Renovations are a great way to add value to your home or investment property. Plan your renovation carefully so you don’t waste time or money. It’s a good idea to keep a scrapbook of ideas, gathered from magazines, books and the internet, to firm up the look and feel you want in your home.
You might have heard of ‘overcapitalisation’ – when the money or time you’re spending is greater than the return you’re likely to receive. It’s important to find a balance between the work you’re doing and the increase in value to avoid overcapitalising.
But remember to always keep the market in mind – think about what a potential buyer might be looking for in your area and price bracket. The perceived value of the improvements you make, if done well, will exceed the actual cost of making them.
1. A fresh lick of paint
Nothing improves a home quicker than a fresh coat of paint. Choose your colour carefully, taking into account that neutrals can make life easier when it’s time to sell. If you can afford it, hire a professional painter to do the job. If you want to do it yourself to cut costs, speak to a reputable paint store for expert advice. They can even help you with colour choices – inside and out.
2. Update your kitchen
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then it’s a smart move to make sure your kitchen looks and feels the best it can. A kitchen can make or break a sale, so it’s important to do this room justice and plan carefully. As a guide, for a property valued at $500,000, you should spend about $10,000. Any more than that and you may be overcapitalising. Look for fixtures and finishes that won’t date and will wear well over time. Aim to make your kitchen area look as large and spacious as possible using clever design and colour. Look at what is trending at the moment in kitchens, but don’t get swept away by the latest and greatest appliances and fittings if you’re nearing the top end of your budget.
3. Upgrade the bathroom
Similar to the kitchen, the bathroom is an important room for buyers, with a guideline of spending $7,500 for a property valued at $500,000. But you may not need to spend that much. Take a look at your existing bathroom and work out if smaller changes like updating the fixtures, vanity, shower screens or toilet might make a difference to the overall look and feel. Refreshing the tiles with paint and re-grouting can also give a completely new look for a smaller budget. If you need a complete overhaul, want to move the bathroom closer to the bedroom, or are changing the plumbing layout, you should expect to pay more. Do your research into what buyers want and choose timeless colours and fittings, installed by a reputable tradesperson.
4. Create more space
Knocking out a wall or two to create open plan living will add a feeling of space and light, especially if your property is older, when architectural styles featured smaller rooms and closed spaces. It’s important to check for structural issues before starting any work. A qualified tradesperson can advise whether your plans are feasible and if your walls are load-bearing or not. It’s important to get a full quote on the work upfront, in case there are any surprises or extra work required to make the new space structurally sound.
5. Create an outdoor entertaining space
Australians love to live life outside, so creating an outdoor haven for barbecues and get-togethers is a great investment. You might already have a space that just needs updating with a few new plants or paving. Simple ideas like painting an otherwise boring fence in a contemporary colour like charcoal, can give a new look for a small outlay. For others, you might need to create a space using clever landscaping, building a deck or even installing a pool. Sustainable plants and watering methods will also attract buyers as the world wises up to drought-proofing. Talk to a qualified landscaper or builder to get an idea of what you can do with your space.
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"How does the buying process work, and how will I know what to expect next?"
What happens once the hammer falls?Here are the five steps to get you from home buyer to home owner.
Sign contract and pay deposit
It is important your conveyancer or solicitor inspects the contract of sale before you sign.
If buying at auction, you’ll sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.
If buying through a private sale, you may pay a holding deposit of between $500 and $1000 to show good faith. You’ll then pay a larger deposit (usually 10%) when you sign the contract.
A private sale contract may include a cooling-off period, which enables you to change your mind and withdraw from the contract. You should check with your conveyancer or solicitor if a cooling-off period applied before exchanging contracts. It’s important to note that the length of cooling-off periods varies by state.
Your lender will perform checks, which may include a property valuation, before approving the loan and issuing a loan contract.
In the days preceding settlement, you should conduct a final property inspection to ensure all is as the contract states, and that the property and its fixtures and fittings are in good shape.
On the day of settlement, you must pay the balance to the seller. Your conveyancer or solicitor will organise the transaction, plus the payment of additional costs such as utility adjustments and legal fees.
Title deeds (if any) and mortgages will be registered at the lands office in your state or territory.
Finally, you get the keys!
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Rachael Bland – Founder & CEO