Bedroom Renovations

Selling your home? What to renovate, fix or just makeover for the highest return on investment

Use your time and cash wisely for the best bang on your investment buck.
Getty images

It’s a tricky dilemma – determining how much time, money and blood sweat and tears you should invest in renovating, fixing or just tidying up your house before putting it up for sale. Because, well, we all want the best return on investment. But usually by the time we decide to sell our house we’ve already set our mind and sights on newer, more exciting projects – like buying or building our own new home.

And, time’s precious. As is money. So what’s worth the time and cash investment for a substantial reward? 

Here, Steve and Suzanne Burke, co-owners of award-winning building company Amerex Renovations and Additions share their expertise and best tips…

Renovate it!

“If you are only going to invest in one place, make it the kitchen,” advise Steve and Suzanne, who are also the co-authors of Nail Your Renovation without getting Screwed. “It’s the heart and soul of the home and, the bottom line is, kitchens sell homes.”

The investment

Steve says a kitchen can cost anywhere from 10k to 100k to renovate, depending on what’s done. “If the kitchen has a really bad floor plan, it’s not worth investing your time and money in a renovation,” he warns. “The costs escalate when you are moving plumbing, fixtures, ripping off wall tiles, redoing ceilings and floors. You can replace tired and old benchtops with a great stone benchtop starting at around $650 per square metre and create a really big impact. They are expensive, but people really love stone benchtops – they can sell a house!”

The return on investment

A simple 10K kitchen renovation can easily add $20k to your sale price. A really schmick kitchen renovation can add a lot more – but be wary about investing too much money into top-of-the-range products that might not be as appreciated by potential buyers – sometimes they want to do their own renovations.

ladder and paint
(Credit: Getty images)


“Bathrooms and laundries are easy to revamp and transform the look and feel of a house,” say Steve and Suzanne. “To ensure your time and cash investment doesn’t blow out compared to your return on investment, keep the fixtures – plumbing, flooring and tiles – in the same locations and intact if possible. Some cabinetry allow you to easily replace benchtops or cupboard doors to transform the look.” You can also use tile or laminate paint to paint over existing surfaces, and chipped paint can be easily be fixed.

The investment

“A full bathroom renovation average costs is between $7.5k to 45K,” says Steve. “A makeover with –replacing benchtops, doors or just painting over existing tiles, walls and cabinetry is considerably less.” Laminate and tile paints cost around $57 per tin from Bunnings.

The return on investment

“If your home has a great kitchen it will get a big tick of approval. The next big ticket item buyers look at are bathrooms. A grotty old bathroom is a huge turn-off. Spending just a few thousand dollars can go a long way to making your home presentable.”

(Credit: Getty images)

Fix it

The house façade, front and backyard. Steve and Suzanne suggest fixing anything that’s broken before putting your palace up for sale.

 “The facade or street front appeal is particularly important because, first impressions last. Replace any old broken concrete roof tiles with new ones. Or, you could replace an old concrete tiled roof entirely with a tin roof from 20k (depending on the size) for a real transformation. If the brickwork looks dated and dull, consider rendering it – this is a low cost way of totally transforming a house exterior.”

The investment

For a few hundred bucks and a couple of weekends, you can totally transform your façade, impress potential buyers with a positive first impression and potentially add thousands of dollars to your sale price.”

Alternatively, be Bob the Builder and FIX IT! Or clean it…!

“Clean the driveway with a high pressure cleaner – you can get great cleaning products from Bunnings that will lift oil and stains on your driveway and make it look like new,” suggest Steve and Suzanne.  

“Fix chipped paint, clean up old toys and newspapers lying around and freshen up your garden – mow your lawns and do your weeding! Also, clean windows are a must if you are selling your house.

The return on investment

Great street appeal can make the difference between a potential buyer getting out of the car to look at your home, or driving on by. With a DIY clean-up you can spend little to nothing and ensure that your home appeals to buyers. By spending more to render or re-roof you should ensure that whatever you are spending can be added to the sale price so you don’t end up out of pocket. Street appeal can add approximately 10% to a sale price so do your numbers. If you don’t think you will get it back then it is probably not worth spending.

ABOUT: Steve Burke and Suzanne Burke are co-authors of Nail Your Renovation without getting Screwed $34.99 (Woodslane Press), and owners of award-winning renovation company Amerex Renovations and Additions

This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.

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