If you are renovating with the intention of selling the property for a tidy profit, you need to take a different approach to revamp your home to live in.
You need to focus on projects that are going to appeal to as many people as possible. You also don’t want to alienate prospective buyers with features they don’t like, need or want.
Planning a cost-effective renovation
Your focus should be on cost-effective, aesthetic jobs that have a big visual impact but are easy on the wallet. You also need to limit any structural works unless they are crucial to helping sell the property.
Not spending big is harder than you think. The urge to renovate can all to easily result in you overspending and overcapitalising on features that are unlikely to realise a return. Instead look to have a realistic budget, get creative with your approach and renovate your property to sell – not to live in.
Rather focus on aesthetics like cleaning and making sure things like exhaust fans, smoke alarms, and appliances all work properly.
A cost-effective approach doesn’t mean you must take shortcuts – you still need quality materials, tradies, and workmanship. This is where we come in – we can make sure everything is done to spec and the overall quality of your renovation is still high.
You want to be investing around 2-3% of the total valued price in order to maximise profits. A great tip is to look for similar sold properties to yours in terms of bedrooms, garage spaces and land size on realestate.com.au or domain.com.au and look for the fully renovated ones and identify the premium that people have paid. This number could be an expected return.
Now let’s look at 9 ways you can get the best bang for your buck with your renovation.
9 Steps to Renovate For Sale
When it comes to the best bang for buck renovations when selling, you need to focus on aesthetic improvements that are noticeable but don’t cost the earth.
1. Paint for first impressions
Start by patching cracks, holes and painting your interiors – preferably in neutral colours that are not going to put any prospective buyers off. When it comes to patching cement walls you have two options. The most cost-effective option is to simply patch with plaster and is only a cosmetic fix. The second method is to completely chase (use a special grinder tool to cut and make the crack larger and deeper) and then re-cement the area. This option is far more time consuming and will cost more. It’s entirely up to you which option you prefer and needless to say neither option can be guaranteed as most Sydney houses will crack over time, it’s just one will happen before the other.
Also, don’t forget to give your front door a fresh coat as well – first impressions count.
2. Make your tiles sparkle
If you are not going down the route of full-blown kitchen or bathroom renovation, then look to get your tiles professionally cleaned and have all the silicone and grout replaced. You can also opt to have your bathroom tiles, sink and bathtub resurfaced – which is typically less than a third the cost of replacing them.
3. Reface and replace in the kitchen
You can make big savings in the kitchen by updating your kitchen benchtops with budget-friendly laminate or an engineered stone (standard range), and avoid more expensive options like natural stone – granite or marble, and engineered stone like Caesarstone. You can also resurface cabinetry doors and update the look with new handles and hardware.
4. Lighting can make all the difference
You can also refresh any room in the house with new lighting for not much outlay. Look to install new lighting based on how you use the room. You generally need one or more of the following – general/ambient, task and accent lighting, depending on the room you are revamping. Even just renewing your old downlights with new modern LED downlights will make a very positive impact
5. Update powerpoints and light switches
Updating powerpoints and light switches is another easy, small upgrade that helps to finish off the look of a room. This is especially true if the existing covers are old, scratched or do not exist.
6. Focus on flooring
If you choose carefully flooring can be a fairly cost-effective upgrade and makes a great visual difference to a room or home. If you are looking at carpets, nylon is the most cost-effective, while laminate floating floorboards or vinyl are also wallet-friendly. If the property has old, tired timber floorboards a quick sand and stain will have them looking good as new.
7. Clean, clean, clean
A sure way to impress buyers is to have your property looking clean and ready for them to move in. This applies equally to the outdoors as it does indoors. Outdoor projects that will revitalise your home include cleaning guttering and downpipes as well as high-pressure washing driveways, paving and paths. Clean, sparkling windows also will give buyers the best impression when it comes to open day. For the interior, professional cleaning is a MUST to make sure it looks its best. Areas to focus on include rangehood covers and exhaust fan intakes and outlets as well as ovens and hard to reach ceilings and corners.
8. Everything must work
If you are not doing a whole home reno you need to make sure everything still works. Wear and tear is inevitable over time, so make a list of everything that needs doing and get in touch with us for a solution. Things to check include leaking taps, light bulbs and tightening fixtures – handrails, toilet seats, towel rails – as well as ensuring smoke alarms are all compliant and up to date.
9. Hire a professional property stylist
If you are serious about a renovate for sale project you should seriously consider hiring a professional property stylist. Otherwise known as home stagers, they can help give your property the right feel and look, to ensure it appeals to the most buyers as possible. Depending on the service you choose, they can even replace your furniture and artworks with their own selection – it could be the wow factor your home needs to sell.
Renovate for sale: Budgeting your Sydney reno
Like any other renovation, you need a realistic budget to start with.
The key to avoiding budget blowout is to be smart with every cent and dollar you spend and be on the lookout for ways to save at every stage of your project. That means knowing how much you have to spend and what you want to achieve. Get organised and itemise everything in a spreadsheet – specifically the materials, fittings and fixtures you need, then shop around and look for the best price on these items. You also need to factor in the cost of any permits, council permissions and have a buffer of 10 to 15 per cent buffer for any unforeseen costs which pop up – which is very common. If you are only doing cosmetic works than this buffer can be reduced.
The key to a successful renovate for sale project is knowing what materials to go for. In the kitchen choosing a kitchen benchtop surface like Laminex could help you save and afford the subway tiles you really want for your splashback.
Projects that will make your renovation cost more
If you need to keep a close eye on your budget it is important you avoid projects that can escalate your costs. Generally speaking, any project that involves more hours on the job is going to increase your costs. With this in mind look to avoid the following projects if you are renovating for sale:
- Undertaking any structural work like removing an internal wall
- Changing the layout of your floorplan
- Moving plumbing/or electrical – try keep services where they are
- Installing expensive fixtures, fittings and appliances
- Using small tiles – like mosaics and subway tiles – which take longer to lay, so cost more
- Opting for premium finishes in the kitchen, like thicker stone benchtops, polyurethane cabinetry, and special doors
- Changing your mind – as this usually involves more work to redesign the scope of works – and inevitably also cause delays
As you can see avoiding these types of jobs will help you keep your budget in check.
How not to overcapitalise on your renovation
You also need to be careful not spend money on features or projects that will not add real value to your property. This is called overcapitalising – and can happen if you don’t research your local market and know what buyers are looking for. Not everyone will appreciate, or be willing to pay more for a creatively landscaped garden or pool – so spending on these type of projects are a gamble and not guaranteed to deliver a return when it comes time to sell. To identify what renovations will add value look at other properties in your area, and what features they have. In terms of projects to focus on, two guaranteed crowd pleasers are bathroom and kitchen renovations – though you don’t always have to do a complete overhaul to impress buyers.
Now let’s take a look at the best bang for projects when you are renovating for sale.
Budget kitchen renovation – Think function, design & clever storage
A full kitchen reno can easily run to $30k or more, so if you are looking to maximise the profitability of your sale you need to watch your pennies in the kitchen.
Replace the benchtop only in either laminate or engineered stone, re-tile the splashback and replace kitchen handles. If you want to save on cabinetry look to cosmetic touches like resurfacing your kitchen cupboards instead of replacing them. If you need new cabinets, opt for flat pack option which is significantly cheaper than custom units. Kitchen flooring needs to be practical and look good – and there are a wide range of budget materials to choose from. These include vinyl and laminate, as well as ceramic tiles. We recommend tiles as they are more practical for an area that gets a lot of foot traffic and could get wet. If you must replace appliances solid entry-level brands for your kitchen appliances include Chef, Westinghouse, Kelvinator, LG, and Beko.
Budget bathroom reno – Think Comfort, Easy Cleaning, Style
A budget bathroom renovation is all about keeping the costs down. As we mentioned – keeping all the plumbing and services in the same place helps. If the tiles are in good condition and only the vanity and toilet pan looks dated, look for a solid, moisture resistant vanity and nice new modern toilet pan (be sure to check water supply point in the wall doesn’t clash with your new toilet!). Opt for a framed or semi-framed shower screen – as opposed to a frameless version. You can also work wonders by changing out the tapware and fittings in a tired looking bathroom – and resurface the basin and bathtub.
We can also professionally clean the bathroom grout, remove all the old silicone and re-silicone all the edge of the tiles including re-silicone behind the basin top. Also simply renewing the mirror can make a big difference.
Renovating to sell an apartment
Renovating an apartment or unit for sale – otherwise known as flipping – is a popular property investment strategy. The principles are the same as renovating a house for profit, but you do need to be aware of the rules around strata before you get going. Even though you may own the property, you don’t own the whole title like you would with a house. This is why it is essential that you understand the strata approval requirements that apply in your building – as well as other factors like noise restrictions and the practical logistics of the project before any renovation work commences.
Suppliers we recommend
Ready to get started?
We are based in Alexandria, so are lucky to have access to a huge range of suppliers in the local area, including:
Alternatively view our other suppliers list page here.
Why renovate with us?
We have renovated countless apartments and houses for profit, so we know where to focus your budget for the maximum return on your investment.
By working with you in the planning phase to help work out a detailed budget that takes everything into account.
We also use a network of top-notch tradesmen and contractors for all our projects. Needless to say they are experienced licensed professionals who take pride in the work they carry out. We are fully licensed (NSW Contractor Licence: 239324C, NSW Company Licence: 286234C), and insured, and hold public liability insurance and all the necessary warranties to work on your job.
We then project manage your reno from start to finish and deliver your project on time and to budget. And you get to deal directly with us, which mean no sales reps or chasing tradies – we coordinate everything and make it happen.
To get an idea of the renovation fee options we offer please click here.
Alternately, contact me – Jarn Elias – directly on +61 412 191 592 to discuss your renovation goals, or put your details in the contact form for a free phone consultation to get the conversation started.