How to boost your home’s value on a budget

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

For most Australians, their property is more than just a place to call home; it’s an investment for the future.

So when it comes time to sell, it’s no wonder most homeowners try to boost their property’s sale value with some home improvements.

But with Aussies battling the worst cost of living crisis since the 1980s, most families don’t have $10,000 plus of spare cash to revamp a kitchen or build extra bathrooms.

However, adding those extra bucks to your home value doesn’t have to break the bank, with property experts singing the “appraises” of budget-friendly upgrades that deliver maximum returns.

Real Estate Institute of Australia President Hayden Groves told Build-it that sometimes the most minor changes can make the most significant impact when securing a higher sales price.

“This can often be a simple clean up of the home and garden, mild cosmetic repairs and maintenance, through to recommending a property stylist to present the property for optimum presentation,” Mr Groves recommended.

“Your real estate agent can advise you on achieving optimum presentation within your budget and sale goals.”

Avoid kitchens and bathrooms

Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to renovating a property for the purpose of selling.

“The old adage that ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’ still rings true. But be careful, or you’ll watch your total budget be swallowed whole,” she told Build-it.

“Put simply, kitchens are expensive – splashbacks, soft-close drawers, breakfast bars, butler’s pantries, integrated appliances… It’s incredibly easy to go overboard.”

Biggest bang for your buck

Ms Mercorella said home sellers on a budget should focus on finding “quick wins” rather than time-consuming and costly changes.

“(Consider) where can you make home improvements with minimal effort for maximum effect,” she told Build-it.

She said homeowners would see better returns by upgrading “high-visibility” areas of the home, rather than laundries, while removing general signs of wear and tear could make a property feel like new.

“Focus on cosmetic renovations in highly visible and regularly utilised areas,” she said.

“For example, internal renovations which add appeal with minimal cost include small scale cosmetic improvements such as a fresh coat of paint, new carpets or floor coverings, updating fixtures, and updating cabinetry and handles.”

First impressions count

Savvy sellers never overlook the front of their property, which can boost their home’s value by up to 10 per cent at sale time.

This could include new exterior paint and the opportunity to modernise your property with a colour refresh.

Other easy exterior renovations include modernising lighting, improving front fencing, and landscaping and gardening in the front yard.

“As with everything exterior, first impressions count and are often lasting impressions,” Ms Mercorella said.

“So giving your property’s street façade a facelift can help attract potential buyers and achieve a better return on your investment.”

DIY can be more costly

But before DIY experts pick up the toolbelt, Mr Groves warned Build-it readers to refrain from undertaking any home improvements that legally require the attention of a licenced professional.

“REIA absolutely discourages people from improvements that require a certified tradesperson to carry out, particularly for electrical, gas and plumbing fixtures,” he said.

“Structural improvements often require council approval, such as the erection of decking, so any seller who undertakes their work will need to seek out what they can and can’t do.”

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.