6 cosmetic renovations to add value to your home

22 March 2018
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Be a savvy renovator and reap the rewards

If the findings from Roy Morgan Research are anything to go by, Australia’s love affair with renovating is going strong. 62% of Australia’s home owners undertook some kind of renovation in the last 12 months, making the renovations industry worth a staggering $31 billion.

While many of these homeowners make the decision to renovate with the intention of staying, there’s also a huge number who are looking to add real value to their property to win over potential buyers. If you’re looking to renovate on a shoestring budget and walk away with a profit, you can achieve a new look and feel with simple cosmetic renovations. They key to successful, on-budget cosmetic renovations is to present a property for sale that buyers can imagine themselves living in without falling into the trap of treating it like an interior design challenge.

What is a cosmetic renovation?

If the bones of your home are still good but it’s just looking a little tired you might want to consider a quick cosmetic refresh. Cosmetic renovation typically includes renewing dated surfaces, updating key rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens, replacing old fixtures with modern new ones, and generally improving the appearance of the property. In addition to being budget-friendly, cosmetic renovations avoid the lengthy build times of structural renovations meaning you’ll be enjoying your value-added home sooner.

Budget for your cosmetic renovation

Cherie Barber from Renovating for Profit says that you should budget no more than 10% of your property’s value on a cosmetic renovation. So, if your home is worth $500,000 you should set aside $50,000 and not a cent more. Renovators who don’t follow Cherie’s golden rule aren’t renovating for profit, they’re over-capitalising. Treat the cosmetic renovation project as a business proposition and avoid making emotional decisions.

Get bang for your renovation buck

The key to a successful cosmetic renovation is to focus on high impact areas that buyers will notice. Be a smart renovator and spend your time and money wisely with these top tips:

1. Give your old kitchen a new lease on life

As a key selling point, sprucing up the kitchen should be on the top of any clever renovator’s to-do list. If you’re smart, you’ll get a good return on what you spend here. Don’t start ripping out your kitchen just yet….. old benchtops can be resurfaced and cabinetry can be painted over with specialty products and a bit of elbow grease. Dated appliances and rangehoods can be replaced for more modern stainless steel styles that won’t cost the Earth if you shop around. In one weekend you could have a completely transformed kitchen.

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2. Get a designer look with new fixtures and fittings

Take a look at your tap fittings and the handles on your kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. If they’re looking tired or no longer work properly….replace them. Opt for this year’s hottest styles of chrome, matte black, and brass.

Trade old light shades for some on-trend pendants and downlights, mixed with floor lamps for ambient lighting. You’ll be surprised at how the right lighting can transform a dull space and bring a feeling of elegance and warmth to a room.

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3. Make an impact with fresh flooring

Take a look at what’s happening under-foot; nothing is more unappealing to a buyer than worn carpet or lifting lino. Rip it up and replace it with a modern floating floor or vinyl planks. This is a DIY job that won’t break the bank and will instantly give the impression of a fresh, contemporary home.

4. Woo buyers with fresh window treatments

Old blinds and curtains are a sure-fire way to date your property and keep it from realising its potential. You don’t have to spend a fortune on custom-made; go for off the shelf where you can. Spotlight and Bunnings are a treasure-trove for this kind of thing. Think sleek and slimline…. you won’t go wrong with venetians, sheer curtains, and roller blinds. Whatever you choose, be sure to allow natural light to flood in and keep the colour neutral.

5. Pick up a paint brush

Paint is the real heavy-lifter in your cosmetic renovation arsenal; a fresh coat of paint in a modern neutral colour will do wonders for the look of your house. If you haven’t looked at paint options in a while you’ll be stunned at the choice on offer. Stick to a colour that will complement your existing furnishings and fittings to maintain a consistent, integrated look. While you’re at it, take a look at the exterior walls of your home; do they need some attention?

If the wall tiles in your kitchen and bathroom are in good condition but dated, you can paint right over them with tile paint. As with any paint job, there’s a bit of preparation to do first but the results are dramatic. You can tint the paint to a wide range of colours so be a little creative and choose a colour that will work well with your flooring.

6. Create street appeal

Give your potential buyers an appealing street front so they’ll want to stop and come inside. This means everything from checking fences, gates, and mailboxes for any maintenance, to adding modern street numbers. Don’t neglect the less obvious areas, too - conceal garbage bins, and put the kids toys away.

Landscaping is an area where the cost can quickly add up but the return on investment can be very low. It’s easy to get carried away but you don’t need to spend a fortune. Start with a freshly cut lawn with neatly manicured edges, or get your hands on some turf if your lawn is beyond repair. Give your garden beds a thorough weeding and lay some mulch to help give the appearance of a low-maintenance and well-kept garden. To create visual interest at key entry and exit points, try displaying feature plants in striking pots. Keep it simple and low maintenance and buyers will thank you.

Planning is your best friend

Whatever you decide to tackle in your cosmetic renovation, planning should be your first step to prevent your project from becoming a money pit. Do your homework and know what your target market expects so that you can tailor any work you embark on - design the property for them and not for you. You’ll uplift the value of your property and have buyers lining up if you do it right.