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These are the renovations you should make when selling your home

By Emma Smith

In 2016,  Australians spent around $32 billion renovating property, Housing Industry Association data shows. That’s a decent chunk of our GDP, so it’s clear that making changes around the home is extremely popular with owner-occupiers and investors alike.

Whatever group you belong to, you’ll need to consider the return you’ll get from renovations when you finally sell your property. The first step to maximising that return is to select the right areas to renovate – which parts of the home should you focus on?

Before you make a single renovation, fixing little problems should be your priority.


A 2016 Finder survey found that even the smallest flaws can turn buyers off. In fact, 87 per cent said they’d change their mind on a home if they spotted mould, 84 per cent would be put off by structural decay and 83 per cent by dampness. Even peeling paint and signs of indoor smoking will cause around half of potential buyers to look elsewhere.

Before you make a single renovation, fixing little problems such as those should be your priority. Clean the entire home thoroughly, being extra careful to remove any signs of mould, decay or damp. If paint’s peeling, consider adding a lick to the affected rooms, and use odour killing sprays to get rid of any unpleasant smells. Replace or fix whatever’s broken and do all you can to get cover or improve any visual blemishes you find.


After you’ve taken care of the little things in and around your home, take a good hard look at your front yard. It’s the first thing prospective buyers will see and it can play a big part in making a good first impression. In fact, the aforementioned Finder survey found almost half of buyers have made up their minds about a home by time time they walk in the door.

Get rid of mess like overgrown weeds, children’s toys, old hose reels and scruffy plant life then take a few hours to fix any unsightly problems with your fences, driveway or entryway. You don’t have to hire a team of landscapers to make a difference – a little DIY could be all that’s required to really improve your property’s look.

If you’re in an area populated by professionals and established families a brand new kitchen could seal the deal.


The above renovations and changes should be a priority for anyone selling their home. A full scale kitchen update, on the other hand, can be extremely expensive so it may not be the right course of action for everyone.

Consider who’s likely to buy or rent your home in the area to help you make this decision. If, for example, your suburbs occupied by mainly students and young home buyers, a new kitchen and the associated higher price tag may not be appealing. However, if you’re in an area populated by professionals and established families a brand new kitchen could seal the deal and secure a higher sale price.

Archicentre estimates that a full kitchen fit out will cost you between $12,000 and $30,000. Consider these numbers when renovating as well – generally, higher specification kitchens that cost towards $30,000 will generally only be worthwhile installing in affluent neighbourhoods. To surmise: always renovate with the end user in mind and avoid overcapatalising.


Much like kitchen updates, bathroom renovations can show solid return on investment if you know what you’re doing. Archicentre’s data shows that a new bathroom will set you back around $10,000 to $25,000, so again consider the market in your area before making changes.

If you’re in an affluent area and your property’s bathrooms are aging fast, buyers may incorporate the costs of renovating into their offers, reducing them accordingly. New bathrooms will stop that in its tracks as well as ticking all the boxes for buyers looking for modern fittings.

When you start renovating, remember that it’s not about you.


If your renovating purely to increase your resale profit, you need to take emotions out of the equation and do what you know will work. First, you should take time to learn about your area – who lives here, what do they want, what kind of person is most likely to buy your home? Seek help from a local agent if you’re unsure.

When you start renovating, remember that it’s not about you. Your renovations should be targeted squarely at pleasing the ideal buyer, or the average buyer in your suburb. They shouldn’t be personal or outlandish, but understated (and therefore, less likely to appeal turn buyers off).

Last of all you should take care to create a thorough and workable budget before getting started. If you’re at a loss here, a valuer or real estate agent can help you figure out how much you should be spending. When you’re knee deep in your renovations stick to that budget as closely as possible – it’s easy to let costs balloon and a tight budget’s the best way to avoid that.

Focus on the right renovations and keep your priorities straight and the changes you make could turn into extra money in your bank account.

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