Tips for Adding Value Through Renovation

Tips for Adding Value Through Renovation

June 2017
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Tips for Adding Value Through Renovation

Minimal Renovations vs. Maximum Payback: Helpful Hints to Increasing Property Value

You’ve just secured a fabulous bit of property in a booming location. Congratulations. 

But what happens now? If you’re hoping to rent or sell, how do you make sure your acquisition stands out from the crowd? 

The following are some expert tips on maximising your ROI and converting your residential property from basic structure to coveted address with the help of a few thoughtful renovations.

First thing’s first…

Be sure of what you want.

If you’re thinking of renovating your property, be certain about your endgame. What exactly do you hope to achieve? Who’s your ideal audience? (renters, buyers, etc.) What’s your budget and timeline? Have these answers at the ready. If you remain clear about your ultimate goals, you’ll be less likely to waste your own time and money. 

Once you’ve decided on a renovation, remember to keep in mind that: 

• A productive goal for overall return on investment should be two (or even three) dollars for every dollar you’ve spent on your development project. 

• A successful renovation enhances a property’s functional space area and improves its general aesthetic. 

• A good renovator looks for methods of adding perceived value to a structure via cosmetic alterations as opposed to increasing the actual value by overspending.

• Any renovations you make should be instantly perceivable to any prospective buyers.

• Reactions to renovations are often personal and emotional rather than practical. You may not need to spend a lot to impress potential residents. 

Next up…

Arriving at a decision to renovate is one thing, but knowing where and how to begin is quite another. At a loss, as to the best way to start? Try these options on for size…

Ideas for Beautifying Your Exterior

Refresh your façade. Lend your residential property a sense of style and modernity by fixing its “face.” Simple external cleaning can go a long way towards making your structure look more attractive, as can repaving your driveways or recolouring your roof. Smaller, cosier details can also be instrumental in piquing a buyer’s interest and inspiring a sense of belonging. These little additions can include fretwork, finials, gables and even letterboxes. 

If your façade needs a more drastic overhaul, you may want to invest in a cement render makeover (that is, the application of a mixture of cement and sand to your existing exterior material). This service can yield up to a ten-to-one return and is an easy way to give your property a younger, healthier look. 

Add a dazzling coat of paint. Or indeed any coat of paint at all. A new layer of colour can translate into thousands of dollars’ worth of added value should you decide to sell. Be careful which colours you choose, however. Walls should always appear fresh and contemporary, but it’s essential to select colours that won’t phase out of fashion in a few years. Muted earth tones and softer greens and blues are always a safe bet.

Make your garden grow. You can never go wrong with a neatly manicured lawn. Your all-important front yard can be nicely rejuvenated with the addition of some well-placed plants, flowers, woodchips or pebbles, while your backyard can be greatly improved with some tasteful shrubbery, beds of grass or even a few trees (should you be so inclined). Appropriate gardening techniques can help you pull off the unique trick of adding a sense of wide-open space while maintaining a feeling of secluded privacy. Renovation guru Cherie Barber says good landscaping is essential for property owners as it provides the property—the real estate masterpiece—with a beautiful “frame” for display. 

Take the fun outside. An outdoor enclosure like a patio or pergola can increase property value by instantly tugging at the heartstrings of prospective buyers and conjuring images of festive family gatherings on the back lawn. Such outdoor structures also promote greater ROI because they add to the liveable space (i.e., measurable square metreage) on your land. Plus, today’s patio models can be outfitted with luxurious features such as protective blinds and rotating roof panels.

Thoughts on Upgrading Your Interior

Modernise your kitchen and bathrooms. A kitchen has special powers: It can seal a deal or send your buyers elsewhere, depending on how up-to-date or in style it appears. If your kitchen fixtures look a few decades old, it’s time to begin re-fitting. New materials and appliances are also highly advisable if you’re looking to catch the eye of a discerning prospective. But be weary of overstepping. A sensible kitchen renovation should account for just two per cent of your property’s total value. 

Similarly, your bathrooms should each take up around 1.5 per cent of your overall value if you opt for renovations. Bathroom upgrades that can yield maximum value for your property, include re-tiling (note: Larger tiles will read as more elegant and expensive, even though they cost the same as smaller ones), installing a new shower screen and investing in modern basins, taps or toilets. 

Break barriers. A floor plan with several isolated rooms is a decidedly outdated architectural theme. According to Cherie Barber, renovated homes that utilise communal, open floor plans stand to “attract widespread demand” on the market. Knocking down a few walls and allowing your kitchen, living and dining rooms to blend into one another can contribute to your home’s general desirability and promote an immediate uptick in value. Be aware, though: Not every wall is created equal. Load bearing walls that help distribute the weight of your property’s skeletal structure will cost extra to remove. You should only undertake this type of renovation if your budget allows. 

Multiply. One single additional bedroom can mean tens of thousands of dollars in added value. Think about it: No home was ever considered less valuable because it had extra sleeping quarters. In fact, the number of bedrooms is often a determining factor in assessing the total worth of a property. But tread lightly; it’s always possible to overcrowd your floor plan by becoming a little too zealous about your bedroom count. 

Expand offsite. If space within your main property is limited but traditional expansion is looking too pricey, why not add to your square meterage by building a modest, independent structure just a stone’s throw from your house? Meet the granny flat: Australia’s popular answer to the home office, the in-law apartment and/or the private retreat. These convenient, multi-purpose flats will require council approval, but they should be relatively quick and easy to install. Costs can range from $30,000 to $100,000 (depending on the furnishings and amenities you choose to include), but the ultimate return on a granny flat investment could net you hundreds of thousands of dollars—especially if your potential buyer is hoping to find accommodations for an older parent.  


As with any financial endeavour, do your utmost to exercise your best judgment. All of the renovations above should be approached with an appropriate amount of research and a healthy dose of caution. Stay within budget and try to allocate funding specifically to those areas that need active care and attention. Don’t get too distracted by the latest gadgets or the flashiest trends—this kind of spending puts you in danger of overcapitalising on your investment. Instead, stick to reasonable changes that combine modern flair with classic function. 

We wish you luck in all your future renovations. 

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