One of the best things to add value to your home before putting it up for sale is repairs and renovations. Home improvement is a highly effective means of increasing your sale price for minimal outlay of cash – the key word here being minimal. It can be so easy to get caught up in what you think will look best for the property, but I hate to break it to you – it’s not actually about your taste. It’s about what works best for the market. For this reason, it’s important to make sensible home improvement decisions without breaking the bank, so here’s five renovation mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
1. Quirky styles and bold colours
There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint slapped onto the walls to bring a home into the modern era and lift its overall appeal. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most inexpensive home improvement ideas too. However, very original styles, quirky (see impractical) features, or bright and bold colours are a big no-no. Skip the feature wall and stick to neutral colours for a broader appeal. Remember that not everyone shares your ideas of what looks fabulous.
2. Keep it simple
Unless you’ve caught ‘The Block’ bug and are doing a complete renovation overhaul, keep the improvements simple and focus only on the cosmetics. Leave the big ticket items for the next owner, which saves you a wad of cash, and gives them creative freedom to design the house according to their taste. However, it’s a good idea to get an estimated quote on suggested renovations so that your buyer has a realistic idea of the cost and doesn’t overestimate it at your expense. You can then tell them you’ve obtained a quote and have taken the proposed cost into consideration when setting your price.
3. Be sure before you floor
Think very carefully about floor coverings. It’s not uncommon to see brand new carpet be ripped up because the new owner preferred timber floors or had different ideas than the previous owner. Unless your floors are badly stained, damaged or just plain ugly and outdated, it’s not always in the best interests of the sale to go replacing floors unnecessarily.
4. Pointless additions
Ask yourself ‘why do I need this renovation?’ or better yet, ask your agent. There are certain renovations that seem like a killer home improvement idea, but in reality, they will not give you a good return or improved sale price. A swimming pool, for example, can cost around $40 000, but may only increase your value by half that amount. Speak to your agent before making any big spending home improvement decisions.
5. Customizing rooms
Just because you may be a voracious reader and want to transform a bedroom into a library with floor to ceiling shelves, doesn’t mean the next person wishes to do the same. By customizing certain spaces, you inhibit the use of that room for future buyers, or set them up with a financial disadvantage from the get-go in order to undo all your precious work. Turning a garage into a tool shed could be one man’s dream, but if there’s too much bench space and not enough car space, it could mean that garage becomes useless as parking area for someone else.
Remember that the main reason for presale renovations is to maximize the sale price. Anything above and beyond that is not only pointless, but it has the potential to eat into your funds rather than add to them. If in doubt, speak to your real estate agent to give you some advice on which home improvement tasks are right for you and right for the market.