Working out what work to do.

One question we are commonly asked by clients is ‘how much should we spend on the house before we sell?.’

Obviously every case is different but generally speaking people need to be very careful with this as we often see thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars wasted on pre-sale renovations.

4-7 Park Ave-7
In my experience, there are 2 types of properties that attract a lot of interest and get high prices in Sydney, renovated homes and un-renovated homes.

If you own a classic period home on a good street that hasn’t had any work done to it in decades, chances are you are going to have hordes of interested young couples that have watched television shows like ‘The Block’ and they will be champing at the bit to create their own dream home. Suffice to say many of these young couples have never been through a renovation and often have no idea of the cost both in time & money a renovation requires. All of this amounts to potential packed homes selling for top dollar in the current market.

On the other hand, a recently renovated home with all of the ‘bells & whistles’ will attract buyers (many of whom have renovated before!) that will pay a premium for a completed product. The catch here is that Sydney-siders will pay handsomely for quality but will turn their nose up at cheap renovations, good properties get good prices.

There is a third type of property and that is the ‘in-betweener.’ These properties have often had bits & pieces done over time, maybe an extension in the 70’s, a pool in the 80’s, a bathroom in the 90’s and so on. It’s this category where people have to be careful. If your home is like many Australian homes that is a patchwork of renovations and you want to sell, be extremely careful before you spend vast sums of money on modernising the property.

The fundamentals have changed with time- for example open plan is in, formal dining is out. If your property has a dated floor-plan then spending $30,000 on a new kitchen could be a complete waste of money. Our office once sold a house in the prestigious harbourside suburb of Clifton Gardens and the owners insisted on replacing the kitchen before sale. The purchaser was a young cashed (or perhaps mortgaged) up executive who had grand renovation plans…..1 week after settlement the former owners drove past and there was most of the kitchen – on the nature strip.

When you go to sell your home, presentation is key but that doesn’t mean renovating. Focus on making your home welcoming & make sure it sparkles. Tidy up the front garden, plant some flowers, consider painting, lose the heavy old curtains that prevent natural light from coming into your home, and clean those windows!
You will be surprised by what clever tidying up will do to the impression that your home makes, rather than trying to guess what the next generation wants in their kitchen.

David Murphy owns an independent real estate agency in Sydney’s lower north shore – feel free to call on 02 9968 2088 or email with questions:


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