If you have a house or apartment, whether it is your own living space, or an investment property, you have the chance to significantly increase its value, rapidly ! There are probably a few things about it you’d like to update or change – most people have things they don’t like about their property, but we tend to just put up with them. Maybe, if it’s an investment property especially, it’s a bit ‘tired’ around the edges as even the best tenants tend to wear a place down over time. To get a good rental return next time you let it, you know that you may have to do some work.
Does that scare you ? Likely, you have been told the ‘renovation is expensive’, or ‘renovation is hard, you need to leave it to the professionals’ lines. Those lines are usually accompanied by horror stories, often delivered with relish, usually by someone who stands to earn money by doing work for you, or referring you to someone who will.
Don’t let them scare you! You can do all sorts of things which will immediately improve the value of your property, without it needing to be complex, or terribly expensive. If you have a place that is looking rather tired it’s a great opportunity to increase your wealth. That is because the value of a property is not just about the location, or the size of the land, or the size of the house/apartment (although all of that matters), it’s very, very much about how the place looks – value is all about perceptions.
If you understand what makes people see a property as high value, and you intentionally make little changes to yours, so that it presents an appearance more in line with those things, then the value that a valuer will put on it will be significantly higher. Those changes are not huge things, they are best described as a ‘Cosmetic Renovation’, because they are usually about surface things, not structural things.
Very targeted cosmetic ‘renovations’ based on what people perceive as valuable, followed by a revaluation by an independent Valuer, will allow you to take that valuation to your mortgage provider and have it put on record. What does that do ? It creates instant increased asset ownership for you – you still owe the same amount, but your property is worth more, so you instantly own MORE of it ! You are, literally, wealthier. If you wish to borrow to buy other property, or a new car, or anything else, it will then be easier to do so, even in these days of tighter financial controls.
By itself, that is a great achievement, but there are other benefits too – if you want to get a new tenant into an investment property, once you have done this to the property, you will get a higher amount per week for it – because it has a higher valuation and is perceived as a better place to live in. So not only has your asset value gone up, but your cash flow has improved too! In addition, if you want to sell the place (for whatever reason, including because you want a nicer place to live yourself) you will get more for it – especially if you apply a few little tricks to the way that you work with the sales agent to present it.
The next question that you almost certainly want to ask, right now, will be something like “Well, that sounds good, but how much is it going to cost me to do these ‘cosmetic renovations’ ?” The answer is – not a lot compared to the value that will be added to the property, and many things can be done for very small amounts. Some examples – revitalising a kitchen for anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars (including new appliances and a very polished look!), changing the street appeal of a house for the same sort of amounts and other dramatic impacts. And the best part – for every dollar that you put in, you can potentially add ten times that to the valuation of the property!
Here is an example of what can be done, very quickly, to revitalise a tired kitchen.
The changes to this kitchen, including appliances and new floor tiles, cost less than $4000 to do!
Some of the best things to start with are changing out tired carpet for fairly good quality floating timber floor, replacing old vertical venetian blinds with timber blinds, replacing old laminate bench tops with timber, or quality granite look surfaces, and replacing old, coloured, smaller tiles, with larger, glossy, plain white or cream tiles. None of these things are all that expensive, and depending on your skills, you may be able to do many of them yourself. Add to that, a new coat of paint, in a white, off white or pale grey or cream tone, and your property will look amazing, and create a much higher value image.
Kim Lambert is a renovator, photographer, author, Book Publisher, IT specialist and business woman with wide ranging experience in government, corporate and personal business areas. She and her partner built their house from the ground up and have worked on various property ‘makeovers’ over the years.
Image credits: – before and after kitchen shots – Kim Lambert