Seven best ways to renovate a property to add value - December 2023
December 2, 2023 / Written by Rich Harvey
Ever watched one of the many home renovation shows and thought it looked relatively quick and simple to do something similar?
The actual reality of renovating is that it doesn’t happen in a day, and if it does, there’s probably something you’ve done wrong. It takes a lot of time, money and expertise to get it right, and coordinating tradies can be like herding cats.
On top of that, making smart design decisions that give you maximum bang for your buck while also appealing to discerning buyers and renters makes the interpersonal drama on The Block look like a cakewalk.
All of that said, undertaking a renovation is one of the best ways to add quick value to a property and can deliver significant dividends for those investors who are prepared.
There are seven things you should focus on when undertaking a reno with profit in mind.
1. The heart of the home
Whether you’re talking about a family, a young couple, elderly downsizers or a group of housemates, everyone in a home gravitates towards the kitchen.
It’s where people gather and chat at dinner parties. It’s where mums and dads try to help their kids with homework. It’s where meals and memories are made in equal measure.
Getting the kitchen right is crucial. You want something that’s functional, meets a variety of needs and has wow factor.
But it’s easy to quickly overspend on whizbang gadgets that don’t add any real value. Instead, focus your money and efforts on selecting quality cabinetry that’s durable, appliances that will last the test of time, and plenty of storage.
You can have the prettiest kitchen going, but if there’s nowhere to put your stuff, future buyers and tenants will notice instantly.
2. Rub-a-dub to riches
Investors who think the bathroom is simply a place to get your business done are missing an opportunity to appeal to those who value a little bit of luxury.
Buyers and tenants increasingly demand something of a sanctuary when it comes to bathrooms. They want quality tap fixtures – including a shower with good water pressure. If there’s a bathtub, even better.
Choose soothing and directional mood lighting over blaring overhead fluorescent bulbs that make it feel like you’re showing in the middle of a Woolies.
Plastic toilets are a no-no. Ample storage is a must.
3. Think outside the boxy floorplan
Take some time to examine the property with a bird’s eye view and look for any clever alterations that can be made to a floorplan.
In many cases, especially in older homes, changes in style and design mean there’s unused space that can be capitalised on. I’ve had clients who’ve turned a three-bedroom house into a four-bedroom pad with relative ease.
Sometimes taking out a wall or putting one in can add serious value to your investment by fundamentally improving the purpose and flow of the home.
Don’t go this one alone, as tempting as it is to get out a sledgehammer. Seek the advice of experts to ensure you’re making the most of things – and not removing a load-bearing wall.
4. The way is up – or out
While this is far from a cheap endeavour, adding an extension or a second level to a home can dramatically accelerate both capital growth and rental returns.
The block size might allow you to tack on a bit of extra home in the backyard, giving space for another bedroom, a bigger kitchen and living area, or potentially both.
Some properties also have excellent potential to build up – sometimes without needing to add a whole extra floor, but rather making the most of huge roof cavities. Either way, getting two or even three extra bedrooms is a possibility when you make the most of the free air above you.
5. Let it shine
Nothing turns off buyers or tenants alike more than a dark and dingy property, so make sure you’re focusing a fair amount of attention on lighting.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as changing the window coverings from something heavy and thick to a roller blind with a sheer curtain in front of it.
Other changes you can make include sucking in the sun with a skylight, replacing windows to expand the glass area, or even adding new windows where possible.
6. Bold isn’t always brilliant
When it comes to the colour palette of the home, if you’re the kind of person whose outfits often attract odd looks, consider getting a stylist to help you with your choices.
There’s character and then there’s confronting. Go for the former. You can find a solution that’s better than bland old white and plain without alienating the market.
An expert can help devise a scheme that’s both modern and timeless, meaning you won’t be painting over an avocado or salmon wall in a year or two.
7. Go for green
Landscaping is one of the most overlooked elements of a renovation, with most of the attention tending to go indoors.
Make sure you’re thinking about the garden spaces, which can have a major impact on appeal. Go for hearty plants that can keep up with the area’s climate, as well as something that’s relatively low maintenance.
Research different types of grasses that can adapt to your site, to avoid dead and dry looking yards that are often the result of the wrong choices.
Carefully consider any small but impactful choices, like the types of pavers you use and the style of garden borders around plants, flowers and shrubs.
And a nice letterbox always makes a great first impression.
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