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Recent Home Living Property Culture The Team
Property

Should You Renovate Before You Sell

12-Jul-2018
Written By Emma Brancatisano

Property Photography By Des Harris & Nathan Harrod


At the back of East Killara, a family home had not been renovated for about 40 years. After Aimee’s family moved into the parkland-backed property on Parnell Street, she was worried its rundown state would block a successful sale.

“I wanted to achieve a quick sale and I believed the house’s condition would prevent this,” she said.

“I also thought that the sale price I wanted to achieve would only be possible with renovation.”

These are the concerns of many prospective sellers, but whether renovation is the answer to bringing the best return on your home is not always simple.

“It’s very common for sellers to feel it’s better to do some renovation. But sometimes if you don’t do a decent job, or you’re doing it just for sale and haven’t thought of other people’s needs, this may not always help,” McConnell Bourn agent Wendy Xu said.

“We always approach it case-by-case. For this project, we were certain it was going to help.”

For Ms Xu, useful renovation means bringing the property as close to a ‘saleable standard’.

This starts with working out your target buyer group, which can affect what you may change or renovate.

“When I started working with the client, this property was in a poor, rundown condition. If we did nothing, we would be targeting those looking for something they could renovate and add value themselves as a buyer,” Ms Xu said.

“Post renovation, we could target people with the budget and willingness to move in straight away. This can sometimes help the owner to widen their market and drive competition and price.”

But she adds it is important to appraise which parties are most valuable to the property.

“Renovated does not always mean ‘nice’ to a buyer(s), but a good renovation always attracts more buyers,” Ms Xu said.

When it comes to taking action, sellers can often be left in the dark over where to spend their money – and when to stop.

“I thought it would be a challenge and this resulted in some delays initiating the necessary arrangements,” Aimee said.

“I was fortunate to find someone who could do the work extremely quickly, efficiently and with a vision for the property that resulted in maximising its marketability.”

For Aimee’s home, this meant refurbishing floors, painting walls and frames, renovating the kitchen and toilets as well as landscaping and clearing gardens.

According to Ms Xu, structural issues or major repairs should always be a priority.

“Fix the bones of the house – typically patchwork, painting, general maintenance and anything glaringly obvious that may turn a prospective purchaser off,” she said.

“Beyond that, any changes to make the house more refreshed can help,” she said.

While kitchens and bathrooms will be the most extensive part of your renovation, Ms Xu recommends focusing on the latter.

“Sometimes people will have their own preferences for the kitchen, but they will generally appreciate a refreshed bathroom,” she said.

Changes to the property’s exterior will always cost more.

“You could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars, so that’s where you should be careful,” Ms Xu said.
“If it’s not that bad, we always have other ways to work around that.”

In February, Aimee’s renovated home sold after 26 days on the market.

“We can confirm that we appraised the property in its original state and after the renovations, and from there we were able to significantly lift the price guide that we were going to quote to the market,” Ms Xu said.

Aimee said she was “extremely happy” with the outcome.

“At the beginning, she wasn’t sure what she needed, but after the whole process, she was delighted,” Ms Xu said.

Her recommendation for prospective sellers is to seek help early.

“What we are confident in is having professionals who know exactly where to spend the money to make the home more appealing to buyers but also how to help owners control their budget,” Ms Xu said.

“In this case, it definitely paid off.”

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