How to Renovate on a Shoestring Budget

Making a good impression so that your home stands out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers. This will increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

You can make a big impact without spending big money, too. Subtle, well-thought-out, inexpensive updates are  all that’s needed to make your home pop and give you the edge in the market.

Here are some budget-friendly updates you could do before listing your home:

Start with a renovation checklist

Before doing anything else, walk through your home room by room. Make a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It might be difficult, but try to be objective, focusing on how buyers would view your home. A second opinion from a friend or family members could help during this process. Look for outdated styles and fixtures, bold patterns and colours, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards or benchtops. Consider which elements showcase the home in its best light and what doesn’t.

You could take photos as you walk around then sit down and write a list. Once you’ve got the checklist, the next step is to set a budget and make time to complete the tasks.  Remember, you are on a budget. The aim is to make more money on the sale of your home, so don’t get carried away!

First impressions count

It takes people just 15 seconds to decide whether they like a house or not. That just highlights the importance of making a good first impression. A buyer’s impression is not only formed by what they see on the interior. It starts from outside the property walls. People passing by will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Curb-appeal is vital and contributes to the success of attracting buyers. Start maintenance outside the property and work your way inside. Basic updates such as painting or refinishing of fences and garage doors, cutting the grass, clearing the gutters and planting some flowers can improve the look of a home from the outside.

Use transitional styles

Every home will have a style that is as unique as the people who own it. Ideally, you want to incorporate modern aspects into the home without losing its character and warmth. A transitional style walks the line between traditional warmth and homeliness, and the clean lines and subdued tones of a contemporary look. You want to tick the ‘just right’ box – not too cold or formal and not too fussy.

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

As the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms are always focal points for buyers. Pay extra attention to these areas to ensure they are fresh and look great. Stained shower screens, broken tiles or missing grout and leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost.

If laminate on kitchen doors is warped, you could keep the carcasses and replace the doors and drawer fronts. If the doors are still in good condition and neutral in colour, why not just replace the handles? Sleek new handles will modernise the look. A fresh splashback is also a great way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen splashback is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.

A fresh coat

A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to revitalise the home, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can breathe new life into a dated space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. It is best to stick to a neutral, muted colour palette when deciding on which paint to select. These colours will appeal to the largest number of people.

Replace or repair skirting boards

It is possible to repaint the skirting boards, but sometimes they can be over-painted and in need of a refreshed look, especially next to repainted painted walls or new carpets. From as little as $2 per metre, it’s a cheap fix. Also, there are online companies offering a wide range of styles, meaning you can match styles with skirting boards you wish to keep.

Replace internal doors and door handles

If your property was built in the ’70s and you still have the original doors and handles, then they are nearly 50 years old. It’s safe to say that these types of doors and handles will not be coming back into fashion right now. Handles cost as little as $10.99 each, while a door will cost around $40 depending on the style and material chosen.

Put up new window coverings

New window treatments can enhance a room without much effort. You can find reasonably priced and easy-to-install shades, curtains, and rods at stores such as IKEA and Spotlight.

Light switches and electric sockets

Over time, the plastic that switches and sockets are made of goes yellow and can really date your décor. A cheap but highly effective update, replacing the light switch and electric socket surrounds/covers won’t break the bank. The cost between $3 and $7 each. You can take the covers to an electrical wholesaler and they’ll be able to match most types.  It will bring the home into this century. If you are just replacing covers then you won’t need a sparky.

If the fittings are in poor condition then you are up for a bit more cost, so get an electrician in to give you a quote. A switch will cost around $9, while a double socket will set you back approximately $14. The electrician’s time will add significantly to cost so keep them focussed on the aesthetics. Think safety first – always employ a professional when replacing electrical elements.

Hang wall art

The look of a room can be completely changed simply by hanging artwork. Before making holes in the wall, place the artwork on the floor to get the right arrangement if there are more than one or two pieces. Markets, antique stores and second-hand shops are great resources for finding inexpensive gems.  Keep the subject matter uncontroversial and neutral, you don’t want to polarise people.

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. By making these small changes before listing a property, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of setting your home apart.

If you need some help with this, our  expert property consultants would love to advise you. They can guide you with how much or how little to do to get the impact when presenting your home for sale.

Consumer Advice Renovating & Presentation Selling Your Home
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How to Renovate on a Shoestring Budget