Posted in Buying, Home Styling, Information, Property Investment, Real Estate, Renovation, Selling

Renovating – The Smart Way

paint roller with red paint





Our TV screens are full of renovation shows, making renovating properties definitely the flavor of the month.

Renovating can be hugely rewarding – both on a financial level and a personal level. But before you embark on your own version of The Block, make sure you know enough about what makes a renovation a good investment.

Renovating success depends on a number of factors – including the location of the property, the age, size and price range.

Only got a small amount of money to invest in your renovation?  It’s still easy to improve the look of a property on a budget.  If you are looking to “flip” a property (buy, renovate and sell for a profit in a short space of time), focus initially on first impressions – what we call “street appeal”.  Buyers make initial decisions about a property as soon as they see it, so make them more disposed to like it from the outset.

The garden – especially the front garden – is a great place to spend money updating a property.  Make sure the garden is both attractive and low-maintenance – everything a prospective buyer is looking for.

Painting is also one of the cheapest ways to improve the look of a property, as well as to add value to it. This is particularly true of outdoor painting.  A fresh coat on a weatherboard home costs about $10,000 – $15, 000 but could add much more to the selling price.

On a budget, simple improvements to the interior such as updating and modernizing the light fittings and polishing floor boards can make a huge difference to the feel of the home.

If you are up for a slightly bigger job, focus your efforts on key areas that sell homes.  The kitchen is one of these.  A kitchen renovation immediately makes an older home look more modern, and can often add three times the value that you spend on it to the home’s selling price. Update the quality of the fixtures, fittings and appliances and think about how you can create more space.  This is what buyers are looking for.  Replace or paint cupboards and add new knobs for a more contemporary feel.  Walk in pantries seem to be quite sought after at the moment as well, so keep this in mind when planning your kitchen layout!

Updating the bathroom has similar financial rewards but can actually be done more cheaply than the kitchen.  Painting and new tiling are not expensive, leaving you with more in your budget for a new bath or a new sink and cabinets.  Sometimes, a quick re-spray of these is enough to improve the look and feel. Replacing old-fashioned taps is also an easy way to make the bathroom feel more up-to-date.  Quite often I come across homes where owners have enlarged the bathroom by combining it with the toilet.  For a one bathroom home this can seem a bit impractical to the modern buyer.  If you do have your heart set on that luxurious family bathroom, think about how you can add a second toilet or powder room somewhere else to the floor plan, therefore keeping everybody happy.

If you have a larger budget for renovations, you could tackle much bigger projects that will definitely add value such as extensions, knocking out walls to create bigger spaces and adding additional bathrooms.  Outdoor entertaining areas will definitely add value to your home if done well.  Also, don’t forget car accommodation – it’s kind of a boring area to some, I know, but super important to others.  Central heating and cooling are also regularly asked for features by buyers.

Don’t forget to consult an expert tradesperson to help you with these kinds of jobs.

If you are looking to “flip”, make sure you get a building inspection before purchasing – often it is the things you can’t see that cost you the most money.  Also make sure you talk to an experienced agent in your area about where to buy and what local buyers are looking for.


Karen Taylor Chernishov shares her knowledge on property, style and renovation, helping you sell, buy, manage or invest in real estate across Melbourne's South East, Victoria, Australia. Telephone 0408 991 855

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