Renovate to Sell

Renovating to sell: How to get the most value out of your home

Renovating to sell can be a vexed decision, deciding which areas of the property represent the biggest return on investment of time and money, not to mention stress and disruption.

However, the global surge in the cost of building materials and scarcity of builders and tradies has seen a shift in the market, with more buyers seeking out properties already renovated, or at the very least modernised.

As such, carefully considered and carefully managed, there are big gains to be made from refreshing your home’s key selling points without necessarily resorting to permits and sledge hammers.

“But before you do anything, it really pays to get a sense of the local market to help you in the decision-making process,” Stockdale & Leggo agent Ryan said.

“An agent with a history of listing and selling in the same area will be able to tell you who is buying, what they expect, and where your property sits in terms of what else is on offer.’

“If it’s an older style property in a street or suburb dominated by new builds or subdivisions, renovating to sell is likely money down the drain. But where buyers are looking to move into an existing property, even if they plan to renovate at some point in the future, upgrading key selling points will help attract more buyers, resulting in more competition a higher sale price.”

Ryan said more buyers were factoring in the added value of securing a house already completed or upgraded, bypassing concerns over costly materials and labour shortages, as well as finding rental accommodation for the duration of a rebuild or major renovation.

Kitchen Appeal

The old saying kitchens sell houses remains true. No longer just a room to prepare meals and stack dirty dishes, kitchens have evolved into sophisticated and shared spaces that seamlessly extend to living and entertaining areas.

Agent Ryan said kitchens could be a deal maker or breaker for prospective buyers.

“It’s the powerhouse of the property and a room where the occupants, particularly parents, spend a large chunk of their time, so it’s important that it presents as both functional and aesthetically inviting. A thoughtful and refined kitchen renovation can leave a lasting impression that outweighs other potential drawbacks to a property,” he said.

Ryan said it was important for owners to consult a local agent prior to embarking on a kitchen redo to maximise appeal and to avoid overcapitalising, which according to the general rule of thumb is anything beyond five to 10 per cent of the property’s total value.

Neutral colour schemes, plenty of storage and bench space, and durable surfaces are key considerations.

The growing choice of flat-pack kitchens, off-the-shelf cabinetry choices and engineered benchtops offer a cost-effective return, although he recommends spending a bit extra to have a professional do the fitting and turning.

“There is no point spending money on new fittings and bench tops if the cupboards are slightly crooked and the drawers don’t roll smoothly,” he said.

Bathroom Makeover

After kitchens, bathroom renovations are one of the more costly undertakings, so it is important to weigh up the return on investment, remembering the rule of thumb to limit the bathroom budget to 2 per cent of the property’s value. This is where a good local agent really earns their stripes. Seeking their wise counsel can either save you thousands or make you thousands of dollars – a win, win.

Ryan cautioned against vendors ripping out bathrooms and starting from scratch if avoidable.

“Bathrooms are a personal space and buyers often prefer to renovate that space to their own taste and needs. Bathrooms are also a relatively small space that can end up costing big if you start to move around pipes and plumbing. Owners often underestimate the hidden costs involved, so if in doubt, it’s best to consult your local agent for feedback first,” he said.

Instead, an outdated bathroom could often be transformed with a lick of paint, updated tapware and vanity unit, and by replacing or painting tiles.

Walls and Floors

Fresh paint and new carpets are often suggested as a relatively cheap and easy way to freshen up the whole house.

“If you do need to repaint, keep the palette neutral, aiming for a shade of white or similar to imbue a sense of spaciousness,” Ryan said. “It’s the same for carpets – keep it neutral and consistent, choosing a durable texture that repels dirt and hides marks. Repolishing worn or scratched timber floors can also bring a shine to high-traffic areas such open-plan living spaces.”

Buyers do judge by the cover

First impressions count, and never more so when you are talking about a property’s exterior. A tidy and appealing front yard reflects a tidy and appealing interior.

“You don’t need to go to the expense of consulting a landscape gardener. Often all that’s needed is a trip to the nursery for some shrubs and mulch, and a little bit of elbow grease,” Ryan said.

Backyards will also need attention if they are too cluttered or too sparse.

“When you open up a backyard you open up potential for buyers to envisage how they can divide and use the space. At the same time, you don’t want it completely barren either. Suitable plantings along the boundary fences that will grow to screen neighbouring buildings is a definite plus,” King said.

So, if a move is on the cards, upgrading your home’s key selling points can pay big dividends. Talk to your local Stockdale & Leggo agent to learn more about maximising your property’s value.

Related More Articles

A Step-by-Step Guide for a Smooth Relocation Moving to a new house can be an exciting adventure but comes with…

Presenting your property for sale is crucial because it significantly impacts potential buyers’ first impressions and influences their decision-making process….

Selling a property can be a significant financial decision, and it’s only natural to want to maximise your sale price….