Top 8 Pre-Listing Improvements to Boost Your Return

It’s the age-old debate – should you spend money to make pre-listing improvements to your home or leave it for the new owners who can take the upgrades in any direction they like? Nine times out of ten, the improvements are left for the new owners, as they either don’t have the funds or don’t want to go through the uncertainties of finding the right trades.

Selling your home can be stressful – but with the right preparation and support, it doesn’t have to be. While some buyers like purchasing a ‘fixer upper’, the vast majority of buyers love move-in-ready homes, where the hard yards have been done for them. With SellSmart, making pre-listing improvements is easy and can significantly increase the value of your home while offering a convenient, streamlined platform with ‘pay-after-sale’ options.

Here are our top seven pre-listing improvements to boost your return.

1. Cook up a new kitchen

It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where family and friends gather to cook up a feast, connect over a cuppa or share a glass of wine. For kitchens that have seen better days, you don’t always need to spend a lot of money or gut and redo the whole room to see a return. Breathing life into a tired kitchen might just mean replacing cupboard doors, drawers, and handles. A new bench top, updated splashback, painted cupboards and sleek appliances are also simple ways to up the aesthetic of your kitchen. Opt for a simple, timeless splashback and benchtop rather than trying to keep up with current trends. These ‘trends’ are the quickest to date and can quickly decrease the house’s value over time.

Another easy way to upgrade your kitchen is by replacing your stainless-steel appliances (such as your dishwasher and oven), as well as your sinks and taps. These new touches can leave the space feeling clean and modern.

2. Give it a fresh coat of paint

Painting your home is one of the best improvements you can make in preparation for ­­sale. A fresh coat of paint can change the whole look and feel of your home. If you decided to paint your walls a funky colour in the peak of lockdown when you were bored, it might be time to change them back to a neutral colour. Neutral colours make it easier for potential buyers to see a clean canvas for their own tastes. Your painting shouldn’t stop at the walls. Be sure to assess your skirting boards, ceilings, window frames and architraves.

When it comes to colour, selecting neutral colours makes rooms feel bigger. While you might be tempted to throw in a few feature walls, be wary of the colours you choose. Like colours and trends in the kitchen, paint colours can date very quickly. When in doubt, choose timeless over trending.

3. Storage, storage, and more storage!

One thing you can never have enough of in your home is storage. Quality and clever storage solutions in homes are things potential buyers will pay a premium price for. For example, a bedroom without built-in robes is a turn-off for many, as stand-alone wardrobes are often bulky and take up a large portion of the room.  For others, small pantries or linen cupboards might be a problem. You don’t necessarily need to knock down and rebuild large areas. Rather, get creative with the spaces you do have – there’s always something you can do to maximise storage. 

There are plenty of storage hacks online for both big and small houses. Sometimes it might involve getting a little creative with the space you’ve got. Look at sites like Pinterest for storage inspiration and hacks. For in-person storage solutions, Ikea has some great ideas.

4. Freshen up your flooring

The floor in a home isn’t something you often notice unless it’s premium or really bad. However, having dated flooring throughout your home – whether it’s shabby carpet or scuffed floorboards – is a wasted opportunity to maximise your sales return. A home with consistent flooring is a winner and creates a great sense of flow. A mixture of different floor types are distractions and can make a home feel cluttered and outdated.

When choosing which type of flooring to have in your home, think of something that will look contemporary, clean, and stylish. Hardwood floors are perennially popular and easy to care for, but a high-quality carpet can also be quite attractive and create a warm atmosphere. First impressions count, so be sure to floor them as soon as they walk in!

5. Create a zen bathroom

Like the kitchen, a bathroom can be an expensive (but extremely worthwhile) improvement. The good news is that your bathroom can be made over on just about any budget. If you’re on a tight budget, you can avoid replacing tiles by using a professional company to spray-paint them. This also applies to sinks, baths, and the base of showers. Adding new taps as well as shower screens will complete the look and leave the room looking refreshed.

There are plenty of upgrades you can do to your bathroom, but the most important aspect is to make sure it’s functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. For example, having a huge claw-footed bathtub might look good, but if you’ve put the towel rack on the other side of the room, it’s not functional for the person using it!

Before you think about the aesthetics of your bathroom, it’s essential to check that everything is in working order. This means checking to ensure there are no leaky taps and conducting minor repairs such as painting the walls, replacing tile grout, cleaning out your exhaust fan and repairing chips in the bath or sink.

6. Let there be light

Lighting can have a big impact on the ambience of your home. If you don’t get a lot of natural light, installing light globes that will brighten up a room will completely change the feel of your home. Dark, gloomy spaces often don’t feel welcoming and can create a negative first impression.

Replace outdated lighting fixtures (such as old paper lampshades) and broken globes to change the look and feel of a room. Downlights are fantastic, modern options that look good in most rooms. Energy-efficient lighting is another great way to boost your property’s appeal.

7. Get your green thumb on!

Whether you have acres of land or a small courtyard, how you display your yard can be what seals the deal for potential buyers. An appealing yard will help sell the property because it invites buyers to picture themselves spending time outside during the pleasant seasons of the year.

If a full yard spruce-up is a little out of budget, consider hiring a gardener to come in and fix the basics, such as mowing the lawn, trimming the trees, and removing weeds. An overgrown garden full of dead plants won’t appeal to buyers!

8. Create a beautiful space

Are you selling an empty property but worried that it looks a bit bare? Investing in staging can bring your property to life, giving it a more ‘lived in’ feel and sparking imagination amongst prospective buyers. It’s not just for empty properties either. Staging can take the place of your existing furniture, or can be used in conjunction with pre-existing pieces.

Increasing your home’s value before you put it up for sale might seem daunting – especially if the concept of spending a lot of money and finding the right trades is confronting. SellSmart makes the process of maximising your home’s potential simple, with easy payment options and a trusted group of trade and service professionals for every budget.

Interested to learn more about maximising your sale potential?

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