When renovating, one of the most challenging things is to ensure you appeal to your most important audience – the future buyer.
This Block season, we’ve seen some of the couples struggle to renovate with the potential buyer in mind in a style that’s suitable for the St Kilda market. As a part of The Block’s Buyer’s Jury, I advise contestants to ensure they early on establish the demographic of the area to make sure they are considering attributes that will add value to their apartments. Many renovators make the mistake of overcapitalising and spend too much money in areas that necessarily won’t add much value to the home.
Here are some of my top tips when renovating for your target market:
Know your market
Many people rush into renovations before really knowing too much about the area they’re in. Research the demographic and surroundings, who lives here and who will most likely be attracted to the area, for example is it downsizers, families or young professionals? Would the potential buyer be an investor or owner-occupier? For example, if you’re in a family area, the renovation should be approached with children in mind and focus on areas such as the kitchen, living rooms and backyard.
Your local area
Each area has its own personality where certain attributes are expected. In a Brighton house many people expect a pool and are willing to pay for that, but further out in the suburbs were people don’t anticipate it, it might not add any value to the home. If you’re in an area with many young professionals, a proper study may add value to the property instead of a third bedroom or an extra living area, as many professionals today tends to work a lot from home.
Consider your floorplan
One thing that impacts many peoples’ decision whether to rent or buy a property is the floorplan. Many people look for a good flow between each area with an abundance of natural light throughout. Areas such as kitchen and living room should be facing north for maximum natural light. Avoid having the kitchen tucked away in a separate room, or having a bathroom that comes off the kitchen, not the hallway.
Spend money in the right areas
When you know your area and have the future buyer in mind, it’s time to start renovating. The research will help you avoid overcapatilising and spend money on features that may not add any value to your home for resale. Try to retain original features of the home, like cornices and original stained-glass windows. Updated heritage features in combination with modern touches are appreciated by many buyers.
I always say that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. These areas could cost a lot to renovate but remember that many updates can be made without blowing your budget, you might be surprised what a fresh coat of white paint or new tapware can do to the room. Other cost friendly updates include polishing timber floors, updating light fittings, replacing door and drawer handles, and when it comes to the exterior, landscaping and painting the outside of your home can add value. It’s important to have the front of the home well presented as we all know that first impressions do matter.
Even if you’re not planning on selling your home straight away, it pays to plan for the future to ensure you get the most return on your investment for the day when you do decide to put your home on the market.
–Greville Pabst is a leading expert in the Australian property market with over 30 years’ industry experience. He is the CEO of , one of Australia’s largest buyer’s advocacy, property advisory and valuation firms. gives home buyers and sellers the advice they need to make informed decisions. Don’t risk a guess, chat to one of their trusted associates to the get the information you need before starting your property journey.