Selling your property is nerve-wracking enough, even without the current soft market. Your Investment Property reveals eight DIY fixes that will add thousands to your profit margin.
1. A lick of paint: “An easy, relatively inexpensive way to freshen up a property is to give your walls a fresh coat of neutral coloured paint,” says Century 21 chairman and owner Charles Tarbey. “A light shade allows people to imagine themselves living in a property, without needing to carry out a great deal of work.”
You may not even need to paint the whole thing, adds Ana Stankovic, founder of renovateandprofit.com. “Even if you don't do anything else to a home, if you paint the gutters, fascia, window frames, garage door and any other small trims, this can completely modernise a home,” she says.
2. Do a spot of gardening: The weeds might have got out of control recently, but it’s time to trim them back if you are putting your property on sale.
“The second biggest thing that adds value to a property is the ‘first impression: the photos on realestate.com.au or the drive pas,” says Stankovic. “It may not matter what the interior is like: you may be discounted before inspection if you’ve got a messy front yard, as opposed to one that’s neatly-presented and modern.”
Landscaping the garden also gives the impression that it’s easy to maintain – another draw for busy buyers.
3. Hit the deck: A comfortable outdoor living area is something buyers are increasingly looking for. While oiling a deck is a time-honoured way to spruce it up, Stankovic suggests going a step further. “If your deck is a bit older, don't just oil it, get a varnish that has a stain in it. This will make your deck look like new again.”
4. New carpet: Replacing that well-trodden shagpile can also make a huge difference. Ray White spokesperson Lyndsey Douglas suggests that it might not cost a bomb, either.
“People often overestimate how expensive a new carpet is – and underestimate what a difference it makes to the place,” she says.
If you have wooden floorboards, it may even be worth eschewing the carpet altogether – although you’ll need to invest in sanding, polishing and a few rugs.
5. Have a clear out: Removing the clutter around your property prior to sale has a couple of benefits – aesthetic and practical.
“By simply removing excess furniture and personal artefacts you can increase the feeling of spaciousness in your property, which is valued by purchasers,” says Tarbey. “The extra space also allows people to move around the property with greater ease during inspections.”
While short-term storage is an option for anything you wish to keep, a garage sale is a quick and easy way to get rid of things you don’t want or need.
6. Let there be light: Small details like changing the light fittings make a subtle but important difference, says Stankovic.
“After a good paint job, you could change some of the light fittings,” she comments. “This by itself can make your home look more stylish as there is such a wide range of designer looking light fittings out there that don't cost too much.”
It’s probably best to stay away from oversized chandeliers, however, as these may not be to everyone’s taste. Instead, keep it neutral. New doorknobs can also make a huge difference.
7. My kitchen rules: Replacing kitchen counters and cupboard handles is a relatively low-budget way to spruce up cooking areas. “If you have a fairly solid kitchen, you may not need to replace the cupboards themselves,” says Stankovic. “Put in some very fashionable square, chrome handles and it's like a new kitchen.”
If your budget won’t stretch to that, a cheaper alternative is employing some elbow grease: sanding back, repainting and revarnishing counters and doors is far less costly.
8. Choose your targets: Regardless of what you do to the property, it’s essential that you target the right areas. “Focus all changes on the main areas that will have the greatest impact on prospective buyers,” says Tarbey.
A good example is the entry point, since it gives viewers their first impression of the property. “Highly-utilised rooms such as the kitchen and bathrooms will also benefit the most from fix-it efforts when it comes to increasing buyer appeal – and ultimately selling price,” Tarbey concludes.
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