You can easily fritter away money on so-called “improvements” that actually do very little to bump up the value of your property.
For example, spending a fortune on custom-made items when something off the shelf would have served the purpose just as well. Or racking up thousands of dollars in plumbing and electrical costs for works that no one will see and perhaps weren’t even necessary anyway (think completely changing a bathroom and kitchen layout when the current layout was fine).
If you’re renovating for profit, your goal is to make targeted changes that deliver maximum impact for minimum spend with your renovations.
Here are 10 changes that I believe always fundamentally improve the look and feel of a property, add the greatest perceived value and shouldn’t break the bank.
1. Reconfigure to add a room
If you ruin the whole flow of a house to create additional smaller rooms, then you’ve probably just devalued that property. However, some layouts actually lend themselves quite easily to a rejig that creates an extra bedroom. It might be a disused dining room you can convert or some dead space somewhere that you can reclaim and turn into a small bedroom. And an extra bedroom can add tens of thousands of dollars to the price of a property. Just be careful you don’t destroy large rooms to create rooms so small you can’t swing a cat in there.
2. Take down walls to make open plan
Contemporary living is all about open plan, so always look for practical ways to open up boxy living spaces. It might be a wall between a kitchen and dining area, or a whole series of little spaces you can open up to make one, spacious free-flowing area.
3. Create indoor/outdoor flow
The ideal is to have your open-plan indoor spaces effortlessly flowing outdoors, so it’s almost like one big indoor/outdoor room. However, if that’s not possible, then even just creating a really inviting, shady outdoor area that is easily accessible from the house is a real bonus. It could be adding a deck or transforming a scruffy courtyard into something special.
4. Maximise natural light
No one likes living in darkness or having to leave the lights on during the day, so capitalise on any opportunity to let in natural light. Trim outside branches that are placing a room in shade; put in skylights; and change window dressings to let in the light (micro venetians are perfect, as you can easily adjust to gently filter or flood the place with light, yet still have privacy).
5. bathroom and kitchen RENOVATIONS ARE KEY
These can be expensive projects, as they’re traditionally trade-intensive and need a lot of new fixtures, but money well spent, as kitchens and bathrooms definitely sell. Just be careful not to overcapitalise. If you can get away with minor cosmetic changes, like updating tiles, benchtops, appliances, etc, rather than gutting the whole lot and starting from scratch, you can save a lot of money but still get a great uplift in value.
6. Paint throughout
This one is a no-brainer. It’s the cheapest, easiest and most effective way to transform any property. Choose neutral colours, to be on the safe side, and good quality paint that lasts the distance.
7. Polish up the floorboards
Beautiful, glistening floorboards in a warm timber will always lift a property. And sometimes they’re just sitting there under daggy carpets waiting to be brought to life. Sanding and polishing existing floorboards is a surefire winner.
8. Improve the lighting
Restaurants, bars and hotels have long understood the importance of lighting and just how much it contributes to the mood of a place. If you have gloomy or harsh lighting, it can be a mood killer. Think about smart feature lighting for wow factor and practical task lighting in places like kitchens and bathrooms.
9. Provide off-street parking
In congested, inner city hubs, there’s a low expectation of off-street parking, as many people choose not to own a car and rely on public transport and taxis instead. In other areas, off street parking is the norm, and if you don’t provide it, your property is at a disadvantage. That’s when it’s a real plus if you have the opportunity to create some kind of parking on your property.
10. Increase street appeal
First impressions count; so a clean, tidy and attractive facade is of utmost importance. Make sure external colours are fresh and modern, and that gardens and lawns are neat, tidy and not overgrown. Hire a pressure cleaner to hose down driveways and paths; it’ll remove years of built-up grime! Top it off with modern accessories like an external light and letterbox.
Be sure to watch my video on some of the ways you can tackle these changes and make great improvements with your renovations.