Which home renovations are your best investments?

Renovations have the ability to make us happier in the places we call home, but some updates can add more value than others when it’s time to sell or refinance.

Some of the best home renovations — think an updated kitchen, new deck or remodelled bathroom — can get pricey. That’s why it’s helpful to know what kind of return you might expect before you decide to take on a remodelling project. Check out our range of Melbourne home renovations for your dream house.

What renovations add the most value to a home?

Whether or not you are planning to sell your property in the near future, or you just want to enjoy a few simple upgrades, there are a number of efficient ways to improve your home improvement ROI (return on investment). It is important to note, however, that not all home improvements are created equal. While transforming a bathroom into a spa-like space may sound appealing, the cost may not pay for itself when it comes time to sell. Replacing gutters or fixing a leaky roof, on the other hand, is more likely to increase a home’s value (despite not sounding quite as luxurious).

As housing prices continue to increase, now is the perfect time to invest in your home’s infrastructure. Prioritising home improvement ROI could increase your home’s value even more so, which begs the question: how can homeowners be sure their home improvements are worth the investment?

Bathroom remodel

This proves the old adage that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. A bathroom remodel isn’t a quick or cheap weekend project, but you’ll get back almost as much as you put in, especially if you stick to neutral colour palettes and upscale fixtures.

Bathroom addition

Can you ever have too many bathrooms? Probably. Adding a bathroom where none existed before can be tricky, but you’ll see a lot of that money returned to you. Consider putting in a powder room if a full bath isn’t an option.

COLOURS

Avoid feature walls or other personal colour choices as colour is subjective, and many people will just paint over them anyway. Think serviceable, clean and neutral and allow future buyers to add their own personality once the house is theirs.

While there are hundreds of slightly different whites these days, avoid those that are too heavily biased toward yellow or (god forbid) apricot as this can make rooms look highly dated. A slight grey tint is acceptable but will make the rooms a little cold and impersonal looking.

The best option is a compromise – a touch of black and touch of ochre to create a slightly soft but clean white such as Taubmans’ ‘Whisper White’ or Dulux’s ‘Fair Bianca’ (at half strength).

Whites with a small element of taupe are also a good way to go but be careful to avoid it being associated with ‘rental beige’. When partnered with white, make sure your chosen colour doesn’t take on a slightly ‘dirty’ look.

Create a grand entrance

You know that plain old front door you have? Taking it to the next level by replacing it with a grand entry door complete with glass side panels. It makes your house look more welcoming and appeals to a broad range of sellers.

Curb Appeal Updates

The renovations which undoubtedly offer the highest ROI are those that increase curb appeal.

It seems buyers don’t give homes a second chance at a first impression. For example, a new entry door or building paintwork has been shown to make a significant difference to the way buyers perceive a home yet have very small installation costs, making the cost to value ratio very favourable.

Paintwork, a neat entryway, solid fencing are all relatively low-cost but make a big difference to the way that buyers perceive your property and, thus, the number of interested buyers and the final offer they’re willing to make. Hitch Property Constructions has the best range of renovations services to help you create your dream house.

Entry door replacement

First impressions matter – that’s why a solid, attractive steel entry door is worth the cost. You can get an expensive-looking door installed for cheap and then recoup almost all the money you spent buying it.

FLOORING

Timber floors are becoming the norm in Australia with most people opting only for carpets in bedrooms unless they live in colder regions.

When renovating existing timber flooring try to match the existing as closely as possible or replace the floorboards entirely so as to create a flowing effect from room to room. This will give the impression of a larger floor area and make small rooms feel part of the whole.

Remember too that darker colours like Jarrah or effects like black Japan make floor areas appear smaller, while pale floors add brightness and apparent size.

Garage door installation

The garage door might not be the first renovation you think to do when you’re channelling your inner Joanna Gaines, but it turns out that this particular replacement has one of the highest returns you can get. You’ll get back almost exactly as much as you spend. And if you get your new door for a discount? You might even make money on the project.

A good-looking garage door is high on the list when it comes to getting cashback on your investment. The estimate for this job is based on the cost of removing and disposing of an existing 16-by-seven-foot garage door(s) and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanised steel tracks and assumes you’re reusing the motorised garage door opener.

This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back around 94.5 per cent of what you spent on it when you sell your home. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer a wide range of home renovations.

INCREASING NATURAL LIGHT

Good light in a house makes a huge impression, lifting the spirits of everyone who steps inside.

Adding skylights to dark internal rooms or opening up areas with bi-fold doors or larger windows is always rewarded by a higher sale price and an improved state of mind for the owner while they are living there.

When selling a house or apartment removing curtains might not be practical in the long term but will make the house feel lighter and brighter during viewings, and the new owner can solve the privacy problems as they see fit later on.

Mirrors are another way to increase light in the home – just avoid mirrored wardrobes as they are terribly 80’s and anti the modern, tasteful look most people are after.

Kitchen remodel

Major Remodel: Sometimes, a full gut job in the kitchen is necessary. It won’t get you back as much money as a minor remodel, but you will get back a significant amount when it’s time to sell. Plus, it’ll look beautiful in the meantime.

Minor Remodel: When it comes to kitchen remodels, the sky’s the limit as far as costs are concerned. But rather than gutting your existing kitchen down to the studs and starting from scratch, you can do a minor kitchen remodel – which may include upgrades such as new flooring, new appliances, and refurbishing the cabinets – and get back most of the money you put in.

Creating a modern-looking and functional kitchen can add more than just value to your home: It can boost your enjoyment of everyday activities like cooking, entertaining friends and sharing meals with your family.

Potential buyers also see the intrinsic value of this kind of upgrade. You’ll recoup a little more than 77 per cent of the cost of a minor kitchen remodel, on average. In a remodelling project of this kind, you might replace appliances with new, more energy-efficient models; reface cabinets with new shaker-style wood panels; install new countertops and a new sink and faucet; replace hardware; add new flooring and repaint the walls.

MAINTENANCE

Low maintenance is the preferred option for most people so be careful that your choice of materials doesn’t make any potential buyer feel they have years of hard graft ahead of them – this can be a very off-putting and reduce the perceived value of the home.

Exterior natural timber is a big culprit in this regard, but heavily planted complex gardens are also a potential turnoff for many people. If possible, include self-watering systems in your garden scheme.

Manufactured stone veneer

Replacing vinyl siding with stone veneer on the part of your home, such as an entryway, is a big curb-appeal upgrade. The average cost estimate is based on factors such as installing 36 linear feet of sills, 40 linear feet of corners and one address block, and materials including two separate layers of a water-resistant barrier and corrosion-resistant lath and fasteners.

Curb appeal is worth a lot of money to buyers. Some might not even stop to check out your open house if they don’t like how it looks from the outside. Putting in a stone exterior is a difficult and pricey upgrade, but adding a manufactured stone veneer costs much less and helps increase the value of your home.

This cosmetic improvement and accent design element is likely to catch the eye of a potential buyer and can allow you to recoup more than 95 per cent of your renovation costs.

OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

Australians love to barbeque, so creating any type of outdoor area such as a patio or timber deck where this might take place will add real value.

Even if this area is initially quite small, the act of having space will show the potential and subsequent owners can extend if they are big outdoor entertainers.

Installing natural gas outlets is a sensible option for outdoor areas as is softening the edges of desks and paving with planting to create a soft transition from inside to out.

Replacement roof

No one wants to pay to replace a roof – they’d much rather it was already done, and recently. This unglamorous yet essential upgrade is worth the money you spend when you can add, “new roof!” to your listing.

Siding replacement

Siding isn’t the obvious thing people think of when it’s time to remodel, but it makes a big impact on the overall value of your home. Replacing the siding is a renovation that’s well worth the money.

Fibre-cement: Old, worn siding can make even the nicest house look worn-out. For the average home, replacing 1,250 square feet with new fibre-cement siding will cost you just over $17,000, and you’ll get back more than three-quarters of that investment upon resale. This upgrade includes all 4/4 and 5/4 (a fraction measuring thickness) trim.

Vinyl siding replacement can help freshen a home’s exterior and maybe a more budget-friendly solution compared to the fibre-cement siding. The $14,359 average cost estimates replacing 1,250 square feet with the new siding, and you should get back roughly 74 per cent of that investment upon resale.

STORAGE

Incorporating plenty of storage into your renovation is not only practical for day to day living but will also allow the house to appear immaculate during viewings when it comes time to sell, with all unsightly items put out of view (particularly exercise equipment!).

In the same way, an organised garage will create a great first impression for potential buyers and indicate a clean, well-maintained property.

STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS

Remedying obvious defects that look expensive to repair such as watermarks, damp or mould on walls, or rot in timber window frames and fascias, should be at the top of your list.

It might be tempting to paint over these types of problems simply, but most building surveys will highlight these faults and make buyers uncertain.

Anything that makes the potential purchaser worry is likely to deter them from making an offer – particularly in our current buyers market.

The Attic

If your home has an attic, you’re in luck. There are two very high ROI alterations you can make to it.

The first is to add high-quality insulation. This offers a double-return: it’s energy-efficient and makes the living space more appealing.

The second is to add an attic bedroom. Creating an attic bedroom typically will increase your home value because you are adding additional space and increasing the all-important ‘number of bedrooms’ metric.

However, it is important to note that the costs of this renovation can add up quickly. Consider that you’ll need to have stair access, add a few windows and possibly strengthen the floors.

Universal design bathroom

As people age, they start to look for bathroom features such as walk-in showers, support bars, wheelchair accessibility, and other key elements that will prolong their time spent at home in safety and comfort. Having these items in your home means getting most of your money back.

Window replacement

New windows don’t just look better – they also have unexpected benefits like keeping your energy costs down. Potential buyers want replacement windows and are willing to pay top dollar for them.

You could recoup around 72 per cent of the cost to replace your current windows if you install low-E. These simulated-divided-light vinyl windows feature a custom-colour exterior finish. (Low-E means low emissivity, an energy saver.) You’ll want to ensure that the trim exterior matches existing ones, and the interior trim is left untouched. The average cost for this type of renovation will set you back around $17,000.

Wood deck addition

Homebuyers are almost always looking for space to entertain, and that includes outdoor areas. A deck isn’t cheap, but it will increase the value of your home almost enough to cover that cost.

Why homeowners should consider a home renovation

Remodelling your home adds to your enjoyment, but it can also boost your home’s value over time.

When you refinance your home, for instance, renovations will be taken into account when a property appraiser assesses your home’s current market value. A higher home value means you’ll have more equity and a lower loan-to-value ratio. You might even be able to cancel private mortgage insurance payments earlier than anticipated.

When you sell your home, buyers will want to see a clean, well-kept home with modern updates that’s move-in ready. Plus, if you live in a competitive housing market, your listing might be competing with other upgraded homes for buyers’ attention.

How much you should invest in home renovations

Before you shell out big bucks for custom updates in your home, having a solid understanding of what renovations yield the highest return for the money is key. You also have to take into account your budget and your renovation goals to ensure you can be as efficient as possible since remodelling professionals will need this type of information when meeting with you.

It’s important to keep in mind that costs can vary greatly by region based on the cost of labour and materials, as well as the level of service offered.

Still, there is some value in adding personal touches, even if it’s the fact that you’ll get enjoyment from your renovations while you’re the homeowner.

So why aren’t large-scale kitchen and bath remodels big winners when it comes to recouping your investment? These tend to be more labour-intensive projects, and simple is better when it comes to your return on investment (ROI). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tackle them if your heart is set on glass-fronted cabinets and an eye-catching tile backsplash—especially if you’re staying put for two years or more. But if your goal is improving your home, boosting resale value, and seeing a return on your renovation dollars, stick with these five home improvement projects.

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