So, you’ve successfully purchased a property and now it’s time to add value, to either add equity for the next purchase, maximise the rent or to sell the property for a quick sale and profit. When deciding which renovations to tackle prior to sale or a valuation, it is important to undertake the improvements which will add the most perceived value to the property with the least expense. These are the improvements that are immediately noticeable, highly valued by your potential buyers and can be done at a relatively low cost. There are also many overcapitalisation traps that renovators have fallen victim to, devaluing their homes by performing the wrong improvements.

Look at which improvements will add the most perceived value’ to the property with the least expense.

Here are 10 quick and affordable DIY cosmetic improvements that will improve the marketability and add value to your home or investment property:

  1. High pressure clean: Clean the driveway/outdoor paved or concrete areas with a high-pressure hose. These can be hired or better still, ask around and see if a friend has one. While you’ve got it, clean down the front of the house – often after a quick clean, there’s no need to repaint, however always check on a small patch first to ensure the pressure hose doesn’t remove the paint.

  2. Add more light: Improving the lighting makes rooms look bigger and gives a cleaner, fresher look. Add a sun light wherever possible, particularly in attic type areas or hallways. This is a reasonably inexpensive way to increase the light and appeal of a room.

  3. Replace light fixtures and add feature lighting: Replace dated light fittings with modern alternatives for an immediate update. Install new downlights. Also, feature lighting in the kitchen (over the island bench), in the hallway or in the bedroom can have a real impact.

  4. Refresh or replace all doors: In particular, pay attention to the front door. Repaint and add a new door handle. Make an impressive entrance but ensure it’s consistent with the rest of the house – adding a new modern door to a colonial dwelling may stand out in the wrong way.

  5. Replace outdated fixtures: Replace handles and knobs on doors, drawers and cupboards around the house, giving them an effective facelift. Keep in mind that replacing some door handles can be a little tricky and you may need a handyman to help.

  6. Replace old, yellowing electrical covers: Fix fresh, bright new covers for light switches and power points.

  7. Fresh curtains and blinds: Blinds and curtains can be relatively inexpensive and can be an easy DIY job. New window coverings will have an immediate effect.

  8.  Whiten grout between tiles in bathrooms and resurface the bath: There are a number of cheap DIY products available that you can use to whiten the grout in the bathrooms – you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make and it’s just colouring in with a white pen! Also, consider having the bath resurfaced rather than buying a new one.

  9. Landscaping improvements: 
    • Tidy up the front fence by weeding and cutting back overgrown areas
    • Trim the garden, remove all excess foliage and get rid of weeds
    • Consider removing any large trees out the front which obscure the house. Be sure to leave any good trees providing shade over play areas
    • Cutting edges around the plant beds will improve the look of the garden with little effort
    • If the lawn is patchy, spread some seed (of the same type as your current turf), add fertiliser and water regularly. It will only take a few weeks to see the improvement
    • Plant a row of trees/shrubs to screen any concrete walls or unattractive fencing. This can work wonders. To really add value, spend more for more established plants.
    • Remove the backyard clothesline and concrete path. Add a new clothesline down the side of the house, preferably near the laundry
    • Engage a landscape designer to provide a plan. Tell them what you are trying to achieve – long term growth or quick sale. Their plans will also include recommended plants for each area (avoid plants poisonous to pets). It will be money well spent. They will provide the plan, but you can still do the dirty work (so to speak)

  10. Update the letterbox: Replace the old letterbox with a new, modern one with street number – it’s one of the first things potential buyers see when they pull up to your house. Remember, every dollar spent comes out of your final profit so keep improvements to a minimum and only do those that will add the most value. If you are looking at doing a larger renovation and want to ensure you are not overcapitalising for the area, contact us to see how we can help with an ‘On Completion’ (of renovations) valuation. Call 1300 302 581 or [email protected].

    Author: Sacha Millar, General Manager WBP Group (Qld)