According to Cathy Morrissey, of The Reno Chick, the answer is a no-brainer.
“If I had to say what gets people in the door, it is the front yard, your outdoor room,” says Morrissey, who has managed seven renovations since 2012. Each has returned a six-figure sum.
“That’s because if you can’t get them (prospective buyers) in the first 10 seconds, if you can’t make a good impression, you will never have a chance.”
If I had to say what gets people in the door, it’s the front yard.
Morrissey says her own daughter is currently looking to buy a home and already has decided not to stop and inspect 20 houses because she hasn’t liked the front yard.
“Investors don’t care so much because they are thinking about what they can do to improve it themselves but for owner occupants it’s their home so spend a little if that is all you have and it will bring the best return on your outlay.
“Make that positive first impression and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it.”
If you have less than $500, Morrissey suggests you:
- Buy some new plants and flowers
- Mow the lawn
- Clean the concrete
- Remove rubbish
- Prune existing foliage
- Add some fresh mulch
- Paint the front fence
She recently spent $6,000 cosmetically refreshing the front of an investment property in Sydney. She says the 35-day paint-and-gardens project made her $105,000 profit.
“Paint the fence if you can and get the front yard looking really neat because that will get people in your front door.”
Kitchen a sure winner
The kitchen of almost any property will return the best bang-for-your-renovation bucks when it comes time to sell, he says.
“I would say it is probably one of the most expensive (rooms) to do but for returns I would have to say the kitchen,” Hall says.
“If a buyer comes in, it really looks like a lot of money has been spent and a lot of hard work when they are confronted with a new kitchen but it actually doesn’t have to be expensive.”
Hall’s tips for saving money on your kitchen include:
- Shopping for a package of appliances including range-hood, oven and cook-top
- Buy flat packed kitchens and install yourself if you can
- Buy a mainstream brand of appliances suitable to your target market
- Don’t over-capitalise
“If you do have a bit of cash to spend, while it is the bigger ticket investment it will bring the biggest return on spend because it is your home’s highest traffic area and everyone really wants that open-plan flow to an impressive-looking kitchen.
“You will pay $15K-$20K for a top end kitchen, $10K-$15K for a very good kitchen but you could expect a return of three times minimum on that spend.
“In this current market you can sometimes get up to five times your investment on your kitchen reflected in your post-renovation valuation price.”
Cherie Barber of Renovating for Profit also thinks a kitchen is the most important room as “buyers love a smartly renovated, modern kitchen and, done well, you’ll always get a good return on investment.”
“Between $7,500 to $12,500 is a reasonable ballpark to budget for an average kitchen reno; obviously a lot more for a luxury fit out,” Barber says.
“I always say your kitchen reno budget should be no more than 2% of your property’s current value.
“The other really important room, for the same reasons, is the bathroom …”
Don’t forget the wet areas
Experts, including Justin Lilburne from JPP Buyers Advocates who renovates in his spare time, say updating a bathroom can potentially add sizeable value provided its bath, shower and toilet remain in their original locations.
If you don’t have to move these fixtures’ pipes you could save a lot of money and get maximum return on your renovation.
“A quick update could be done for $5,000-$10,000 and the return on investment would be$30,000-$40,000,” Lilburne says.
“However, adding an additional bathroom will increase the number of potential buyers and this will increase the gain; keeping mind it will depend on the type of dwelling and location of the existing plumbing along with ease of access.”