Selling a home is a big decision. Reasons for selling your home can include:
- You’re moving to a new location
- You need funds that the sale of the home can provide
- The current market conditions make it a good time to sell and capitalise on your home’s increased value
When selling a home, especially in Australia and New Zealand, it’s important to pay attention to current real estate market trends and know what you are likely to get for the sale and know what’s left after paying out the mortgage if you have one. In 2018, a 3-bedroom house not far from the beach in a Sydney suburb could be sold for almost AUD1.8 million. Fast forward one year later and the same home costs around AUD1.6 million, a drop of more than 10%.
So once you’ve decided to sell your home, any projects you take on must be attractive to potential buyers, but also relatively inexpensive to you so they don’t chew up all your hard-earned dividends!
It’s also important to take note of homeownership rules and regulations in your area when it comes to any type of home improvement or renovations. That said, here are a few projects that you can undertake to make your home more market-worthy.
Raise Your Kerb Appeal
Kerb appeal is what a potential buyer sees as they approach the home, and this first impression is known to attract more buyers. Projects such as painting the fence, fixing the access gate and upgrading the driveway can set the home sale ball rolling.
Put on a Fresh Coat of Paint
After months or years of living in a home, the chances are that the paint has taken a beating from the weather and time. If the value is there to be realised, it’s worth it to put on a fresh coat of paint all around the house, inside and out. Take the time to research which colors are considered trendy and appealing to buyers given the style (and age) of your home. When selling as opposed to renovating for yourselves, consider neutral colors to avoid scaring off more conservative buyers.
Work on the Landscaping
One of the things that attracts the eye of potential buyers is the landscaping. So take the time to trim the hedges, plant some flowers and trees. This applies to the front and backyard of the home. You should also clean and repair any water features such as fountains, faucets, ponds and the swimming pool. External lighting can also add appeal for potential home buyers.
Upgrade the Toilets and Bathrooms
Over time, trends in toilet and bathroom fixtures change. Think about upgrading these fixtures to ensure that they match up with other modern homes. For example, the master bathroom can have his and hers sinks, have separate storage for each and you could possibly even upgrade the tiling. Changes to the rest of the bathrooms in the house should also be considered, making sure you prioritise on repairs and functionality.
Upgrade the Kitchen
Many people love kitchens with space to not only move around when cooking but also a place for people to sit around and chat or eat. They like the kitchen to be the social hub of the home. Consider putting an island in the kitchen if the space allows it, ensure that the appliances are updated as well as functioning and also pay attention to the cabinets and storage spaces. Reduce clutter and finally, a splash of color and fresh splashbacks will bring that kitchen together and ready for viewing.
Renovate the Rooms
Many home buyers are looking for one thing – space. When looking to sell your home, make the home as spacious as possible. Try and make the rooms look bigger by removing non-load-bearng walls to create space, using contratsing wall colours or putting large mirrors in smaller rooms to give the illusion of larger proportions.
Work on Storage Spaces
No matter who the home buyer is, they will always take a look at the storage space in the home. Make sure you have cabinets and shelves in the garage for easier organisation, for instance. If your house is on the small side, you can also invest in having cleverly integrated storage spaces that don’t intrude into the living areas – like under-bed sliding drawers.
For the children, make sure there are large storage boxes or cupboards to store toys, books, sporting equipment and so on. Kitchen and bathroom storage is also key for many potential buyers so make sure those are taken care of.
Fix and Upgrade the Lighting
Gone are the days when lighting was only a light bulb surrounded by a light shade. Times have changed and lighting fixtures have improved. Find out the types of lighting that are popular in the market at the time of selling to ensure you get a return on your investment. Ensure lighting is easily accessible yet safe in the case the new owners have young ones. Replace energy-hungry halogens with energy-efficient LEDs, for example. Use lighting to create a mood that suits the room.
Check the Ceiling and Floors
Over time, the roof cavity is sometimes affected by the weather as well as wear and tear. Check the insulation and look for any leaks or evidence of pests which can set alarm bells ringing for building inspectors and put off buyers. Take care of any mould or watermarks caused by leaking.
It’s the same with the floors. Make sure that old wooden floors are cleaned or even repolished to bring out their natural period appeal. If the carpet is old and worn and dated, consider rehreshing it for an instant facelift.
Climate is always a factor when choosing floor material. In colder areas you would put rugs on wooden floors to make the house feel warmer.
Give the Home Exterior a Design Boost
Aside from the interior of the home and the landscaping, an extra boost to the exterior could see your home off the market faster. For example, you can add an outdoor deck area where buyers can see themselves relaxing with family and friends. If the home has a large back yard, you could add a separate gazebo or paved entertainment area.
How to Keep Home Renovation Projects Affordable
- Some councils won’t allow extensive renovations, so be realistic about what you can achieve with the property you have.
- Look for clearance sales on home improvement products.
- Try and work on what you can by yourself; this will keep costs of hiring professionals down. But bring in the pros to hard stuff and the dangerous bits like electricals.
- Use a free resource like Service Seeking to get a few quotes from reliable tradies before committing to a price.
- Make sure any improvements are going to give you a return on your investment when the home is sold. Avoid extravagant changes to the home which can’t be recouped in the current market.