A smart renovation will almost always add value to your home but be warned – it’s also easy to overcapitalise. That wine fridge and rose gold tap you just had to have, can blowout the budget and if you’re planning to sell, cost you in the long run.
“I think the most important thing for an owner when they are renovating, if they are going to sell, is it needs to be very neutral to suit the general market. Don’t go overboard on expensive fittings because the reality is you probably wont get the money back,” says Reno Addict resident expert and award-winning real estate agent Mark Foy. “I think a lot of the time homes don’t need to be renovated they just need new carpet, new floorboards, new paint, to be professionally styled and they will sell very well.”
So, before you strap on a tool belt or call in the trades, here’s a room-by-room list of what to consider.
Kitchen: A contemporary kitchen is very appealing but according to Mark it’s not always necessary. “If the house is half-done then I would renovate the kitchen but if the house needs a full makeover then I’d leave it to the new owners.” Mark also warns against extravagant fittings, which can be overlooked by buyers.
Bathroom: Adding an extra bathroom requires council approval but if you have the space, you could reap a huge reward! “If you have one and you can add a second bathroom that will make a huge difference,” said Mark however “if you have two already and you want to add a third, it wont make as big an impact.” As for updating an existing bathroom, Mark says the same rule applies as the kitchen. “If the rest of the house is done, do it. If the house is a dump, leave it for the new owners.”
Home office: A small bedroom is more appealing than a dedicated study but if the room is too small then Mark says a “study is better than nothing,” just don’t go overboard with state-of-the-art equipment.
Deck: An outdoor entertaining space is a guaranteed winner in this country, especially when it’s undercover. “If you can have a deck with an awning, rather than a deck without, that’s a big value adder. Just a little awning – two metres squared – so if you come home and you’re at the back door fiddling with your keys, you’ve got some cover.”
Dual living quarters: “100%!” value adder says Mark, “particularly with people looking after their Mums and Dads at home that’s a huge one, or even having a teenage retreat.”
Flooring: Mid-range timber floorboards make a home feel more luxurious and in turn, more appealing to buyers. “It’s a bit more expensive than carpet but it makes the space feel larger,” said Mark.
Natural Light: Light is one of the most desirable aspects of a home’s design. “If you can open the property up so it gets more light; atriums, skylights, even reflective light is important, this will add value to your house.”
When you’re ready to sell, selecting an agent that has good buyer relationships in the area can bump up the price. “It’s not about adding a brass tap, it’s about a feeling when buyers walk into the place. They have to be welcomed by the agent and that’s what will make people pay the right price,” said Mark.
And at the end of the day, renovation or not, it can all come down to market conditions. “At the moment in Surry Hills the market is red hot, there’s no stock around. It doesn’t matter what you do, you could rip the place up and it’d still sell well. But in normal market conditions, you need to be very careful about where you spend your money to make sure the renovation doesn’t cost you.”