Home' API Magazine : June 2014 Contents 64
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Chris and Karen Christoff, like many of
us, had a pot of untapped wealth in
the four walls they called home.
The Gold Coast couple have always
loved rolling up their sleeves and
working on their homes and have had
some investment success over the past
But raising three children together
with Chris’s career in IT, which often
demanded 60 to 80 hours a week,
meant for almost two decades they lived
surrounded by a litany of unfinished home
improvements... until last year.
Motivated by other investment goals,
a sudden job loss and guests arriving for
Christmas, they said “enough is enough”
and took on their home’s boots-and-all
Four weeks later they’d made more than
$75,000 from their biggest asset.
“We knew we had the equity in our
house and we just needed to access it,”
But the couple’s flair for breathing new
life into tired bricks and mortar was
apparent back in 1984 with their first
investment, a rundown Queenslander in
the Brisbane suburb of Windsor.
They paid $45,000 for the house,
which had been flooded in 1974 and
hid a treasure beneath its stained
floor coverings – 15-centimetre
The handy couple polished the boards,
re-installed the skirting boards, French
windows, architraves and picture rails,
restored 3.3-metre-high pressed metal
ceilings, renovated the bathroom, painted
the inside and re-roofed.
Nine years later they sold for $127,000
and poured “our nice little profit” into
the property they bought for $150,000
the same year; their three-bedroom
family home in Mudgeeraba in the Gold
About 10 years’ old at the time, the
couple describe their home as “the
worst house on the best street”. Set on a
5134-square-metre block with sweeping
bushland views, they always knew its
dated style represented untapped riches.
“We did make some headway, giving
the house a new kitchen with multi-fold
windows, installed a new bathroom with
a sandstone floor and built a sandstone
retaining wall,” Chris says.
“But it was all moving in fits and
starts around my career and raising
Realising their portfolio was flat-lining,
they “started enrolling in any property
education opportunity that came our way”
and met their investment mentors.
They bought a two-bedroom
Queenslander on a 1014-square-metre
block in East Ipswich for $340,000 in
2012. The deal came with a development
approval for two townhouses.
Last year Chris and Karen started
looking for builders with plans to
develop with a construction loan
secured by Chris’s salaried job, strata
title the townhouses and the house, and
sell one townhouse and the house.
“We had also become interested in
buying in the US, planning to use equity
from our Mudgeeraba house, so last year
we had our house valued,” Karen says.
“But because of its half-completed
renovation and the clutter – we had been
using the rumpus room as a workshop – the
value came in much lower than expected,
“This was the first shock. Then came
the second shock. Just before Christmas,
Chris was made redundant.”
The stunned couple consulted their
advisers and quickly mapped out a new
plan of attack.
Needing to boost their home’s value to
borrow against it, they decided to quickly
complete their home’s renovation and,
hopefully, grow a lump sum of equity.
“We worked out a new strategy: use
our existing line of credit to renovate the
house, have it revalued, extend the line of
credit and then use this funding for other
investments,” Chris says.
“Our renovation timeframe was
ambitious but our home had been a
worksite for many years and we were
tired of living like this.
“So we started last November with the
clear goal that we wanted the renovation
done and the house revalued before our
guests arrived at Christmas four weeks
later; it felt like now or never.”
The pair engaged a renovation
consultant who helped them manage their
They told all quoting tradespeople they
needed to start the work pronto and with
quotes in hand and costs negotiated, an
A-team of tradespeople was selected and
strict start and end dates were agreed.
New doors, architraves and skirting
boards were fitted in all rooms, down
pipes and stormwater pipes were
A FAST RENO 20 YEARS
IN THE MAKING
A less than impressive valuation coupled with redundancy spurred this
couple to finally renovate their family home and gain $75,000 more equity.
THE NUMBERS | CHRIS AND KAREN CHRISTOFF
Property purchased (1993)
Property value before renovation:
Property value after renovation:
RENOVATION COSTS BREAKDOWN
Builder and electrician
Karen and Chris Christoff
MY MOST PROFITABLE DEAL // CHRIS AND KAREN CHRISTOFF
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