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Five Home Renovations That Could Actually Turn Buyers Off

By Laura Anderson

Buying a property is a huge milestone. We pour ourselves a big glass of fizz. We take photos of ourselves grinning in front of larger-than-life sold stickers. We buzz with excitement.

However, after the initial euphoria starts to wear off, we begin brainstorming ways to make our new house a home. These changes can be as small as adding a welcome mat at the front door to undertaking a larger scale, structural renovation.

When renovating our home, we tend to think of ourselves, as we should – after all, we will be living there.

But considering how the changes you make to your home may affect your property’s resale value and potential buyers in the future is also a worthwhile exercise. While cosmetic changes can be efficiently switched to match the personal tastes of future owners, structural changes are harder to undo.

Here are five renovations that may turn potential buyers off.

Avoid ditching a bedroom for extra space

It can be tempting to create more space in communal areas such as the living and dining area but not at the expense of removing a bedroom.

“Accommodation in a house is more important than having extra space in the living room,” says real estate agent Kristy Taylor of Taylor & Co Realty.

“Don’t ever ditch a bedroom, whether it’s a three-bedroom to two-bedroom or four bedrooms to three-bedroom, there’s quite a difference in terms of monetary value for resale and rentals.”

Aside from the capital value of bedrooms, Taylor also recommends keeping them so tenants can have their own private zones throughout the home, which is especially useful for share houses or larger families.

Think carefully about experimental interiors

When it comes to personal style, there’s no rule book. What you may love, others may not, and that’s okay. But when you’re considering selling your home, you may want to consider stripping back some of these changes.

The bold feature wall or patterned wallpaper may have brought you extreme joy over the years but may be off-putting to potential buyers.

“It can be an immediate problem and distracting for someone when you’re selling, and I’d lean towards sticking to a neutral colour palette that has broader buyer appeal,” Taylor says.

Of course, when you live in your home, style and decorate as you please but when gearing up to sell your property, neutral-toned walls deliver the future home owner a clean slate to personalise the property at their discretion, not yours.

If possible, keep the bath

“People often remove baths to get a bigger shower or bigger vanity when renovating the bathroom, but the bath is crucial to young families, couples planning to have children and people wanting to relax,” says architect Lauren Martin of Studio Martin.

If the current bath you’ve inherited from previous owners is a bit of an eyesore, architect Amanda Martin petitions for replacing it rather than removing.

“If the room is really small, don’t be scared to think about a bath-shower option, they can be done really nicely in beautiful materials,” she says.

Don’t underestimate the power of storage

The desired outcome of many home renovations is to create more open space, but the Martin sisters recommend doing your best to preserve or upgrade storage solutions instead of forfeiting them to make rooms appear bigger.

“Storage is so important,” says Lauren. “People accumulate so much stuff over a lifetime that buyers are actually looking for storage solutions in a lot of homes and renovations.”

But if the bulky, outdated storage unit has to go, Amanda recommends integrating streamlined cupboards into unlikely places.

“There might be walls in the living zone or hallway where you might be able to fit 500 [millimetre]-deep storage along that wall, which is a really good use of space you wouldn’t use otherwise.”

Keep buyers keen with green gardens

Entertaining and spending time outdoors is a big part of our lifestyle, which is why considered garden renovations are important. While decking and pools are big drawcards, don’t overlook greenery and landscaping opportunities in the garden too.

Creating too much of a decked zone or paved area or converting almost all of the backyard into hard surfaces is not always the best solution,” Lauren says. “You want to achieve a balance between the entertaining area and garden, keeping trees and green space helps create ambience in the backyard.”

If you’ve purchased a property with a pool that you rarely use and want to fill in, Taylor suggests otherwise. “Whether you’re a pool person or not, I’d suggest keeping it because it can add up to $100,000 to the purchase price when you resell the home.” A price tag that a patch of grass can’t compete with.


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