In Australia the majority of the current residential building stock has been constructed with little regard to energy consumption or thermal comfort. With only 1-2 % of Australia's building stock being replaced each year retrofitting solutions are necessary if residential energy consumption is to be reduced. Australia's records of the characteristics of its current building stock are minimal and outdated and thus these need to be renewed to enable the evaluation of retrofit upgrade strategies. Thus this paper presents a methodology and results of a bottom-up data collection tool that captured building and occupant characteristics from 200 elderly low income dwellings. The methodology was developed to include the consultations of local retrofit installers in which this process provided additional data fields around standard practices and retrofit requirements. By capturing these fields it was found that of the dwellings with suspended floors and no insulation only 52 % had clearance that would allow for an insulation retrofit. Without data fields such as these additional site visits would be required prior to confirming the suitability of a retrofit strategy. Over 90 % of the dwellings were found to be constructed prior to minimum energy efficiency standards and hot water systems were found to be an opportunity for energy savings with almost 50 % of the dwellings using electric storage hot water systems.