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Home improvements that are worth the money
Renovating your home? These are the improvements that are worth the money.
The government's recently announced $25,000 HomeBuilder grant has got many of us thinking about home renovations. But not everybody can, or should, splash out on a major $150,000-plus overhaul needed to qualify for the grant. Spending more than $150,000 doing up a modest house with little chance of capital appreciation, may mean you never recoup your money should you want to sell at some time in the future. But there are many smaller, more affordable improvements that will not only make your home a nicer place to live, but will also increase its sales value. So what sort of improvements give you the most bang for your buck? We asked the experts which home improvements are worth the investment and which ones aren't. (Plus, the eight home DIY jobs you should never attempt.)
Kitchen and bathroom upgrades are well worth their hefty price tags. Picture: Kinsman Kitchens, via Facebook.
From a lick of paint to a fully renovated kitchen, Melbourne-based buyers’ advocate Nicole Jacobs says there are simple ways to improve your home’s allure. But not all home improvements are created equal, which means there are some you should consider carefully before engaging a tradie.
“While you want to spend time and money on creating your home to live in, it can be done wisely with future planning of a sale too,” says Nicole, author of SOLD! How to Buy and Sell Your Home With Real Confidence, and regular expert on TV renovation show The Block. “It really comes down to what is the price point of the home. What buyers expect and what they will pay for in a $500,000 apartment will be very different to a home worth more than $2 million.”
Lachlan Bishop, sales executive with West Footscray real estate agency Compton Green, agrees it’s important to consider your spending carefully if you’re planning to sell.
“You obviously don’t want to over-capitalise by spending too much on major improvements that buyers might not want,” he says.
A fresh coat of paint is always a good idea.
Five home improvements that are worth the investment
This is a simple task you can do yourself. A fresh coat of paint on walls, window frames, skirting boards and architraves (ceilings too if you have a safe ladder and strong shoulders) will breathe life into a worn home and hide a multitude of sins from pets, kids and house parties. “Buyers love nothing more than a home that is well painted and feels fresh,” says Nicole.
2. Outdoor upgrades
Lachlan says paying attention to garden design and maintenance can pay off. Think new plants, bark and mulch, even new lawn – and engage a professional gardener. “When the buyer looks at it, they are seeing it as a brand-new house with a brand-new garden and they can move into it, as is, without needing to do anything,” he says. This also extends to outdoor entertaining areas, whether it’s a timber deck or a paved or concreted space.
3. Kitchens and bathrooms
Somewhat controversially, Nicole believes kitchen and bathroom upgrades are well worth their hefty price tags. “Kitchens sell homes, so updating the kitchen is always a good investment,” she says. She recommends spending appropriately for the value of your home – invest in a bespoke kitchen for properties valued in the millions, and consider kits from the likes of Ikea or Freedom for more affordable properties. Bathrooms are another key selling point: but spend wisely. “You can respray the tiles and the bath and they look amazing – it’s a very cheap way of refreshing, and the buyer can renovate it further if they choose. Shows like The Block have given buyers the inspiration to achieve both small, sometimes cosmetic, renovations to larger more detailed renovations.” (More: Are architects worth the money?)
4. Built-in robes
Storage is still king, says Lachlan. “Buyers are looking for space,” he says. “New cabinetry, built-in robes, just more storage in general is a great investment.” Wardrobe space in each bedroom is a must-have feature and so are overhead laundry cupboards.
5. Consistent flooring
Nicole says buyers love consistency, and ensuring your home has beautiful floorboards throughout, for instance, can really tie a home together. “If you have mismatched flooring it will detract,” she advises. “And when things don’t go together, buyers will start to look deeper.” (Plus: How to install and maintain carpet.)
Installing a pool is rarely a worthwhile investment.