As a vendors advocate I enjoy advising a seller on how best to present their property. I then work closely with the chosen listing agent to get the best result for the seller. Part of that process is making sure the property presents well to potential buyers. The preparation you do beforehand can make a big difference to the price you get at the end of the sale process or at auction.
The trick is to add value to your property without spending a lot of money.
Bathrooms and kitchens
This is usually the hardest area to decide what to do. Bathrooms and kitchens show the most wear and tear so often need a lot of attention. They also date really quickly. However, these rooms can vacuum up cash during a reno if you are not careful. A reasonable kitchen can cost up to $40,000 while a bathrooms can be $20,000. In most situations it will be highly unlikely that you can make that kind of expenditure back so I rarely recommend it. I can’t tell you the number of times a listing agent and I have been suggesting caution when a vendor wants to go down this road. Most buyers want to add their own touch and would prefer to see a lower sale price and have the opportunity to do it themselves.
Cosmetic touch ups
Often the best bang for your buck is in cosmetic touch-ups. A good paint job can go a long way and not cost the earth. Also getting a good garden make over can pay off. Especially redoing a driveway with pebbles or block top. Like meeting someone for the first time, first impressions are important.
Make sure all the doors and windows open easily and do not stick. Clean the gutters and remove any insect nests. It is amazing the number of properties I see with wildlife growing out of gutters and spider webs in every corner. Pressure clean any mouldy pavers and dirty walls.
If your bathrooms and kitchen are seriously unsightly, consider spraying over tiles to give them a fresh new look. Adding shelves and bathroom accessories, as well as investing in new towels and toiletries, are other easy options for giving the bathroom a new look.
If you don’t wish to completely renovate the kitchen, a cheaper alternative may be to replace the cupboard fronts and handles and replace older appliances. Another option is to replace the bench top.
To pool or not to pool?
Some people say putting in a pool is a great way to add value. But in my experience it is not always true. Only young families get good value from a pool and many older people and retirees are taking pools out these days. They find them an expensive hassle, especially with the added onus of fences, insurances and council approvals and pumps that use a lot of electricity.
Second story or granny flat?
Adding a granny flat or a second story are big ticket items that can really pay off or be a big mistake. The beauty of a granny flat is that it’s a potential source of revenue if it’s rented out, which may be attractive to potential purchasers. But I have also seen many buyers be put off by a granny flat (or multiple rentals) as a hassle to manage. If a second story opens up views then it can be a good idea.
Do your due diligence by looking into prices owners of renovated properties in your area have been able to achieve before deciding the best way to add value.