First home renovations: What to update and when

When you’re updating your home with the hope of improving its resale or rental value, it’s important you choose a project with the biggest return.

If you fancy yourself a would-be Blockhead, it’s tempting to dive head first into home remodelling. In spite of the glittering transformations you may see on these DIY renovation shows, the most bang for your buck can come from more modest home renovations.

Bathroom

Major renovations

Bathrooms are typically a make-or-break room in the home that can quickly detract or add value to its overall price. While a complete bathroom remodel – including replacing the bathtub or shower, wall and floor tiles, sink, vanity and fixtures – can cost between $10,000 and $15,000, you generally recoup most of this cost come sale time.

Minor renovations

If your bathroom is a victim of outdated styles (such as 70s coloured wall tiles), consider applying a fresh coat of paint in a neutral colour. Caulking cracks around the bathtub, shower and between the tiles is an inexpensive but valuable addition to your home. For around $20 to $30 for sealant and $80 for enamel tile paint, fresh walls with clean seals will make your old bathroom feel new. This is a perfect weekend job for DIY enthusiasts.

Outdoors

Major renovations

There is such a thing as kerb appeal. Often prospective buyers and tenants will mistakenly judge the inside of the house based on what they can see from the street. For the biggest impact, consider improving your backyard with a timber entertaining deck. For $5000 to $10,000 (depending on size and quality), this addition has the potential to improve on your living space square footage if, for instance, it leads on from your lounge room and offers a new outdoor entertaining area. A home with a new deck is a big-ticket item for many buyers.

Minor renovations

A fresh coat of paint on the front of the house for just $40 to $60 per tin will bring a new sense of vibrancy to your home. Choose flowering plants and foliage to adorn both the front of your home and front fence and consider laying a DIY walkway to act as a focal point. Depending on the maturity of the plants you choose and the material you use for the walkway, adding new life to the kerb appeal of your home can cost as low as $1500 and as high as $4000.

Finishes

Major renovations

It’s often said that the kitchen holds the most value in the home. Completely revamping your kitchen, however, is an enormous cost that you will likely not have the funds to complete straight away. For the biggest impact, consider upgrading the kitchen countertops and cabinetry. This will set you back upwards of $5000. Prospective buyers will appreciate that while the kitchen may not include the latest appliances, they do not have to pay the full cost of a new kitchen.

Minor renovations

A minor feature that resonates with renters as well as buyers is storage space. Improve on your home’s storage with built-in wardrobes. Hiring a team of carpenters to complete this task will set you back $1500 to $2000.

Taking your lead from DIY renovation shows can be tempting at first, but tread carefully. Assessing where your money will make the greatest impact on your home’s resale value means you can prevent overcapitalising when you’re on a tight budget.