Renovation brings more than one reward

THE Coffs Coast may not have as many historic homes as our big city counterparts, but there are plenty of buyers reaping the rewards of breathing new life into these character-filled homes.

First National Coffs Coast director David Small has been seeing the renovation trend emerge, particularly in rural regions where there are still a lot of original farm and village houses that have seen little or no change since they were built early last century.

"I think a lot of the renovation TV shows like The Block have inspired people to find an old house with character. A lot of them come from Sydney and have the money to be able to do it."

Mr Small said these kind of buyers look for all the hallmarks of the early 1900s.

"The original floorboards, fireplaces, many expose the original brick work and wood panel or put panelling back in where it should be. Then it's finished off with the heritage colours on the exterior of the home."

While a passion for renovation can be a costly hobby, Mr Small said it can pay dividends, because - done right - the results attract buyers looking, and willing to pay, for something completely authentic.

He said one of the most complete renovations he's ever seen is the restoration of a former Forestry building in Glenreagh (pictured).

"It was a passion project for the owners; everything had to be replaced to the same era, right down to searching for original timbers."

The home was sold in almost original condition in 2014 for $198,000, following 18 months and a dramatic renovation, Mr Small sold the home for $389,000.

Mr Small said the former Masonic Lodge in Glenreagh and the former Anglican Church at Upper Orara are among some of the other notable renovations in the valley, along with a home he currently has on the market.

"Garryowen was built in the early 1900s and the previous owner had done little renovation. The current owners have replaced the ceilings with pressed metal, restored fireplaces and kept the character of the home with wide moulded skirting and architraves, in addition to as many of the original doors and hardware, as could be retained."

The original facade has also been kept in tact and there beautiful bull-nosed verandas and 12 foot ceilings.

The home has been listed for $1,295,000.

But Mr Small warns renovating is a big commitment you must be prepared for.

"You never know what you're going to find; get a good builder who you trust and have an interest in character homes. Also speak to an agent so they can advise you what aspects of the house are worth spending money on and keeping authentic."