Home make-overs – Before you Sell


Homeowners wanting to do a makeover on their home before selling, often fall into the trap of the snowballing renovation. You know the sort, it starts with just doing up the bathrooms, but that makes the kitchen look out of date, so you have to do that too.

Then you realise that giving the kitchen a bit of love makes the colour scheme in the living areas look a bit tired, so the paintbrushes come out. Before you know it, you’re talking about ripping up the carpet and putting in new flooring.

The next thing you know, your bank balance has plummeted, you’ve blown your budget, but you still haven’t got a property that will attract buyers.

So how do you avoid overcooking your renovation? Here are five tips to assist you in working out where to start and when to stop.

1) Start with the exterior. Almost always. You might have heard it said that people are more inclined to buy if the kitchen or bathroom are done up, but I have a different perspective. (See my previous article Renovating to sell – Don’t listen to the Experts). What’s the first thing people see when looking for a house? It doesn’t matter whether they’re looking on the internet or physically driving around, the first thing they view is the exterior. If your exterior is uninviting, buyers won’t even bother to look inside.

2) Prioritise. Do the ‘must do’ things first. If your exterior doesn’t need too much attention but your bathroom is atrocious, then it makes sense to spend a bit of money here. If everything is passable, spread your budget around by doing a light cosmetic makeover on several areas. This might be as simple as freshening up the furnishings, doing a bit of landscaping and painting the exterior trims.

3) Research. If you’re not sure exactly where to spend your makeover budget, contact a few real estate agents and ask them for an estimate on your property and tell them what you’re thinking of updating. They should know what buyers are looking for and be able to give you a few ideas on where to spend your renovation dollars. Don’t be talked into putting the house on the market without doing it up; you might get a quick sale, but you won’t make the same profit as you would after a well thought through makeover.

4) Know who your ideal buyer is. If you’re not sure, ask your real estate agent. It’s no good spending all your money doing up a trendy little main bathroom if your buyer is more interested in a well-appointed ensuite. If your most likely buyer is a young family, they’re probably okay with everything not being perfect, so long as functional spaces work for them.

5) Get a different perspective. Approach your makeover from your buyer’s viewpoint and work out what they are most likely to focus on. There is a vast difference between renovating to sell and renovating to live in. You know all the quirks of your house, but a potential buyer is only looking at the appearance and functionality of spaces, so try and see things through their eyes.

Using these tips should have you well on the way to a successful makeover and financially rewarding sale. For advice from our expert team to get you the best make-over result and ultimately the quickest, most profitable sale, read more about our Renovating to Sell service here.