Easy ways to improve your home

25 Aug 2016

By Shadforth Financial Group

You don’t need millions to give a house a new lease on life – little things can make a big difference.

Investing in improving your principal home is very tax-effective and also has advantages when it comes to the way Centrelink assess your entitlements — because your home is excluded from the assets test. The other benefit of renovations, compared to other types of investment, is that you can actively enjoy and experience the improvements you make.

The word ‘renovations’ doesn’t have to be associated with spending up big. Depending on your skill level and how much time you’re prepared to put into it, there are several home improvements you can do yourself to increase the value of your property.

The two rooms in the house that deliver the biggest return on investment are the kitchen and the bathroom, so focus on these, especially if you’re looking to sell. Potential buyers classify these rooms as not only the most expensive to upgrade, but also the most difficult.

To renovate a kitchen or bathroom, there’s demolition involved. There’s waterproofing, appliances, tiling and potentially a few hidden surprises. However, making these rooms feel clean, fresh and modern doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Updating the doorknobs and the powerpoint sockets are quick fixes that can quickly improve the look and feel of a room. And when it comes to the bathroom, you can’t go wrong with white.

The power of paint and light
If you have time up your sleeve, giving the entire house a new lick of paint is a sure fire way to bring a property up to speed.

Painting is the one job that instantly transforms a room, isn’t expensive and it’s not scary because it can be changed later. But it does take patience and elbow grease to clear out the rooms, prepare the surfaces and do the painting.

Of course, if you don’t feel up to the job, don’t torture yourself and don’t compromise the quality of the end result. Hiring a painter doesn’t have to cost the world and can make the difference between an okay result, and a great one.

Another tip to keep in mind is the power of light. A well-placed tunnel skylight can have a huge impact, allowing natural light to brighten a room.

Dig deep to uncover your home’s potential
If you do have some extra cash to spend, continue to focus on the kitchen and bathroom, as well as the flooring throughout the property. If possible, pull up old carpets and linoleum and check the quality of the floorboards hidden beneath.

It all comes back to the surfaces that you touch and use every day, and the flooring ties the whole house together. If the floorboards are in good condition, get the whole place sanded — no one likes threadbare carpets.

From there, using those extra dollars on good quality appliances, modern light fittings and tidying up any outdoor areas will be money wisely spent. People underestimate the power of a good clean. Paying a professional gardener and cleaner to come in and do a thorough tidy up will undoubtedly stand you in good stead if you want to sell.

In terms of the outdoors, as long as it suits the style of the house, you could consider using artificial grass, as well as painting any paved areas in an updated colour palette. A garden that looks tidy and low maintenance will have a greater appeal to potential buyers. It will also give you time to pursue more enjoyable activities.

While renovating can be financially beneficial for you, at a certain time in your life, downsizing or moving can also be an option worth considering, especially if you want to move closer to family or healthcare services.

If you are considering renovating, downsizing or simply want a second opinion on your mortgage, contact your financial adviser or one of our lending specialists.

Educational guides