An incredible renovation that’s turned a dump to deluxe family living is set to add up to $250,000 to the value of a Herne Hill house in just two years.
Electrician Michael Mele has completed all the work on the three-bedroom house at 43 Rix St and listed the property with a price guide of $600,000 to $650,000.
It’s a massive contrast to what Mr Mele saw when he stepped inside the house on the morning of the auction in February, 2018.
He said the property was littered with rubbish and had cigarette and black mould staining the walls when he snapped it up for $397,000.
Now, the house features a large, open-plan living, dining and kitchen area on a concrete floor, with a feature 3.6m reclaimed timber kitchen island bench.
“Originally what I did is strip it back as much as I could to bare bones and then start again,” Mr Mele said.
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He sat down with a mate then training as an architect to draw up extension plans (which were finalised by a draftsman and presented to council). Girlfriend Emily Clarke and her sister also helped with the project, he said.
The extension’s value was estimated at $49,000.
“My plan was to live in it for a few years and then sell it,” he said.
“To make it a family home, because it’s close to Rix St Kindergarten and Clonard College and Herne Hill is such an up and coming family area.
“I wanted the back extension to have as big a window as possible so if you were cooking you could watch the kids in the backyard.
“It fills that room with sunlight.”
Mr Mele used 12 years construction industry experience, taking a month off work to act as project manager and labourer, ordering trusses, excavating for the slab and plumbing, but engaged a builder and plumber to handle the structural build.
“I took a month off work and laboured for them. That was hard yakka, but they worked through every 40 degree day because they knew I was doing the labouring,” he said.
The key was to be smart about the renovation, given renovated homes in the suburb were selling in the $600,000 to $700,00 range, he said.
“So you can’t over-capitalise. It’s quite expensive to do extensions. If you were to engage a builder (to do the lot) you would not turn the house around for a profit,” he said.
Mr Mele said a need to find space for cars and a boat stored at his dad’s house forced the move.
McGrath, Geelong selling agent Ricky Forte was a listing agent when the property last sold.
“We were joking with lines we could have used, ‘improve or remove’ I remember, and ‘renovate or detonate’. Just all those classic lines because the house was a shocker,” he said.
The opening line warned “if you are only capable of swinging a paint brush and ordering floor coverings, this one is not for you”.
“It’s been pretty well received so far,” Mr Forte said.
“It’s a Geelong West renovation in Herne Hill.
“The majority of people I’ve met are young couples, first-home buyers or young professionals who want a period home, they want the style and they don’t want to move to an estate.”