With the property market currently enjoying an unprecedented level of activity, it’s hard to know whether you should even need to try adding value, when homes in any condition are being snapped up so quickly.
Most experts say that the current price-rise trajectory, fuelled partly as the result of limited stock, still does not mean that any old poorly presented property will sell. That means that actively improving your property makes sense to make the most of the hot market.
And if you’re happy to stay put for now, any level of investment, is likely to pay off when you eventually sell.
Here are ten things you can work on:
1. Hit the deck
If your home currently doesn’t have a deck and there’s potential space for building one, the added value can be significant. The seemingly insatiable Kiwi desire for indoor-outdoor flow is higher now than ever, as we cycle in and out of lockdowns, working from home, and looking for relaxation spaces that create a sense of separation.
2. Dig deep
Basements aren’t common in New Zealand homes, which means if you have one, see if it can be better utilised to provide considerable extra space in your home. Media, rumpus or games rooms are ideal in a below-ground renovation, and even workshops and dry storage areas or perhaps a home office, will attract many potential buyers.
3. Kitchen update
This room is, without doubt, one of the most important parts of the house. Depending on the age and condition of the property, an update can range from a full gut refurbishment to just a clever makeover. A budget-friendly update that retains much of the original kitchen with clever use of materials such as paint, new splashback tiles, resprayed doors and drawer fronts, new handles and flooring, is likely to improve the value of your home.
4. Heating, cooling and smart living
Almost anything that improves your homes health - efficient heating, improved ventilation, upgraded insulation and double-glazing – and energy projects such as solar panels to reduce utility bills, will automatically make a property more desirable. Smart-wired houses are increasingly popular, with security systems, remote control of appliances, audio and lighting all at the top of a potential buyer’s wish list.
5. Making space
Open plan living has been a property buzzword – or three - for the last couple of decades. It’s very rare to find kitchens or dining separated from the living area today. If your current home has potential for opening up those spaces, doing so will almost certainly add value. Ensuring these areas are light and bright and enjoy easy access to the outdoors is key to creating a truly desirable feature.
6. Beautiful bathrooms
A new bathroom is instantly attractive to buyers. As long as it’s classic and timeless in style, constructed using quality materials, they will welcome the opportunity to move into their new property without having this messy and expensive job ahead of them. In terms of budgets, a new bathroom can cost anything from around $20,000 to many times that amount, but it is almost certain to pay for itself – and more, when you come to sell your home.
7. Keeping in character
If your current home is an older one, it’s nice to try and keep and restore, features such as timber flooring, leadlight windows, ceiling roses, architraves, original fireplaces and fretwork. The key is to arrive at a blend of old features and new amenities that will have wide appeal.
8. Add curb appeal
First impressions are very important, so spending time and money on enhancing your home, with prospective purchasers in mind, will undoubtedly add value. New owners would rather avoid having to paint the property, so any touch-ups you can undertake to present the exterior in top condition will impress them. A freshly painted front door is also a good selling point and some nice planters with a couple of palms or a pot of floral colour will further enhance its appeal.
9. Good garaging
While there’s a school of thought which says garages are wasted on cars, a canny vendor will present the garage in such a way that potential buyers can imaging keeping not only their precious wheels in there but can also see the scope it provides for DIY and storage. If the garage lends itself to conversion as an office or rumpus room, it may make sense to have applied for consents, even if you don’t actually undertake the project yourself.
10. Green thumbs
Nothing is more off-putting than overgrown trees and shrubs, weed-filled flower and vegetable beds and untidy lawns. Just a few hours can make all the difference and enhance the property’s appeal. If you really aren’t that way inclined and the garden is especially needy, a professional gardener or landscaper can do wonders in a remarkably short space of time.