a Queenslander but I fixed it, you know? So, that’s not the go.

– Mm.

– But, I think keeping a traditional face on a house is an important thing, particularly for the council too, they want the streetscape to look authentic to what it was-

– Mm.

– And the market really likes that. If you do an ultra modern house in the middle of a traditional street, doesn’t work so well.

– Mm-hmm. And the other-

– And it dates, by the way.

– Yeah, and the other one is pool.

– Pool, pool’s really important, generally speaking, for all houses of a certain value. So once you get up to the two and a half, three and a half, four and a half, it’s gotta have a pool, can’t not have a pool.

– Right.

– Some people love pools, some people hate them. But at the end of the day, there are family members inside their sphere who will use the pool.

– Okay.

– Little kids, teenagers, young adults, and even themselves now.

– Some people like a swim.

– They like a swim, we’re Queenslanders-

– Yeah.

– We like pools.

– I can’t think of anything else.

– I think we covered it pretty well, didn’t we? That’s right, yes. Okay, so to sum up, go for lifestyle.

– Go for lifestyle.

– Start with-

– Aspect and lifestyle.

– Aspect and lifestyle. Start, make sure the main bedroom is ace.

– Ace.

– You wake up every morning and go, “Sure, I spent a lot of money and I’m happy for it.”

– It’s my sanctuary.

– It’s my sanctuary, okay.

– Lock the door, kids are gone.

– Fantastic. And then that, kind of, flexible living space is always good.

– Always good.

– Never goes off.

– Never goes off.

– And then once you get those patterns right, and I’d say, from my point of view, I’m always looking for flow and sight lines-

– Yep.

– As a way of making small spaces connect up.

– Look bigger, yep, good.

– Which is-

– Perfect.

– But that’s what you’re hiring an architect for.

– Your architect for.

– Yeah, and then the other things are just kind of slotted in underneath that because that’s the core idea, and once you get that right-

– You’re pretty right.

– Pretty right.

– Person who writes the check, cater for them.

– Thanks Andrew, that was great stuff. So, for the people who are watching, where can they find you?

– Okay, you can find me every morning on Given Terrace at the Anouk Cafe, that’s where I get my coffee. But, I’m at number eight Guthrie Street, Paddington is where my business is, on the corner of Given and Guthrie Street. So for those of you who know the Paddo Tavern, my driveway and the Paddington Tavern’s driveway is side by side, so I’m there every morning at 7:30. And if you want to check out the internet, we auction properties all Saturday, so you can find me auctioning houses, and every time you look at the net, we’re sitting there.