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Planning for your summer renovations

09 Oct 2013

By Bruce Wiggins ANZIV SPINZ, QV Registered Valuer, Team Leader - Northern

These first days of warmer weather feels like a reward duly earned for months of cold wintery damp.  Properties always look their best in the summer, and with a few extra daylight hours in the evening to spend on home jobs, you may be considering getting your house ready to sell.

In our industry we see prospective buyers can be turned-off by homes with incomplete renovations. Purchasers also don’t necessarily see what you were trying to achieve.  In particular, first-home buyers seem to not be looking for houses that still need some work done to them, even if the price is adjusted accordingly.  Properties that are unfinished can sit on the market for months longer than similar homes that have been renovated well into low-maintenance properties.  What this indicates is that generally the homes most people want to buy are those they can move into and enjoy right away. 

How do you avoid being one of those houses sitting on the market with jobs half done?  Make sure you plan properly and pay attention to the details.  Think realistically about what needs to be done, the budget you have and how long it will take to complete the work.  You may not be ready to sell when you had first thought, but you’ll have more time to complete the renovations which could save you time and get a greater price in the long run. 

Keeping your home style fresh and modern should be a priority.   But everyone is different and it’s a sure thing that some of your potential buyers will not share your tastes in home decoration.  When you want to sell your home, it’s smart to choose neutral colours for semi-permanent features eg walls, window treatments, carpets and furniture, and personalise the space with artwork, photos and ornaments.  Dark colours close space down so use with care.

Put personal items into storage when you’re at the stage of showing your home to buyers.  It might feel bare to you, but potential buyers don’t want to see the life you’ve had in this home they want to imagine their lives in it.  The best way to do this is by presenting them with as blank a canvas as you can.

Small Budget

  • Update light fittings, electrical switches and tap ware.
  • In the bathroom install an exhaust fans, heated towel rails, or some new tiling.
  • In the Kitchen freshen things up with new cupboard handles, floor coverings, new small appliances.

Medium Budget

  • People value good storage options so add wardrobes if they are lacking. 
  • If you have a period home consider the removal of decades of paint on those original doors, dados and ceiling beams and see the beautiful wood that lies underneath.
  • Living rooms and bedrooms are often overlooked but feature walls if done well and with neutrality in mind can really add a point of difference.
  • Polish floors if you have good timber floors.
  • Tidy up or replace your soft furnishings such as carpets and window furnishings.

Big Budget

  • Kitchens and bathrooms are still your big ticket areas and where the most value can be created. 
  • Adding en suites to bedrooms and/or decking to create a larger outdoor living area.
  • French doors or sliders to outdoor areas are well worth the effort.

When you working out your selling plan you’ll need to think realistically about what you can achieve. Having one or two things completed well will be more in your favour than trying to sell your unfinished vision to a new owner. 


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