7 Tips To Add Value To Your Home

Maximise long-term gain with a home reno that appeals to the widest market

TV host Andrew Winter

'For long-term gain you need to cater for the mass market,' says TV host Andrew Winter

Finding the balance between updating a home to suit your needs and adding value is a challenge for many homeowners.
 
Using neutral colours and standard designs for the reno is common but you don’t always have to play it safe to appeal to buyers down the track, says Andrew Winter, host of the LifeStyle Channel’s Selling Houses Australia.
 
‘Renovate your home the way you want to enjoy it but remember that for long-term gain you need to cater for the mass market, so don’t make it too hard or costly to alter,’ says Andrew.

1. Making lifestyle choices

Renovating for long-term gain is about lifestyle as much as financial benefits.
 
Says Andrew, ‘With high energy costs, homeowners don’t want to spend a fortune on air-conditioning so they might move a few doorways and add windows for cross-ventilation.
 
‘The outlay is small and while it may not be an obvious value-adder it makes for a more comfortable home.’
 
He says a long-term renovation on any property, regardless of vintage or location, needs three elements.
 
‘It should include things you’re going to enjoy and benefit from. If designing for personal style then make sure it can eventually be changed to have mass market appeal when it comes to selling.’

2. Do a professional job

The key is doing things properly or not at all, says Andrew.
 
A job well done lasts longer and won’t have to be refreshed or ripped out and redone, especially when it comes to resurfacing walls and floors.
 
‘If it’s something you want to do yourself like painting or tiling then make sure you do it right.
 
‘Prepare the surface by repairing and cleaning it, remove switch plates, and make sure you use the right tools.
 
‘You want a proper finish every time so if you’re not able to do that then get a professional in.’

3. Don't get structural

Getting the balance right between personal style and a home that appeals to others is about practicality and making the design adaptable rather than generic.
 
Says Andrew, ‘Instead of installing a feature that isn’t mass market and costs too much to change, like a kidney-shaped pool, employ design tricks to get the same effect using plants and rocks around the edge to create curves and softened lines.’ 

4. Balance quality with quantity

Making the reno budget work is vital for future rewards and a home that will outlast your occupancy.
 
‘Compromise between cost effectiveness and quality, finding affordable fixtures without going cheap and cheerful,’ says Andrew.
 
‘In the inner-city where people are designer conscious, a flat-pack kitchen may not work for value adding but stylish fittings have longevity.’
 
When the budget doesn’t fit the dream, it’s a balancing act.
 
‘If you spend big on kitchen appliances save in the bathroom by resurfacing instead of remodelling.’

5. Get the building approval

Plan the renovation properly so it doesn’t have to be reversed.
 
‘Make sure all approvals are in place so if anything happens you have the documentation,’ says Andrew.
 
‘Phone your council and check the website, see what you can and can’t do because guidelines are there for a reason, not to catch you out.
 
‘Beams have to be strong enough to hold up walls, ceilings need to be a certain height to prevent accidents.’
 
Even if you’re good at DIY, sometimes you can’t do a job because it’s illegal, especially for electrical, plumbing and gas-related work.

6. Have a flexible floorplan

Many renovators think creating more bedrooms or living space is a definite value-adder but Andrew says not.
 
‘If you adjust the accommodation, maybe by turning an attached garage into another bedroom or closing off a verandah as an extra living room, you may not get the reward you expect.
 
‘You might think four bedrooms are worth more than three and a garage or that more living space beats a verandah but prospective buyers may disagree.’
 
A good compromise is to increase the flexibility of a floor plan, such as installing bi-fold doors, instead of making irreversible changes.
 
Cater for seasonal living

Outdoor areas are always popular with buyers

7. Cater for seasonal living

An outdoor area with easy access is usually high on the reno wish-list and the preference is for it to flow from the living zone, so a lot of original older houses need updating.
 
Creating a wintry retreat is also recommended despite our hot climate and outdoor lifestyle.
 
Modern homes often need a cosy area that can be closed off because most of Australia has distinct seasons with a few months of colder weather.
 
This double act also extends to the bathroom when renovating.
 
‘Most people shower but removing the bath restricts your buyer’s market as a tub appeals to young families and older people with aches.’

Vote It Up: 

See also

How To Flip Houses

Turn your renovating hobby into a full-time job with Cherie's tips and tricks 

Australia is full of houses that are structurally sound, but cosmetically tired, according to Renovating For Profit’s Cherie...
DIY Careers

If you’re good at fixing things, why not turn it into a whole new career? Image: Getty Images 

Training in one job doesn’t mean you have to stay with it for life. If you’re a hands-on person looking for a change, then a...
How To Get Through A Renovation Without Getting A Divorce

A badly planned renovation could turn into a demolition job on your relationship. Image: Thinkstock 

When does a renovation stop being a project and become a battle of the sexes?  For normally happy couple Rachel and Mike, the...
10 Rules for Renovating, Handyman Magazine, exterior of a modern house,
Ask anyone who’s survived a renovation how it went and chances are you’ll hear stories about budgets stretched to breaking...
A recently renovated kitchen to sell a house for profit
Opening up the living space and letting in light transforms the room and appeals to potential buyers.
Pictures: Sue Ferris
Everyone knows someone who’s made a motza flipping houses or bought their home for a song.  Thanks to all the home reno...
A Renovation Nightmare

A modest home renovation turned into a major budget blowout

Sydney couple Ali Watts and Damien Stewart knew they had to work fast to buy their home in January, 2010. The unrenovated,...