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What you need to know about renovating to sell

By George Hadgelias

The question of whether to upgrade or renovate parts of your home before selling is one that’s a major consideration for many vendors.

It goes without saying, that when selling a property everyone wants to make money on the investment. Sometimes that involves renovating to maximise your return. But which renovations are worth it when it comes to delivering a return on auction or sale day?

Here are the upgrades you might want to consider when selling and those that you should potentially avoid.

1. Consider your price point

When you’re thinking about renovating to sell, it’s all about what return on investment you can get for your efforts. If it’s not going to increase the value enough, you need to weigh up if it’s worth the time and money.

Mooney Real Estate principal Peggy Wilcox says renovations aren’t worth it for many cheaper units or apartments because the potential sale price won’t justify the expense, or because the buyers will want to renovate themselves.

“I’d probably be telling them not do anything to it, because you’re more than likely going to have a first home buyer that’s going to want to come in and put their own touches on the property,” she says.

2. Re-carpet the bedrooms

Laying some new carpet in the bedrooms is one of the cheapest ways to add extra value to your sale price and make a big impact for a small amount of effort.

Mooney says that if you have worn or daggy carpet, re-carpeting those rooms can make a huge difference to buyers’ perception of the property, and what they could be prepared to pay.

“For the sake of spending $2000 and re-carpeting the bedrooms, I definitely think it’s worthwhile,” she says.

“Even just a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference.”

3. Consider ducted air conditioning

Air conditioning has long been a non-negotiable for most people when considering buying an Australian home.

But Mooney says that for homes priced at $750,000 and above, a large number of buyers are taking it a step further and now consider ducted air conditioning a must-have.

“Buyers will just walk in and say, ‘No, I’m not spending that sort of money, it doesn’t have ducted’,” she says.

While having ducted air con installed might not add obvious immediate value, it may significantly increase the number of interested buyers, which could deliver a big boost to your sale price.

4. Upgrade your kitchen and bathrooms

The two most obvious spaces that are ripe for upgrades to add value are the bathrooms and kitchens.

The key, however, is not to overcapitalise. Kitchens and bathrooms are the two most expensive rooms to renovate, and spending $30,000 on each of them might not necessarily give you the return you’re after.

If you do embark on a renovation, stick to neutral colours, tiling and fixtures that won’t polarise buyers, and if in doubt, seek an agent’s advice as to whether the improvements will really deliver the price hike you’re chasing.

“Anything where you’re really putting your own personality into a property, try to avoid,” Wilcox says.

“For example, a lot of people might do a glass splashback, but they might do a red one. And then every person who walks into the property is turned off and literally won’t buy a property based on the red splashback.”

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