By Cherie Barber
A smart cosmetic renovation is one of the most effective ways to completely transform a home on a modest budget. There are many different approaches to take, but you can be sure that paint will figure prominently. It’s cheap, it’s a straightforward DIY project and you can achieve miracles in just a weekend of hard yakka.
On a limited budget, you want to be looking at easy gains for minimum outlay and maximum impact. If you’re renovating to make a profit, as opposed to improving your own home, you need to educate yourself about what style of renovation suits your area: i.e, what do your potential buyers or tenants want? Laminate benchtops and budget flooring might be perfectly adequate for some properties but won’t cut it for a $1 million-plus property.
Just to give you an indication of how much a quick, targeted cosmetic renovation can boost the value of your property, I’ve dipped into the archives to pull out this renovation from 2012. I spent around $2,500 on cosmetic improvements to this one-bedroom unit in Sydney’s northern beaches that the owners were gearing up to sell. But you’d never believe it was such a meagre budget when you see the transformation.
I painted throughout, steam-cleaned the carpets, gave the bathroom an industrial scrub, updated the light fittings and window coverings, and treated the kitchen to a quick cosmetic refresh. For that, I simply painted over the old tiles and cupboards with specialty White Knight paint, resurfaced the benchtops using the Rust-Oleum countertop transformations kit, added a couple of overhead cupboards and updated all the cupboard handles to some nice, modern ones.
None of the improvements were particularly complex, so any competent DIYer could tackle them. And it’s a quick makeover and styling effort that is pretty much timeless. Pre-reno the apartment was valued at $380,000. One week after the makeover was complete the owners accepted an offer of $412,500. Not a bad profit for a few days’ effort. I can only imagine what that Dee Why one-bedder would sell for in today’s heated Sydney market!
–Cherie Barber is the director of Renovating for Profit, a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and renovate properties for a profit.