7 low-cost renovations that add massive value

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How do you quickly and cheaply turn your tired property into a polished and highly desirable piece of real estate? Here are some top tips from our experts.
1. Maximise storage space

Ceiling space is often a neglected component within a residence, and in the majority of cases there is enough room in the ceiling to create a storage space.
Attic stairs can provide a great opportunity to add value to the home through extra storage space. If you have a second bedroom, or even a wide hallway, this ceiling area is a great, unobtrusive position for their installation. People don’t often look up, so that is why this idea is so effective.
Plywood sheeting nailed to the rafters inside the ceiling space creates a floor space for storage, which becomes the perfect space to stow away old photos, clothes and keepsakes that people don’t want to turf, but don’t need access to on a regular basis.
Approximately two days is required for labour for installation by a tradesperson, but the value added would supersede the value contributed by inbuilt wardrobes – not to mention to cost and regular floor-space savings.  
Cost: $1,000
Value added: $3-$5,000
 2. Outdoor daybed with flip-top lid

Building an inbuilt seat/daybed in the corner of the balcony that receives the most sun gives the balcony a destination point, which encourages you to want to use it.
Using natural timbers and applying natural staining treatment makes it even more attractive.
To make it a permanent structure, you can add a flip top lid and an internal lining so it doubles as a waterproof storage area (for cushions, BBQ utensils, candles etc). This ticks the box of that all-important component of well thought out renovations – “you can never have enough storage space”.
What once was a void space with only one function, has now been transformed into a multi-faceted component of the apartment, and will surely add value should you decide to sell in the future.
It has added significant value because the “lifestyle” element of the balcony will be more appealing.
Cost: $1,380 (timber $480; fixing’s $100; labour $800)
Value added: $3,000
 3. Paintwork

By keeping the colour scheme simple with a touch of tradition, you attract a wider network of potential interest.
Remember, everybody’s tastes are different, and white colour schemes give the illusion of larger spaces. You also need to keep in mind that it’s not the paintwork that will define a buyer’s decision, but a clear mind during the inspection to allow the buyer to appreciate the potential.
Cost: $850 (two bedroom apartment, approximately 85m2, two coats)
Value added: $2,500
4. Fittings

Door handles, light fittings and light switches; they don’t stir the creative juices, but generically, can be important in achieving a contemporary feel.
Simply refreshing these fittings with new, contemporary designs will lift the look of your interiors and give the property a polished look.
A well prepared lighting plan can transform the aesthetics and atmosphere of individual rooms, so if you have the means – by way of high ceilings – you could consider an addition of down lights. This is definitely a specialised area for an electrical tradesperson and consultant.
Cost: $200-$1,000
Value added: $2-$5,000
5. Landscaping
A key component in adding value to a property is by way of the gardens. Increased value will be achieved if the garden appears established.
A successful, attractive garden contains colour and texture. Colour can be achieved simply by combining complimentary foliage colour, while texture can be achieved through foliage contrast.
There are two ways to achieve an established garden effect:
  1. By installing mature size plants – this involves high costs, or
  2. By catering for any voids in the garden via the use of ‘filler plants’. With the clever choice of some suitable colour and texture-effective, hardy plants, a planned and established garden can be achieved.
Some suggested filler plants with colour and texture features include:

  • Liriope ‘Evergreen Giant’ – a classic  
  • New Zealand Flax – A hardy, colour/texture choice
  • Dianella ‘Border Silver’ – Variegated foliage
  • Lomandra ‘Tanika’ and ‘Seascape’ – Native, colour/texture choice
  • Festuca glauca or Blue Fescue – Colour contrast/ foliage texture Glauca meaning silvery grey
Cost: Juvenile plants - $6 - $10; Semi-mature plants - $12 - $35; Mature plants - $85 - $245
Value added: $5-7,000
 6. Turf pave
For a freestanding property, a unique idea would be to create a car space that is installed into the lawn. Off-street parking can add enormous value to a unique property, and in this way it can be achieved without upsetting the aesthetics of the garden.
There is a product called ‘turf pave’ that allows vehicles to drive onto the lawn without killing it; the sub-surface preparation allows the roots of the lawn to establish inside a durable, load bearing cell, which is manufactured in 500mm squares that clip together.
Cost: $1,000 (approximate cost of a 15m2 car space in the lawn, including product, turf underlay (sub surface drainage), lawn and labour, at product cost of $27/m2)
Value added: $5-6,000
 7. Council approval
One option that is quite out of the ordinary, and that would add value from a potential renovator’s point of view, would be to gain council approval for building renovations – such as carport renovations or house extensions – before selling the property.
A potential investor or renovator may jump at the chance to snap your property up, because the leg work with council has already been done and approval received. This may potentially save a lot of time for any investor or renovator following sale of the property.
Cost: $500-$1,500 (varies, depending on council and cost of project)
Value added: up to $5,000


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