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How to renovate for your demographic and sell your property

Greville Pabst
5 March 2018

Many renovators make the mistake of overcapitalising and spending too much money in areas that won’t necessarily add much value to their property. Before starting to make improvements on your home, it’s important to do your homework and research the location you’re in. If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s in your best interest to seek independent advice from a Property adviser or Buyer’s Agent.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home straight away, it pays to plan for the future. This will ensure you get the most return on your investment the day you decide to put your home on the market.

Here are my four top tips when renovating for your target market:

1.
Become a local expert

Before rushing into any renovations, take a step back and do your research on the location you’re in. Think about the demographic and your surroundings. Ask yourself “who lives here and who will most likely be attracted to your specific area - is it downsizers, families or young professionals?” It’s also important to think about who your potential buyers are, whether they’re investors or owner-occupiers. If you’re in a family area, a renovation should focus on being child-friendly and pay particular attention to areas such as the kitchen, living rooms and the backyard. These areas should be well presented and flow nicely throughout the house. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum in an area with young professionals, a proper home office trumps an extra living area any day in today’s market. Young professionals want a space where they can work in their homes.

2. Match the potential buyer’s expectation

Certain attributes are anticipated in certain areas. For example, a pool is expected in certain locations and people are willing to pay for it. However, in other suburbs, people may not expect a pool and thereby it may not add any value to your home. In some suburbs, the Victorian and Edwardian-style properties are very popular, so it would be best to retain as much of the older characteristics as you can. In these areas, many people still love the appeal that an old period home has and there are certain attributes that can't be replicated, such as skirting boards, ceiling rosettes and fireplaces. All these older features add value and uniqueness to a property. 

3. Consider your floorplan

Having a functional floorplan is likely to determine whether a home will be sold or leased. In many older houses, bathrooms and toilets tend to be out the back, which is not functional anymore. Common problems with layout include not placing the living and kitchen areas on the northern side of the building to get natural lighting, having the kitchen tucked away in a separate room or a bathroom off the kitchen, not the hallway. The majority of people today are looking for openness, flow and an abundance of natural light throughout a home that creates a welcoming feeling.

4. Spend money in the right areas

As mentioned before, consider the area you’re in to ensure you don’t overcapitalise based on the values of other properties in your area. If possible, try to retain original features of the home, for example cornices and original stained-glass windows. These original features combined with modern touches are greatly appreciated by many buyers. I always say that kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living areas sell houses, so keep that in mind before starting your renovation. However always remember that updates can be made without blowing your budget. Sometimes a fresh coat of white paint or new tapware and fixtures makes all the difference. Other cost friendly updates include polishing timber floors, updating light fittings, replacing door and drawer handles. When it comes to the exterior, landscaping and painting the outside of your home can add value. It’s important to have the front of the home well presented as we all know that first impressions do matter.

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