For most of us, our home is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, asset. This means it’s not only important to preserve value in your home but also to increase value, especially if you are looking to put your house on the market in the new year and get top dollar. Sure, Auckland’s land values may be slowly going back up. But you can help that by increasing the value of the dwelling!
With Summer and the holidays here, you would have more time to tackle these projects. Trust us, these changes will have a big impact on your home.
1. Upgrade your door handles
You will be surprised how a simple upgrade of handles will lift the look of your entire house, especially in Glendowie, St Heliers, Kohimarama, Orakei, Mission Bay and Remuera. This is a very good move espeically if you have original hardware in your house that has not been upgraded since the 70s. By changing the doorknobs and handles, you are instantly creating a modern look for your house.
Focus on the front door as that is the first impression buyers are going to have. Get rid of door knobs that are rusting or been through lots of wear and tear. There’s no point in spending thousands on landscaping the lush lawn overlooking Glover Park when your front door could benefit from an instant lift. You want buyers to think that you have lovingly maintained your house over the years.
2. Change Your Lights
Switch your light bulbs to LED ones – they are energy efficient and bring your power bills down. Win-win!
Also ensure that your lights are more warm white than yellow. Yellowish lights make a house look old and dark. You want buyers to feel that your house is light and airy and the wrong lighting can often ruin the look of a house, especially in photos.
If you want to go fancy, you can even pair your lights with Amazon’s Alexa, Siri and Google home so that you can have ‘smarter’ lights and these will become a unique selling point when presenting your home. Make your home stand out in the sea of competition.
3. Repaint interior rooms
If the last time you painted the house is 10 years ago, then seriously consider repainting the interior. Choose a colour that is neutral (Alabaster and Black White are very popular) so that buyers can imagine their own furniture in there. While bold colours stand out, it’s less likely to appeal to a bigger crowd. Neutral tones also make a room feel bigger, brighter and newer so a paint refresh is like putting on make-up – suddenly all the imperfections are gone. You may even choose to paint the doors and window sills if you still have the traditional wooden doors if that helps to modernize your home.
4. Water blast the house
A house will naturally accumulate dirt from the external environment.
The wash will get rid of the grime and dust accumulated over the years. This makes the exterior look much newer than before. You can also easily hire a water blaster from the local Bunnings / Mitre 10 shop, although make sure you know the right settings to use or else you might end up water blasting off the paint of your house. This is extremely important, especially for those who own plaster homes where the cladding is quite literally protected by its paint.
At the same time, water blast your deck and exterior walkways and driveways. Your concrete will immediately look newer. Curb appeal!
5. Increase your privacy settings
Depending on the value of your house, the proximity to neighbours and other factors, it might be a good investment to build a fence around your house. Fences give people the idea of security so that strangers can’t just walk right up and around your house. This deters burglaries. Fences also keep small children in so that kids can play in the garden without the parents having to keep a watchful eye all the time.
Plus, fences are great for people with animals, especially dogs. Whilst it is easy for buyers to add their fence after they have bought, some people just do not want to go through that hassle or can value the fence more than it costs you to put it in.
6. Paint the exterior, especially for plaster homes
This is a huge cost but is sometimes a worthwhile investment. Painting your house will immediately make it look new and shiny. Depending on the construction of the house, painting it will also add a lot of value.
When it comes to plaster homes, painting the exterior is generally recommended every 7-10 years. Keep the receipts of the paint job – and remember to choose the right type of paint for plaster homes. Be aware of certain colours that have high reflective indexes which may not be appropriate for plaster homes.
If you have recently painted, buyers will know that that is not a cost that they have to fork up shortly after they move in – and who wants to spend another 10-20K (that is not likely to be on the mortgage) after they’ve just taken on a huge mortgage?
Painting a house also hides any flaws so that your house goes onto the market like a well maintained house. Even if your house is not plaster, changing the exterior colour of your house will often add value and attract more buyers. Some houses were painted pink or green in the 90s and if you can paint them a neutral grey, that will appeal to more buyers. As always, more buyers mean more competition which means a better price for you
7. Install a new roof (or replace some tiles)
Roofs are not designed to last forever. Colour steel roofs have a shorter life span than concrete tiles. When potential buyers see an old roof, they (along with their building inspector) might think it’s necessary to change the roof in the short term and this is not something that can be put on the mortgage. While many people see it as a huge job, it’s often not too expensive to change a roof (15-30k) depending on size and material, and again adds to the impression that this is a well-maintained house.
Sometimes it’s not necessary to change the entire roof. If it’s just a broken tiles here and there, get that fixed. What may be a couple of hundreds of dollars to you to fix could, in the eyes of the buyer, be not worth purchasing the house due to the hassle and perceived lack of maintenance. The last thing you want is for a building inspector to comment on cracked tiles or leaky roofs, and kill the deal.
8. Change your windows
Changing to double-glazed windows can be a huge cost. However, if your entire house is modern, then you should definitely consider changing windows (from the old aluminium ones to UPVC windows) to update the look of your house.
It also make the house warmer and acts as a sound insulation – critically important if you are near any train tracks in Remuera or Meadowbank or you are right on a busy road like St Heliers Bay Road or Tamaki Drive.
This is a cost that homeowners often do not want to spend money on, can visibly appreciate and therefore shows buyers that every detail was considered in your house.
9. Clean (or replace) the carpet
If there are stains on your carpet which are impossible to remove, it is best to replace them, unless of course your entire house is dated and you are selling it as is (aka the next buyer is likely to come in and rip everything apart). Just remember that do-ups often go for a depressed price in the current market and take longer to sell.
If your carpets are also of a colour that shows its age (red, blue, yellow or flowery pattern), then it is definitely advisable to change it to a more neutral colour so that the next buyer can easily bring their own furniture in without having to do too much work.
One tip to remember is this – if you are selling it as a do-up, then make sure it’s a true do-up. There’s no point in doing little things here and there when the major ‘issues’ like old carpets and faded painting are not resolved. Conversely, if you are doing up your kitchen and bathrooms, then you should be aware that keeping old carpets will detract from that new kitchen/bathroom you just put in.
Make the look consistent!
10. Renovate the bathroom/kitchen
Kitchen and bathroom renovations nearly always pay off. Changing the vanity and shower box will go a long way in the eyes of your buyer as sometimes it is difficult to clean off soap suds that have accumulated over the years.
But remember: you do not always need to do a complete kitchen renovation. A cost effective way is to get a second hand kitchen, or to just paint the kitchen cabinets doors or simply replacing the benchtops.
Look at some similar houses currently listed on the market and see what they have done to their kitchens and bathrooms. Then compare to yours to see if spending the additional amount will be worth it.
So What Will You Do This Summer?
So there you go, 10 easy summer projects so you can increase your home’s value for the new year. Are you ready to get started on this to-do list, and add $$$ to your house value?
Found this post about summer projects useful and have more questions?
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Do not hesitate to contact me for a no-obligation discussion over coffee on your future plans to either buy or sell.