***The following post is our way of letting you, our readers know, that with a bit of planning, you too can achieve your travel dreams. ***
How far in advance do you plan your life? Have you ever done any planning for the future? Up until a couple of years ago we had never really planned anything very far in advance. We just took each day as it came. We bought our camper trailer back in 2011. Shortly afterwards I started writing this blog, originally calling it Camper Trailer Travels. The name was one of the things that I didn’t give much thought to and in 2014 we changed the name to All Around Oz.
Also in 2011 we bought an investment property. We thought this would be a good way to add to our ‘retirement’ fund. Later in 2012 we decided to move out of our family home and it also became a rental property. We were quite lucky that we had pretty good tenants in both properties. The rental income covered the mortgage repayments but not the incidentals like rates and repairs.
About the same time we started to talk more seriously about what we were going to do when our kids finished high school (end of 2017). Like so many others, we are pretty keen on the idea of travelling around Australia for an extended period of time. We quickly realised that we would not be able to afford to buy a decent tow vehicle and upgrade to a caravan when we were ready to start travelling full-time.
We decided that while we were both working that we would buy a new vehicle so we could have it paid off before we were ready to travel. As we were renting ourselves, you can imagine that there wasn’t much spare money around. We looked at our budget and figured we could use my wage to cover the car repayments. In November 2013 we bought our Mazda BT50. It will be four years old (give or take) when we start our trip so should be just nicely run in!
SELL, RENT OR KEEP?
At the start of 2015 we started to think very seriously about selling our investment properties as we were not getting ahead at all. So when the tenants in one house gave notice we moved quickly and put the property on the market. It sold very quickly and for the price that we were hoping for. When it came to selling our second property our real estate agent valued it at about the same figure as what we paid for it in 2011.
The house was built in 1995 and it was rather tired and dated. So, we decided to bite the bullet, move into it and spend the next couple of years renovating it. We paid off a fair chunk of the mortgage with the profit from the sale of the other house leaving us with a smaller more manageable debt. We moved into this house in the middle of 2015.
We started renovating before we even moved in. It was as I said very tired and dated but also a little on the grubby side. (It had been a rental for a number of years). First up we painted both the kids bedrooms as they really needed a freshen up. We also replaced the old vertical blinds with curtains and pulled out the old wardrobe doors. We are still to replace these!
RENOVATING FOR PROFIT?
After living in the house for two months we decided that our first project had to be the kitchen. The appliances were the original ones from when the house was built. Neither the oven nor the range hood worked properly. The kitchen was poorly designed and it was impossible for two people to be in it at the same time.
We would have liked to have tackled the kitchen ourselves but decided it was way out of our area of expertise. We ended up getting it done through our local Masters Hardware store.
As with any renovation we hit a couple of hurdles. When we pulled the old kitchen out there was a lot of water damage to the walls. This meant that we had to get them re-plastered. We also changed the design and style of the range hood at the eleventh hour. But I’m so pleased I did as the flush mounted range hood looks much better than the canopy style we had originally chosen. We also had a hiccup with the stone bench top being measured incorrectly and had to wait for it to be re-cut.
We still need to replace the floors and finish painting. But for now it is a vast improvement on what it was. The blinds and carpets also need replacing. The laundry is in the garage and needs a face lift. All the taps and shower heads in the bathrooms need updating as well.
We think we have probably added about $30,000 in value to the house by doing the kitchen. So it will be a worthwhile investment I think.
As we now have a smaller mortgage we are able to make extra payments on the car. We are getting close to having half of it paid off. Luckily we were able to get interest free finance for the kitchen renovation and we are well on the way to having it paid off too.
We think that by doing some planning for our future that we are very much on track to achieve our travel dreams. Selling one house and moving into another also gave us some extra funds which allowed Brenden to complete his Controllers Certificate as part of becoming a CASA Certified RPA Operator.
What would you be prepared to do to make your travel dreams come true?
DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is of a general nature only. Please obtain your own professional advice before making any financial decisions.