If you’re thinking about renovating to sell or rent, there are many questions to ask yourself. Where can I make the most impact and gain the highest return? Should I tackle every room or make one room the focus?
Heart of the house
If there’s one room that has the highest impact, it’s the kitchen according to real estate agents.
As the heart and soul of the house, it’s where a lot of families spend most of their time. Even by making a minor change such as swapping out the cabinet doors or modifying the backsplash, you could potentially add thousands to the valuation of your property.
Keeping the kitchen light and neutral and avoiding bold colours will assist with the saleability of your home, ensuring that buyers aren’t turned off by the colour scheme.
If you’re changing plumbing fixtures like the sink and taps, it’s easy to get carried away by the latest trends in gold, gun metal and rose gold. But don’t forget you’re renovating to sell or rent, it’s not your forever home, and chrome is timeless, elegant and a lot cheaper. Having chrome instead of a gold tap at the sink will not affect your sale price, for example.
Modernising the bathroom (master or ensuite) can also add significant value to your home. Whether it’s a complete renovation or smaller changes such as replacing the shower glass, vanities or fittings, updating a bathroom can drastically improve the perception of buyers. Beware, bathrooms can be one of the most costly rooms to renovate especially if you want a new design (which may affect location of pipes and electricals), so it may be worth considering if you can make a big improvement while keeping the current plumbing layout.
Adding the finishing touches that may have been missing from your home can add a sense of luxury to your property. This includes light fittings, window treatments and carpets which add more intrinsic value, where a buyer or renter can imagine themselves moving straight into the home.
If you’re renovating on a budget, spend your money where the results can be seen. You want your investment to be noticed and it can be better to focus on one area to make it a point of difference. For instance, installing a new ducted cooling system may not have as much impact as cosmetic changes that improve the appearance and façade of the property.
What’s behind that wall?
If you have a larger budget, knocking down a wall or two to create an open plan design could move your property into a higher price bracket. Do you have a wall that could come down to transform your dining/kitchen area, or turn your master bedroom into a master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite?
Who’s the buyer?
Agents also recommend researching your local market and who is looking in the area. Are there more families looking for a larger living room/kitchen or a separate theatre/games room? Or are there more downsizers looking for a master bedroom on the ground floor?
Understanding what people are looking for will help you invest wisely and secure a better result in the end. Look at recently sold properties and the marketing descriptions of listings, to see what the hot buttons are in your suburb.
Do you need to renovate at all?
This is the most important question. Some buyers prefer a ‘renovator’s delight’ – an unrenovated property so they can add their own style to it and make changes that meet their particular needs. Others don’t want to do any renovation, they want a home that is ready to move in and enjoy as-is. In such a tight rental market, tenants are looking to move into homes as soon as possible, so taking the time to renovate might leave you further out of pocket in lost revenue.
If you have a desirable location, you may not need to renovate to fetch a good sale or rental price. You may actually find yourself out-of-pocket if you do so, given the rising cost of materials and trades, and the impact of almost-guaranteed delays in the renovation process. REIWA’s Agent Finder can help to find agents in your area who know exactly what buyers are looking for in a property and can advise on the best way to spend your money.