Expert Real Estate Tips

January 30, 2014
Expert Real Estate Tips

Some of us build and renovate for ourselves, and some of us build and renovate with the next home owner in mind.

Although it all comes down to the type and state of dwelling in which you live, the number of people living in it, and what your plans might ultimately be, it can be helpful to give some initial thought to your immediate renovating and building needs, as well as the needs you might have for the future.

Let’s be frank – very few of us can spare the luxury of changing our homes on a regular basis, so once decisions are made, they tend to be permanent for a while!

We caught up with Gino De Iesi, Director and Senior Auctioneer at Barry Plant, to get some thoughts on building with the bigger picture in mind.

Barry Plant

1. Taking the right tone

Painting a home can of course be one of the easier changes to make.

Then again, if you intend to lay those drop sheets only once in your home’s lifetime, then consider what colours will help it sell down the track.

As predictable as this is, neutral can be a smart move. Feature walls can be fun and certainly designer colours that pop can be incredibly impressive, but ultimately they are unlikely to please everyone. Neutral covers more bases and makes it much easier to style or stage a home if you do decide to sell down the track – neutral is literally the blank canvas that will work with everything.

2. Know what the market is after

Ultimately it all comes down to personal circumstances, but it’s probably fair to say that if, for example, you live in a double-fronted home, then you are likely to attract families when the ‘for sale’ sign goes up. So if that’s the case, then you should probably prioritise your renovations and build on areas that are important to families, such as open plan kitchen and large living areas and modern bathrooms. In contrast, if you live in a single-fronted home then you might be on the radar of professional couples, or down-sizing empty nesters. This demographic focuses on buyer quality, ready-now homes that are low maintenance with an emphasis on entertainment.
This demographic is more likely to walk away from any property that requires a major ‘overhaul’.

3. Spending money doesn’t always make money

There is such a thing as renovating the wrong areas. A classic example might be the flooring. If you rip up the carpet and discover floorboards beneath, don’t automatically remove them and replace the whole surface. Look carefully at the quality of the floorboards – they might just need a bit of sanding and a polish/varnish? Some quality TLC will cost a lot less than a whole new floor. More importantly, the money you spend on a whole new floor might not necessarily be reconciled with the final sales figure. Choose your reno and building battles.

4. Trend spotting

Back in the day, people purchased and lived in their home for a while, before selling and moving ‘up’. The nature of the market now means that more and more owner occupiers stay once they’ve purchased – moving up is just out of the financial question for most. So they look at ways to improve their current homes versus trying to find new ones. Today, that means bigger and better al fresco areas, and bigger and better shared living areas so that entertainment comes to the family rather than the family going out for entertainment. Knowing how lifestyles are changing and indeed predicting some of those changes before you start your build or reno can lead to impressive outcomes down the track.

5. Investing in the right areas

If you’re looking to build or renovate an investment property, then your priorities are going to be quite different to those of an owner/occupier dwelling. In this case, consider those heavily trafficked areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom. Update the floors and carpets if they need updating, and keep them maintained over time. Adding quality furnishings such as blinds and making sure that fixed appliances are of a fairly decent quality will a) ideally attract a quality tenant and b) withstand usage that might not involve as much care and consideration as it would from an owner occupier.

6. A chat now with the future in mind

If you have no intention of selling for years, but you’re starting to think about a build or a renovation, then a great place to start is with your local real estate agent. Go out for a coffee with them and pick their brains on what the local market is doing and what buyers are looking for; it can certainly help you in making the right renovation choices for future profit.