How to renovate before selling to maximise your profit

TV shows make renovating look easy. A quick tidy, splash some paint around and install a flatpack kitchen – done. But, shockingly, there’s much more to renovating than parading a group of tradies through your living room for six weeks.

It’s easy to imagine any improvements you make will be reflected in the sale price. After all, if you’re sinking money into plantation shutters and carpet that feels like a soft baby lamb, shouldn’t buyers want to pay a premium for it? Unfortunately, it’s not as clear-cut as that. You need to make smart decisions that will pay off during negotiations.

So, how do you successfully renovate to sell?

Don’t spend more than it’s worth

The last thing you need is to spend a fortune on renovations only to find your home languishes on the market because it’s overpriced, or worse, the final sale value doesn’t let you recoup the cost of the improvements.

You’re looking for renovations that add value. That means out with moving walls around and in with garden makeovers, cosmetic improvements like having the floorboards re-polished and a lick of fresh paint inside and out. Look for the smaller opportunities to spruce up and replace old tapware or cabinetry handles.

This sort of cost-effective detailing can make your home look shiny and new without the cost of a full-blown revocation.

Remember, your buyers have their own personalities

Yes, your extensive thimble collection is important to you, and so is the custom shelving unit you’ve had made. But you need to leave space for the buyers’ personal touches.

If your home is truly rundown, it may be better to leave it as is and attract bargain hunters who want to renovate to their own tastes. Or, if your home is almost there, focus on the areas most likely to appeal to buyers. A slick bathroom is always a strong selling point, for example, while incomplete landscaping may not make much difference to your bottom line.

The key is to put yourself in a buyer’s position to consider how they might use their new home.

Be smart about how you spend your budget

It’s sad but true that ‘hidden’ renovations like rewiring are unlikely to be appreciated by home buyers. If you’re going to invest hard-earned cash on a renovation prior to sale, your efforts should be visible and obvious.

Installing bi-fold doors to open a kitchen onto an outdoors deck will give your home more ‘wow’ factor than having the place re-stumped. Replacing all your benchtops with modern stone will blow their minds more than having new insulation foam imported from Italy.

Don’t cut corners

Buyers expect quality workmanship. They’re also better informed than ever and likely to fork out for a pre-purchase building inspection. Be prepared to spend a bit extra and call in the experts.

A colour consultant can take the guesswork out of paint shades. For building work, call in a licensed tradesperson rather than trying to save with a do-it-yourself approach. When it comes to fittings and fixtures, head for the best quality you can afford, even if it means centralising replacements in one area.

Being choosy about how you renovate to sell will give you the higher sale price you’re after. Skip the extensive renos and focus on marketable, attractive details buyers can see. Remember, this is their house now. Save your creative flair and strange wall murals for your next place – where you can use the extra budget you made by renovating before selling.

If you are thinking about renovating and need a home loan feel free to contact me or visit

This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.