7 smart reno projects to add value to your home

The secret to a profitable renovation isn’t just in how you spend your money, but where.

We’ve become a nation of renovation fanatics, with shows like Selling Houses Australia and Love It Or List It Australia inspiring us to roll up our sleeves and breathe new life into our homes. But how do you get the most bang for your renovation buck? We asked Naomi Findlay, founder of the Rapid Reno Mate app, the smartest places to splash your cash for maximum returns come auction day.

1.  Updating your kitchen

As any Andrew Winter fan will attest, kitchens sell houses! Putting money into a kitchen reno is a brilliant way to boost the value of your home, just remember to resist the urge to get fixated on tile and tap choices. It’s the functional stuff that makes a kitchen truly livable. “One of the best ways to add value to your kitchen is to increase your storage, there never seems to be enough!” says Naomi. “Accentuate the room with lighting such as pendant lights or feature lighting on shelving and under cabinetry and think about building in a tech hub or concealed cabinets for modems and chargers.”

2. Renovating your bathroom

Coming a close second is a new bathroom. “A stylish bathroom is one of the top five things that buyers look for in a new property, so opting to renovate here is always going to pay off,” says Naomi. If your end goal is to sell, prioritise the needs of potential buyers above your own personal taste. “There’s no use adding a double shower and sink but leaving no room for a bath if your target market has young children. And if you have three or more bedrooms, you’ll need plenty of storage in your vanity or mirror cabinet.”

3. Modernising your floor plan

Open planning living is another huge drawcard for potential buyers. If you’re living in a rabbit warren, seek professional advice from an architect or registered builder on how you can open up your space. “You can choose to remove walls to increase space in your living area, where the natural flow goes from the kitchen to living or out to an outdoor area,” says Naomi. “Both will increase space and bring two areas together to maximise the ability to entertain.” If structural limitations or a tight budget won’t allow for a total redesign, get smart with your décor. “Redesign the space with great furniture and art or mirrors,” says Naomi. “I like to use masking tape and newspaper to mark up where I want to put furniture and see if any high-traffic areas make it difficult for a large piece of furniture to sit there.”

4. Increasing your storage

Storage is one of the most commonly over-looked updates when it comes to renovating, and the best part is, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as a complete kitchen or bathroom overhaul. “Storage is always a winner with the buyers,” says Naomi. “It should be integrated into your home, so it feels like it belongs there and is not just an afterthought. Think clever; your storage should be well fitted out, so you can maximise its efficiency.” Speak to a cabinet maker or interior designer about how you can boost storage in your laundry, bedrooms and kitchen for maximum impact.

5. Boosting natural light

Nothing gives a room that special “sit and stay awhile” quality like natural light. Skip the expense of installing new windows by investing in some carefully positions skylights. “The best places to add natural lighting to are kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and hallways,” says Naomi. “Just be conscious of waterproofing and installation processes. They can be easy to install yourself, but it’s always worth getting a pro to do it if you can afford it.”

6. Upgrading your outdoor space

Thinking about scrimping on your outdoor space? Think again! “I genuinely believe your outdoor area is just as important as your kitchen and bathroom to a buyer these days,” says Naomi. “It can be a great extension of the footprint of your living space. Think shade and fans in summer and heating in winter.” Whether you’re building a deck or just tarting up a balcony, consider about how your updates will fare in all four seasons. “Think about weather-proofing it for wind, sun, and rain and ensure there’s plenty of ventilation,” says Naomi. “Also, consider privacy – you don’t want to be looking into your neighbour’s bedroom.”

7. Improving curb appeal

No matter how lovely your home is on the inside if the exterior has seen better days you could be missing out on some serious coin. “Your buyer’s first impression is set in the first 60 seconds, so the moment they get out of their car and step onto the curb they will start to judge the property,” says Naomi. Paint is the best way to boost curb appeal. “Add a fresh coat and see what a difference it makes! Just make sure if you’re painting the exterior yourself, you’re aware of power lines around you. You may need to get a pro to do it if they’re too close.”

Love It Or List It season two airs on Lifestyle, from Wednesday, September 26, 8.30pm

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