With spring upon us, almost a third of property investors we surveyed for our Investor Sentiment Survey in August were getting ready to put their homes on the market - more than half of those within the next six months.

With the hopes of trying to improve their re-sale value, many investors will undertake simple DIY home projects to ensure they make the most out of selling their property.

After all, you want to be sure that the value a given project adds to your home comfortably outweighs the costs.

Co-founder of real estate agency Airlisting Veronica Gravolin explains why investors should consider spending that little bit of money on small home improvements.

“When you take on small DIY projects, a potential buyer will look at your property versus others and ultimately choose yours and also pay more for yours, simply because you’ve done something to set your property apart from others on the market,” Ms Gravolin told Your Investment Property Magazine.

While renovating your property to increase re-sale value is no easy task, there are a few tips and tricks you can undertake (without a handyman!) to achieve this.

1. Apply a fresh lick of paint

Giving your home an aesthetic makeover by applying a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference when attracting buyers to your property.

Not only this, it’s one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest DIY projects you can do to give your home a new lease on life.

“The most cost effective, highest return renovation a seller can do is paint the walls white and the externals a white to light grey colour,” Ms Gravolin said.

“While buyers respond negatively to that creamy yellow toned paint you see in a lot of older properties, they respond very well to fresh white paint.”

Australia’s leading renovation expert Cherie Barber says painting is the perfect place for renovators to start.

“Painting is within the skill level of most people so it’s something they can easily do themselves whilst also keeping it cheap and cost-effective,” Ms Barber told Your Investment Property Magazine.

“It has huge transformation effects as it can take a dated property and make it look brand new, but also has the ability to make a room look larger and brighter.”

The key takeaway point - stick with neutral colours to draw the right buyers in.

2. Improve curbside appeal

It’s no secret that first impressions count when it comes to buyers.

When they turn up to your open home, the first thing they’ll notice (and probably judge on some pretty tough criteria) is the exterior of the property and the landscaping. This is why you want to make your street appeal stand out.

“Lawns are my number two DIY project I recommend to sellers all the time as a fresh lawn and new plants will significantly increase the buyer appeal,” Ms Gravolin explained.

“Replacing the letter box is another one which I must admit, may seem odd at first. But rather than a letterbox on a metal stick that’s not sitting straight, you can go to Bunnings and buy a brand new square one for cheap. First home buyers are proud homeowners, so having a nice letter box is a quick and beneficial fix.

“My last tip is to look at your driveway. If your driveway is really average and worn out and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, driveway paint is a really good investment and very cost-effective.”

What’s fantastic about this type of renovation is that you can do most of it yourself, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

3. Switch out your old lights

The type and quality of light in your home can positively attract buyers to it, or turn them away.

Although changing lightbulbs is not really the exciting transformational element everyone talks about, it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

“One of the biggest problems for a lot of homes across the country that haven’t been renovated is that they will just have a single oyster light in the middle of the ceiling,” Ms Barber explained.

“They cast yellow tones in the room and are very dull and dim. By default, they throw a lot of shadows around the room and they make everything look rather glum.

“By taking those out and swapping them for an LED downlight, all of your surfaces will become illuminated as light is bounced around the room.”

Upgrading your existing lights to LED downlights is an advantageous move that won’t break the bank. Downlights that are supplied and installed cost between $50 to $60 each these days and because they work so well, you generally only need one to two in every room.

A light and bright space is sure to make your listing stand out from the rest. On the other hand, a poorly lit home can appear cold, uninviting, and small.

This little, yet important change that seems insignificant, can help you get the best price possible for your property.

4. Update the window furnishings

Natural light is a vital selling point for homes. By upgrading your window furnishings, you’re helping show potential buyers how light and bright the interior can be.

“A lot of people have vertical drapes, nanny’s old lace curtains, or dark and heavy curtains in their homes which restrict a lot of light into the property and make it look smaller than it is,” Ms Barber explained.

“Replacing the outdated window furnishings with new modern alternatives will be complimentary to your property and make it so much more welcoming.”

5. Change the flooring

Carpet stains, scuffed hardwood floors, or cracked tiles are enough to change a buyer's mind and could affect the price they’re willing to pay for your property.

If you’re nodding your head to the above, it might be time to change the flooring before you have a “For Sale” sign out the front of your property.

“If your carpet is looking terrible, or has worn out patches, then this is another fix you’ll want to undertake before selling,” Ms Gravolin said.

“However, if the carpet looks relatively okay, it can be better to put your money elsewhere like staging your property as most buyers are going to pull the carpet out anyway for other flooring options.”

While most homes do have carpets in the bedrooms, Ms Barber recommends getting rid of all your carpets completely and replacing them with floorboards.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that carpets can actually make a house look a lot smaller than it is,” she said.

“If you have mismatched flooring where you may have timber in one section of the home, and then have tiles in the kitchen, and carpets in the bedroom, I would suggest ripping it all out and have one consistent flooring throughout the entire home. Of course, with the exception of the laundry and bathrooms.

“By keeping it consistent, your whole home will look larger which by default will add value.”

Unlike the other DIY projects, upgrading your flooring may require the help of a tradie so make sure to take this into account.

Don’t leave your reno’s till the last minute

“Don’t leave anything till the last minute” has never been more true than now.

If you’re planning to renovate and sell your property anytime soon, there are two things you need to do ASAP:

  1. Order your materials
  2. Book in your tradies

With Australia’s construction crisis still looming, it’s imperative to get all your ducks in a row.

“You want to order your materials as far in advance as possible so that you aren't caught having to settle for your second, third, or fourth alternatives,” Ms Barber recommended.

“A lot of tradies are quoting six to 12 month wait times. You definitely want to book them months in advance to avoid missing out.”

Boost your home’s value now

You don’t need to break the piggy bank with home renovations in order to see an added value to your property’s price.

But before you embark on this journey, there are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Your budget
  2. The location of your property
  3. The current property market

Once you check all these off the to-do list, you’ll be ready to choose the renovations that will be worthwhile to your home for the spring selling season.