House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile? - Aussie Stock Forums

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  1. #1

    Default House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    Advice appreciated on the following.

    My mother plans on selling her house around the end of 2008 then moving interstate (health issues - warmer climate should help).

    What I'm looking for is to find out what (if anything) is worth doing to the house that will be profitable when its sold. That is, things that add more to the sale value (or at least makes it a lot easier to sell) than it costs to do.

    She needs all the $ she can get from the sale so this is strictly a renovation for profit not lifestyle.

    House is 3 bed built of concrete blocks which are painted white. Tile roof. Overall condition is somewhat of a "renovator's delight" with not much done to it since it was built in the late 1970's. It is structurally fine however. Concrete slab on ground for the floor. Overall size about 14sq.

    There are a lot of other houses for sale in the area and plenty more under construction. So I am thinking she might have trouble selling if some work isn't done to the place first (?).

    The labour will be free (mine ) except where I don't know how to do the work.

    I'm thinking of doing the following but would appreciate some comments:

    1. All rooms. Curtains in poor to very poor condition. Thinking of either new curtains OR vertical blinds. Which is best to get?

    Internal paintwork has already been done except bathroom.

    2. Bathroom.

    Shower screen broke years ago so will get a new one.

    Shower tiles need re-grouting. I'm thinking I could DIY but need to find out how first (or is it a job for a professional?)

    Has mirror tiles that are in poor condition - plan to remove them, paint the room then install an ordinary mirror on the wall.

    3. Ensuite has shower tiles as above. Plan to remove pull-cord strip heater and fluoro light and install a Tastic instead (I'm licensed to do electrical work so won't cost much).

    4. Lounge is OK apart from a small moth-eaten section of carpet in the corner (moths have been killed professionally years ago). Carpet backing is same light colour as carpet so it isn't overly noticeable. Wasn't planning to fix it as think cost will exceed benefit (?).

    5. Dining is at one end of lounge. OK but planning to change the 1970's track lights for a pendant light over the table.

    6. Family room has red carpet in very worn condition plus ceramic tiles from old woodheater (since replaced with heat pump in lounge). Also has single fluoro tube for light. Planning to rip up carpet myself and get professional to install new carpet. Plan to put modern looking 3-spot halogen light fitting in place of fluoro.

    7. Kitchen and laundry have same red carpet as family room. Plan to rip it up and get professional to install either tiles or vinyl (think it is vinyl?) flooring. Which is best?

    Kitchen cupboard doors are wooden. They have some marks from the cat but are functional. Wasn't planning to replace them but might sand and re-varnish them so they look better (won't be able to get them perfect though).

    8. Outside. Paint needs to be redone and also there are a few spots where some of the mortar has come out. Bricks are all still in their proper place though so it isn't too bad. Plan on fixing the mortar and repainting the East, North and West sides. The South side is in almost perfect condition and not very visible anyway (close to fence).

    Fence is in reasonable condition (alredy done some work on it) but the paint is wearing off. Is it worth repainting it (given all the time and hassle of doing so)?

    So my overall question is what is likely to be profitable to do. The purpose isn't lifestyle - house will be for sale shortly after it's done. Obviously I don't want to be spending my weekends doing things that aren't going to be profitable since mum will get more hassle than enjoyment from the work - just doing it to make the place better to sell.

    Or is it better to just sell "as is"?

  2. #2

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    If its a 'renovators delight' then imo selling largely 'as is' rather than trying a partial reno is a better choice, so only minor stuff as you've indicated seems more sensible.

    * Painting is always a good idea - makes a huge difference and costs so little and allows you to add light/colour in ways that can improve the appearance.

    * flooring the same story - relatively cheap (carpet, tiles, floorboards) and can modernise and enhance a place if done well.

    * selling an old house vacant is a good idea imo - the bare bones look allows the buyers free reign to let their creative juices flow - so if not vacant then clearing out as much furniture as practical to storage during the sale process to give it as empty a look as possible.

    * cosmetic cabinetry repairs, toilet seat, shower curtain etc. Tile re-grouting sounds sensible - you can probably do it yourself - might get away with just a very good clean unless the grouts come out.

    * I'd consider just removing the curtains and not having blinds at all, just uncovered windows. Lets light in and buyers can get excited about adding blinds etc. You'd have the blinds up during an open anyway unless you're in the tropics and its not airconditioned in which case airconditioning.

    * yard - make sure its mowed, weeded, trim and tidy. Adding a few plants and/or bark mulch to garden beds. Borders on garden beds. Extensive trimming of overgrown plants and maybe removing or replacing old fashioned shrubs/plants/pots.

    * Fencing - painting or tidying up if dilapidated can make a difference as well. People with dogs and kids like fenced yards.

    * cupboards and benchtops can often be easily updated as well. Painting old cupboards etc.

    * new appliances can make a difference even in an old place - new oven. If old fridge and washing machine in there maybe update them (don't have to get carried away on cost, just creates a more tidy impression - bit of an expensive exercise though).

    For home buyers the bathroom is an important part of the house so the more you can make it look nice and clean the better - painting, regrouting, toilet seat, taps. (putting new taps in bathroom and kitchen can have a subtle modernising effect without looking tacky as long as you choose the right ones).

    Its easy to not get your reno money back in a flat or weak market so be careful not to over spend. Also get an idea of whether buyers in the area are typically investors, first home buyers or buyers upgrading and do a thorough inspection of similar properties and on the market in the area and get a feel for whats going on and buy the recent local sales data and do a drive around comparison rather than trust the agents opinion.
    Don't take investment advice from seafood.

  3. #3

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?


    Go find an agent or 2 your comfortable with.

    You need someone who will be straight with you.
    They know the area and they know what buyers are looking for.

    Show them through---get a couple.

    Ask them what you would need to do to get maximum sale price.
    Find out what that would be in an ideal world.
    You now have Figure 1

    Then ask what its worth NOW.
    Figure 2.

    Now do the maths
    From the list of as now to ideal crank up the costs
    The rest I'm sure you can work out.
    Dont forget your time is worth $$s.

    I just sold a tennented property.
    To gain another "Possible" $35K I had to invest around $28K so I sold at $35K under top market. Sold in 48 hrs of listing.On to the next!

  4. #4

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    theres always the 'redheads' renovation - surely to become popular in the mortgage belt as rates increase during the next year.

  5. #5

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    I like the idea of the place being as empty as possible. Agree with removing the old curtains and worn carpet. Old furniture is very offputting. Hard to see past it. If there's fresh paint, clean windows, new kitchen bench, ditto bathroom if necessary, those are the main things I'd be looking at. Then it's easy to visualise your own additions. If the underlying floorboards are good enough to sand and polish, that would be more attractive than carpet, if you can save money by doing this yourself.

    Good luck. Keep us posted on what you do.

  6. #6
    Problem solved... next bubble. theasxgorilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Delft, The Netherlands

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    I agree with the person who said that if it's a renovators delight already then don't worry about doing too much, unless you plan to do the lot...and whether that is worth it depends upon a lot of things. I reckon I look at a 100 places before eventually finding one worth renovating...unless you're Mum's house is this 1 in 100 house it's probably not worth it.

    Therefore the objective is to make it more desirable for the least expense possible. ROI is measured as, "I must do this so I don't have a house which sits on the market for 12+ months and in the end I need to drop the price 10%".

  7. #7
    Problem solved... next bubble. theasxgorilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Delft, The Netherlands

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    Presenting the house well ie. removing clutter inside and outside is probably more important than doing too many cosmetic things that might not be to buyers' tastes. If the house has potential the buyer should be able to see the potential.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Port Adelaide

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    What Tech said.

    Best off seeing if it is worth doing up first.

    A local RE Agent should have his finger on the pulse?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Port Adelaide

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by son of baglimit View Post
    theres always the 'redheads' renovation - surely to become popular in the mortgage belt as rates increase during the next year.
    Dare I ask what this is???


    Forget it..the penny has dropped.

    finally. hahaha

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?


    I just bought an apartment that was in dreadful condition but opposite the beach!! I spent 2 weeks and a little over $6k doing painting from brown to beige (but with a more trendy name!!) around door and window frames, replaced doors with fist holes in them with new ones to match, new carpet (old was stained and worn with some holes), timber venetians to replace 20yo curtains. Painted toilet and bathroom which was gross but looks great with fresh "light" paint. THen I absolutely scrubbed it from top to bottom and the agent couldn't believe the difference and increase in value.

    So I think if your mum's house has "good bones" some elbow grease, new paint, and carpet, perhaps timber blinds but definately get rid of curtains, will certainly add to it and make it more liveable if the house is in the "first home buyer" range. Then its attractive to them, they can do the big stuff, but its clean and liveable and doesn;t look like an old persons home.

    If not, and its on a decent sized block, it may be a knock down so its a waste spending money on it.

    I suggest finding out which local agent has the best, most sales and speak to him then others, those that sell lots of properties want to sell them fast and get on to the next one so he'll know what will make it best to sell.
    Good luck.

  11. #11

    Default Re: House renovation to increase value - what is worthwhile?


    I like the simple things when it comes to renovating for profit. Minimum spend is whats required.

    Ensure there is not a trace of mould or peeling paint to be found. If there is, it's time for a paint. Remove any trace of mould from kitchen and bathroom. If tile grout is dirty, use bleach. If has broken off, it is easy to reapply. See your local hardware store for info.

    Eradicate any 'old' smell. Steam clean/deodorise/replace carpets or go with floorboards.

    Fill and finish any cracks.

    Ensure all doors and windows open smoothly. Polish any fittings. Clean the windows and mesh.

    I believe good simply landscaping can do a lot for the value of the home. It can give it good 'presence'.

    Maximise the 'functionality' of the place with minimum expense. Is there a driveway? A carport.

    Unless it is not serviceable, don't go to the expense of redoing the kitchen. The ROI is not all that good.

    It depends on who you sell to. Renovators often prefer to see a place that's a bit tatty and empty - it means they have less competition and cause to reduce the price down.

    If you can also bring in people who would be happy to buy as is, this will give the reno people some competition.

    Good luck!

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