I often talk about targeting visible changes to your property when you’re renovating for profit, but what are some of the key things that will catch the eye of keen buyers? Kitchens and bathrooms are obvious starting points, but unfortunately they can be notoriously expensive to renovate. The good news is, they don’t need to be. Labour is generally your biggest outlay in a renovation, so whatever you can do to avoid hefty electrical and plumbing bills will slash costs.
Good street appeal is paramount, but you don’t want to spend a fortune on rendering or getting a new roof. And think twice about taking down an interior wall if it turns out to be structural; it means you’ll be up for costs of a structural engineer and builder.
Here are my top five fast fixes to help make visible changes to your property.
5 fast fixes to help make visible changes to your property
1. Cosmetic kitchen and bathroom facelift – Once you start tearing out cabinetry, pulling up flooring and chipping out tiles, you run the risk of unearthing major problems you’ll inevitably need to address. Think asbestos, old plumbing and wiring, wonky walls and any number of unwelcome surprises that present themselves when you go ripping into old properties. Neatly sidestep all that and simply break out the paint: tile paint, laminate paint, appliance paint, benchtop surfacing kit … you’ll find them all in hardware stores and the transformation will be startling.
2. Update the light fixtures – Nothing gives away the era of a house away like its lights: the ugly fluorescent strip in the kitchen or dim ceiling sconce in the living room. Tasteful, contemporary lighting doesn’t cost much these days, so go shopping and then get the sparkie in to cast a whole new light on proceedings.
3. Change the palette – Repainting provides the opportunity to introduce a contemporary colour scheme, experiment with feature walls and gloss over a multitude of sins. And it’s the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to transform any property.
4. Improve street appeal – On a small budget, rather than tackle major upgrades like rendering and painting the whole exterior, or replacing the roof, look at small changes that together will add up to a neat, tidy, cheerful street appeal. Declutter, clean and repair all obvious flaws. Then target details like painting the front door in a bold colour, buying a modern letter box, new street numbers, perhaps some new plants, solar uplights for the front path, and some pots or furniture for the front porch.
5. Inject some personality – Okay, so you’ve gone conservative and neutral in all your choices, which is good for mass-market appeal. However, a little bit of character adds all-important feel good factor. Think a signature artwork, a beautiful potted maple tree in the courtyard, a lush vertical garden on a balcony, a dramatic feature light over the dining table or a wall of eye-catching wallpaper. They’re easy, inexpensive additions that can inject real wow factor.
Cherie Barber is the director of Renovating for Profit, a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and renovate properties for a profit.