Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Putting your property on the market is no different.
Australia’s property market is wild. Auctions are regularly packed out and even modest houses are selling hundreds of thousands of dollars above reserve price.
It is, without a doubt, a seller’s market. So if you’re lucky enough to count yourself in that demographic, why not take advantage of the high demand and deep buyer pockets?
Investing in some home improvements before you go to market can seriously increase the value of your home, but it’s worth being strategic on what you spend your money on.
To give you a helping hand, we asked the experts for their advice on what’s worth improving, so you can see the biggest return on investment.
Brighten up the exterior
It’s the first thing prospective buyers see yet many sellers forget to freshen up the outside of their property, or simply choose not to.
According to Lachlan Vidler, director of residential buyer’s agency Atlas Property Group, that’s a major opportunity missed.
“Have a look at the outside of your house and see what you can brighten up – from colour palette to some fresh green plants or grass, these types of changes increase emotional appeal and add value to your home,” said Vidler.
“I have seen homes go for literally tens of thousands of dollars more, by brightening up with neutral and fresh paints,” he told Finder.
Install solar panels
Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular with buyers who know they’ll benefit from green energy and far cheaper electricity bills. In fact, Origin Energy surveyed over 1,000 Australians and found 77% valued a home higher if it was installed with solar panels.
“Solar panels do indeed add value to a home – even more so if they have a battery storage system,” said Ray Ellis, chief executive of First National Real Estate.
“It is definitely becoming more common and statistics are showing Australians are adding solar to their rooftops at some of the fastest rates in the world,” he told Finder.
With government rebates available to many buyers, the average solar panel installation might not be as expensive as you think. Plus, international studies show it could add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.
Don’t forget flooring
While a new lick of paint can work wonders, it’ll be easily overshadowed if you have dirty carpets or heavily damaged flooring.
“New flooring will add to the property’s value because this is usually the first thing that buyers look at and take note whether there will be additional spending for them to be replaced once they have purchased the property,” said Lloyd Edge, founder of buyer’s agency Aus Property Professionals.
“Buyers will always calculate in their head what they will need to spend after they take ownership of the property to bring it up to standard,” he told Finder.
Upgrade the kitchen
It’s the heart of the home and a good kitchen can often mean the difference between a house left on the market or selling well above expectations.
“Kitchens sell homes and are one of the most sought-after aspects of a property,” confirmed property expert Vidler. “Even quick and simple renovations like adding or changing to a tile splashback, changing the benchtop to marble-style laminate and changing cabinetry can be low-cost options that deliver big results.”
According to Vidler, most kitchen renovations can easily achieve a $3 value increase for every $1 spent. So investing $10,000 in a new kitchen could realistically add $30,000 value to your property – if done right.
Consider heating and cooling systems
Once a luxury, heating and cooling systems are gradually moving into must-have territory for many homebuyers.
“Air conditioning and heating units are absolutely desirable – reverse-cycle air conditioning is considered the most efficient in hotter climates whereas in cooler climates gas systems are considered the best and do add value to a property both in sale and rental,” said real estate exec Ray Ellis.
“We are finding particularly in Victoria there are mandatory requirements to add energy-efficient heating with other states likely to follow suit soon,” he told Finder.
Reconsider the floor plan
Poorly used or underutilised space is a serious value-killer. According to property investment expert Vidler, reevaluating the floor plan is an absolute must.
“Many homes around Australia have large and spacious interiors that could be put to better use,” he told Finder. “If you can reconfigure a few walls and create another bedroom, this can add tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of value.”
Of course, this comes with a caveat. While it can work for large homes that have plenty of space, your efforts – and money – may be wasted if you squeeze another tiny bedroom into an already-snug home.
Covering the costs
If you can’t afford the upfront costs now, there are other ways to cover costs, including personal loans, credit cards and buy now pay later providers.
For example, buy now pay later provider humm lets customers spend up to $30,000 with partners then spread that cost over a maximum of five years. Partners range from solar retailers and air conditioning companies through to hardware stores and homewares.
While there are start-up costs and monthly fees, you won’t be strung with any interest. That means as soon as you sell your home, you can pay off the full balance without being hit with any penalties.
Hopefully, the extra value you added to your home will more than cover the initial costs and you’ll be laughing! Happy house selling!