A run-down or old-fashioned property can be slightly depressing to live in, and even harder to rent out.
If you’ve found a way to buy into a great area by buying such a property, it can be a great idea to renovate it so that is an exciting, desirable place for you or prospective renters to live in.
After all, it’s in a location you believe has strong growth prospects or appeal, so it makes sense to try and get the most out of the property’s potential. If you can develop the home in such a way, you increase the market value and rental return and capitalise on the property’s terrific location.
Even with location aside, a renovation that has a wide-ranging appeal to the majority of homebuyers/renters will add value to most properties.
When you think of renovations a lot of different things can come to mind. Sure, turning the underground garage into a man-cave fit for a king with a built in bar, big screen plasma TV, pool table and pinball machine may get one man excited but across the board, will 54-year-old Joan like the idea of it when she is looking for a home to rent out?
The more people that demand your property the more it is worth so it follows that the renovations that have wide-ranging appeal, to as much a cross section of the population as possible, will add the most value to your property.
Best market value renovations
People may think the living room is the centrepiece of a house, but it’s the kitchen that is often the most important. People gather around kitchens like bees to honey for some reason, and a lovely kitchen instantly appeals to the human emotional state.
Plenty of counter space and cupboard space is a must for obvious reasons, granite or stone counter tops are best. It is amazing how much difference just doing the facing of kitchen cabinets can make, using the existing frame/box. This is a terrific way to give the kitchen an instant facelift at a fraction of the price of installing completely new cabinets.
Matching stainless steel appliances are always a winner in a new kitchen. An island counter works brilliantly if there’s enough space, and a window cut into the wall at the sink brings natural light and a view outside.
Update the Bathroom
Updating or adding an extra bathroom will add considerable value to your property. A master suite with two sinks and spacious showers and all-round square meterage are what the punters are most after.
Again, plenty of storage is a must.
Bathrooms can be expensive, but if done well will add a lot to the desirability and market value of your property.
Landscaping done poorly can be a waste of money, but done well in a way that compliments your home’s style can add a lot to the value of a dwelling.
Landscaping can be more than just a well kept piece of grass, imaginative use of rocks, ponds, paths, lighting, fences and so on can really make a property jump out at a prospective buyer.
Paint is a cheap way to freshen up the look of your home, both inside and out.
Being relatively inexpensive, it could be worth spending extra on an interior designer who could get more out of your home’s fresh new look with experienced, imaginative and tasteful use of colour.
Add a Deck
Creating outdoor entertaining space adds big value. A deck usually only costs between $10,000 – $25,000 and always look good, extending the indoor entertaining area into an outdoor living area that is also easy to maintain.
Light and Space
Dark, dingy spaces are not desirable so adding natural light where you can is a big bonus. Often a way to do this is to knock down walls that form small rooms and block the flow of natural light.
Opening up the floor plan creates fantastic and inviting entertainment areas, giving the space a light and airy feel that seems bigger than it actually is.
It usually means combing the kitchen, dining and living areas.
Renovations that might not add much market value
While often up the more ‘fun’ end of the renovation spectrum, there are some that sound good but might not add much market value or saleability to the property.
Not all potential buyers will want a swimming pool. You are effectively cutting off a percentage of prospective buyers or renters by having one, as some people see them as a hassle to maintain, dangerous, and an unwanted feature.
Those that like swimming pools will be rapt but it might not be adding as much value to the property as you hoped. They can be expensive to install and maintain and families with young children might also be put off by a property with a swimming pool.
Renovating a property on a large scale can make a property stand out from the rest in the same area. Sometimes when this is the case it can be hard to sell or rent out because people are expecting to pay a certain amount in that area.
While extensive renovations might make the property worth $850,000 instead of $650,000 for example, if the area consists of cheaper houses or smaller apartments, buyers or renters may take their $850,000 to an area where that is more the average price, surrounded by similar sorts of dwellings.
Too Much Landscaping
While most buyers appreciate well-manicured and landscaped gardens, they often don’t expect the price to be higher because of it.
Extensive landscaping can make the property attractive on the eye straight away so it can increase the number of people willing to take a closer look at the property, but it doesn’t hide the other details of the house.
It can also be seen as expensive and labour intensive to maintain, a potential turn-off for buyers.
Brand new carpets throughout a house are a selling point to only a portion of the buying/renting population.
They can harbour allergens and don’t fit the lifestyle and colour/style desires of some people. Removing the old carpet and restoring the old wooden floors is usually a much better renovation investment idea.
Renovations that you can’t really see with the eyes but make the house better to live in such as a new plumbing or heating system might be necessary, but you might not recover the costs of installation when it comes time to sell.
Many buyers expect these sorts of things to be in good working order when they purchase a property, and don’t expect to be paying more for them.