Most people assume that doing a full renovation before they sell will result in a higher selling price. Sometimes this is true, but not always. Before deciding whether to renovate to sell, you should do a bit of research and work out if renovating is right for your circumstances; and what areas you should spend your renovation dollar on.

Here are a few things to consider:
– Does your house lack something every other house in the neighbourhood has? If so, buyers may decide your house is worth less and try to screw you down in price. It might be worth renovating or adding to your existing property so you are on the same game board as all the other sellers in your area.

– If you do renovate, can you add on or change something within the existing footprint of the property? For example, you might be able to turn a formal dining area into an extra bedroom or partition off a section of a large living area to create an office. Of course, only do something like this if the costs involved are less than or at least equal to what you hope to gain, and don’t do it at all if it will result in a weird layout. The last thing you want is for a room to look tacked.

– Research, research, research. Talk to agents, look up or and find out what type of buyer your suburb attracts. Is your area perfect for families? Perhaps it’s ideal for commuting to the city, or maybe it’s better suited to retirees. Whatever the demographic, skew your reno towards the things that those buyers are likely to want and need in a house. It’s no good spending a fortune adding an extra bedroom at the expense of an entertainment area if your target buyer is a single who loves to entertain.

– Prioritise what you are going to renovate. Look at the exterior and see what you can do there to trick up the property without spending a lot of money. Kitchen and living areas should be next on your list. Remember, living areas can include indoor and outdoor spaces so utilise all those areas well.

– If you still have enough in the budget, look at the bathroom next and see if there is anything you can update here without too much expense. I rarely advise adding a carport or fixing up a laundry (unless its really bad!); it’s unlikely to add much to the final selling price. Of course, if you think it’s the one thing that will get you on par with every other house for sale in the neighbourhood, go right ahead, but keep your budget tight.

– Keep your renovation palette fairly neutral so that it appeals to a broader market. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring; you still want it to stand out, but you need to strike a balance. You want eye-catching, not off-putting.

– You don’t have to renovate every part of the house (here’s proof you don’t need to). You’ve probably lived in the house for long enough to know all its good and bad points, but a buyer is looking at it for the first time, so you can get away with tricking up and making cosmetic improvements rather than doing a full renovation. Even if a buyer comes back to look at the property 3 or 4 times, the total time they’ve spent there is likely to be only a couple of hours, maximum. That’s probably less time than most people spend researching new televisions before purchasing!

Buyers aren’t going to notice every little detail, so your focus should be making it visually appealing, ensuring it is safe and getting things right for the building inspection.