In our last article, we offered sellers a guide for navigating the latest market shift. The key take away? Your property must stand out in a buyer’s market. Starting the selling process can feel daunting, but a conversation about pre-sale improvements or renovations is a good place to start.
Before you start spending money on renovations, it’s important we consider the current climate. According to the ABS, construction prices rose 12.2% over the past 12 months, as did the cost of most building materials. It’s expected costs will continue to rise and many of us are feeling the pinch. So, when every penny needs to stretch that little bit further, it’s important to plan your pre-sale renovation wisely.
We’ve mentioned before that your agent is the best person to talk to about where to prioritise your renovation budget. What you spend on improvements will be determined greatly by the outcome you’re trying to achieve and the last thing you want to do is overcapitalise. There’s no point spending big on luxe landscaping when buyers in that area are time-poor, seeking low-maintenance gardens instead. Agents are helpful in picking out the flaws we can’t see in a property, which often happens when we’re attached to a property we’ve lived in for years.
Here’s our top five renovations spends for 2022. We’ve prioritised cost-saving above all else because well, $10 lettuces.
1. Street Appeal
There’s no way around it; first impressions are everything. Emotion plays such a huge role in what draws us to a home, so buyers need to feel a warmth and connection to your property at the first inspection. While a fresh coat of exterior paint is always a great start, it’s costly. Not feasible? Consider painting your front fence instead....and front door. Could you invest in a new mailbox? Get your lawn in tip-top shape and make sure your gardens are tidied and freshened up, too.
If your front entrance path looks a little tired, pressure cleaning is a great way to breathe new life into your pavers without having to actually replace them. Price points for a machine start from around a few hundred dollars and climb from there, but of course you can always rent one for around $60 a day.
2. Kitchen Tidy
Note we’ve said kitchen tidy. New kitchens are expensive, costing anywhere from $20-35K for something mid-range. Talk to your agent about whether replacing your kitchen is worth the investment. If you’re on a tight budget, simply replacing dated handles on cabinetry is a great way to start. A fresh coat of paint can help to modernise, too.
Replace dirty or stained grout and consider a new splashback — this is only a small area to cover, so it could be a good place to spend a little more on quality tiling or even stone.
Old dripping taps are an immediate turn off for buyers, so replace tapware with something modern.
New appliances will instantly lift the space. If a new dishwasher, fridge etc. isn’t on the horizon, sometimes something as simple as a new kettle or coffee machine makes the world of difference.
Whatever improvements you choose to make, remember to keep your colour palette neutral and your styling contemporary. It must appeal to a wide audience, and people need to imagine themselves living there.
3. Bathroom Revamp
Bathrooms are where buyers see themselves spending the most on fixes and updates. People often don’t feel ‘handy’ in this space, so they only need to glance at a tired old bathroom before they start tallying the costs of bringing in the professionals.
If your tiles are dated but still in great shape, consider a fresh coat of tile paint. Replace any cracked tiles and clean or replace damaged grout. Again, update your tapware to something fresh if you can.
Styling is key here. Luxurious towels, a glowing scented candle and an indoor plant will all help transform the space. Of course, this room should be immaculate. We’re talking, Monica Geller clean.
We’re yet to meet a buyer that doesn’t appreciate a fresh coat of paint. Nothing screams ‘buy me’ more than a house that’s clean and inviting, ready to be moved in to straight away. If you’re handy with a brush, by all means have a crack at painting yourself. But remember, painting is hard, time-consuming work. What might take you weeks to achieve, a professional (with a handy dandy spray gun) might get through in just one weekend. If budget allows, we say hire a professional.
Again, keep your colour palette neutral — it should appeal to as many buyers as possible.
Timber flooring or alternatives like bamboo or laminates are popular amongst buyers. If you can’t afford to replace all your flooring, consider high-traffic areas. Stained or damaged carpet needs replacing, so prioritise your budget accordingly. Likewise, make sure your skirting boards are in good condition. Replacing the odd panel won’t break the bank and will ensure a polished final look.
And there you have it — our top pre-sale improvement spends for 2022. If we can part here with one final piece of advice:
Ensure your house is presented for sale.
So declutter, feng shui, Marie Kondo the lot.
Not only will this make rooms appear larger, but people can mentally plan the space for their own belongings. An organised house gives the impression it’s been well-cared for. Items that might be sentimental to you but are awkward in a room are best kept in storage. Remember, people want to image a space where they can create their own memories, so keep it neutral. If styling isn’t your forte, your agent will be able to offer advice. Of course, you can always consider a property styling service or rent furniture for staging the space.
If you find yourself questioning how you’re going to afford any of the above, remember there are funding solutions available. Property Credit can advance you the funds for your renovations — up to $50,000 — with nothing to pay until settlement.
Try not to get overwhelmed. Remember, it’s all about prioritising value-adding improvements and sticking to a carefully considered plan and budget.
Keep calm and renovate on.