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What Agents Can Teach Us about Renovating to Sell

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You’re selling your home and want to know what renovations will turn a profit. We asked several real estate agents to share their insights.

When it comes to renovating for profit, not all things are equal. Some renovation ideas will add value to your home, while others will cost you more than you’ll ever recoup.

We asked several leading real estate agents to share their tips on what gives you the biggest return on investment.

Imagine you’re a buyer

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, says Simon Hardaker from Simeon Manners Real Estate. “The biggest mistake people make is getting emotional about what they want to do”, he says. “It’s important you renovate for the market, not for yourself”.

“You might think a red splashback will look great in the kitchen, but will buyers agree?”, adds Catherine Hawkins from Richardson & Wrench North Sydney. She suggests a good rule of thumb is to stick to clean lines and neutral colours.

Look at your competition

You’re selling in competition, not isolation, so it’s important to do your research on what’s just been sold, advises Simon.

“Visit open homes to look at what other sellers are doing”, says Catherine. She explains that not only will you get ideas on colours and layout, but you’ll also have a benchmark to strive for.

Use paint to modernise

Our experts agree that paint is a powerful renovation tool. A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to give your home a modern facelift.

Sharon Ireson from First National Ireson warns that paint can also turn away buyers if you don’t choose the right shade. “Pick a colour like Hogs Bristle or Antique White as these neutral tones help buyers see the space as ready to be owned by them.”

“The colour scheme in the kitchen is particularly important”, says Catherine. “Being too outlandish can cause problems.”

Take the first step

Focus on the kitchen and bathroom

Buyers see the kitchen and bathroom as the two most important rooms of the home. “Focussing on these areas is definitely money well spent”, says Sharon. “A finished kitchen and bathroom add significant value to buyers who want to move straight in. To make changes to these areas is disruptive and messy – buyers don’t want the inconvenience.”

People are time poor and they will pay a bit more for not having to renovate these spaces, agrees Catherine. Incorporating a stone counter, new cupboard handles and taps, updated lighting, a modern splashback and replacing outdated appliances are the type of renovations that will add value without blowing your budget.

Be cautious about design trends

Renovation TV shows might be fun to watch but they can be misleading because they don’t give the full story, cautions Simon. “There are so many people working behind the scenes – their renovations take a lot more time and effort than they look.”

“The latest trends date quickly”, adds Sharon. “Fads like rose gold handles and taps won’t be around long. Aim for a classic contemporary look. You want buyers to be able to imagine their own furniture in there.”

Have a clear budget from the beginning

“Gather all the quotes and work out what it will cost before you start. Ask local real estate agents what buyers are looking for in your area. From here, work out what to spend your money on,” says Simon.

Sharon agrees that it’s important to keep the costs down. She has renovated nine properties and prefers to do minor updates using local tradespeople rather than a major remodel with a kitchen or bathroom company.

The cost of a bathroom renovation can easily get out of hand as there are so many components. “A new frameless shower screen, taps and a ventilation fan should be the top of your list”, says Simon.

“Don’t try and fix everything or you will end up spending more than you’ll make back. Make a shortlist by order of importance.”

Speak to your Yellow Brick Road representative about the lending options available to fund your renovation.

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