Before you you put that first hole in the wall to knock down a structural wall for more indoor/outdoor flow, or dig out the basement for a pool table in the new man cave, we have a few pieces of advice that may give you better resale and give you that champagne makeover on a beer budget!
Having been in the renovation business since 1999, our the first little bit of advice would be to decide if you are going to do a simple cosmetic makeover or engage on a structural renovation.
Major Renovation or Cosmetic Make Over
Most people can afford a cosmetic renovation and they are generally quite a quick turn around producing significant results. Engaging on a major renovation including structural changes to a home is going to need design, possible engineering, council consents and consideration for builders time (& possible build delays) to complete the renovation. It is not uncommon for a major renovation to take longer than building a new home.
How Much Should You Spend On A Renovation?
How much does it cost? Its up to you, but its always good to know what your limits are before you start and leave some money in the background for potential problems that may arise during a major renovation. Talk to your builder and advise what you want done and how much you can invest. Your builder will best best able to advise where there is biggest bang for your buck. Remember, your builder can likely build you the house of your dreams, but if you can only afford an outhouse, its unlikely your expectations will be met within the budget. So be up front and honest about what you want to spend and ensure your renovation budgets are realistic for the kind of project you want. Also, avoid over capitalising, there is little point renovating an old derelict villa for million dollars when it would be cheaper to remove and build a new modern home.
Buying A Kiwi Quarter Acre Dream
The kiwi quarter acre dream, having a big back yard where the kids can play and a flower garden out the front is often hard to come by these days, and an area often forgotten during renovations. Most people only focus on the interior makeover, however especially when renovating for profit or resale, the exterior plays a major factor for kerb appeal. To give your property kerb appeal, invest on exterior house painting, fixing the broken fence and concrete path, weeding and landscaping the garden. Also, dont just build a deck simply for the sake of being able to sit a seat on solid ground instead of sinking into the mud, build a deck that compliments the house and has consideration for how your outdoor spaces can best be used – maybe imagine how the area could be better used if you could bbq closer to the kitchen, maybe its always windy on that side of the house and never gets used, maybe there is no real benefit of putting in a deck? Would you use the area more if there was a nicely designed deck?
Small jobs and detailing, such as cleaning dirty bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans, updating hardware, doorknobs and handles, and painting door frames, are all things potential buyers notice, and all things that are DIY. Cleanliness and presentation are the keys to a property being desirable. Painting the interior may be something you would consider doing yourself to save money, however dont start your first painting job in the living room – try an area in the laundry where you can potentially ask a professional painter to fix all the runs. The more confident you get at preparing and painting, move onto other areas. We have seen more bad owners paint jobs that have to be fixed than good ones that would get a top $ auction, so sometimes its better to invest in the experts.
Lighting And Power
Our modern lives demand more power for all our phones, tablets, TV’s and heat pumps. Houses designed 50 years ago wont have the switchboard capacity for all our new appliances, and under current legislation, some electrical upgrades will require cable upgrades as part of your renovation. Lighting in older homes is also something that we find lacking and dramatic improvements can be made by adding a few lights into the kitchen where we tend to entertain more these days.
Renovating To Your Personal Taste
If you are not an interior designer and you are renovating to sell, dont renovate to your personal tastes. Become an expert in a target demographic that is suited to your suburb/property type and renovate to their tastes. There is no point installing glossy tiles in areas that are likely going to be used by kids, and dont do that bright red feature wall you have always thought would jazz things up. Keep it simple – smart renovators who renovate for profit know who their buyers will be before they buy a potential property for renovating.