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Deciding how much to spend before selling

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Deciding how much to spend on a house before putting it on the market is tricky.

Should sellers splash out on a fancy new kitchen to appeal to potential buyers? Or just add a lick of paint? 

Are cosmetic updates are worth it?

The answer is somewhere in the middle. It all comes down the house.

From my years of experience the property itself is always the starting point, so it’s nearly impossible to put an actual figure on it. It is true that people who invest up to $10,000 before selling can achieve a much better sale price.

If you have a dated 1950’s or 1960’s home, in desperate need of complete renovation, it will probably cost $100,000 to bring it up to scratch for sale and that money and time invested, you simply won’t get back in most areas. So, it makes no sense to pour money into it. Conversely, it can be foolish to leave a property as is, flaws and all.

When people go to an open for inspection, it’s human nature to look for what’s wrong. They see flaws – the broken light fitting, the bright red, dated feature wall, maybe a hole in the plasterboard and they mentally start adding up what it will cost to repair, then take that figure off the price they’ll offer.

I always advise my Vendors they absolutely should do the cosmetic stuff. Either do it yourself or pay someone else to get the property to a point where the flaws aren’t so obvious.

Painting can make a big difference, and it’s not expensive. It goes without saying that whether the property is given an expensive makeover or a quick tidy up, the asking price should be realistic to attract buyers and ultimately achieve the highest possible price.

Apartment makeovers are critical for success

With the Perth apartment market finding itself in troubled waters, never has presentation been so critical. There is so much choice and buyers can pick and choose with arrogant abandon.

Only well presented apartments get higher response rates and sell quicker for a better price.

The way to overcome this is by vacating the tenants, investing in a fresh coat of paint, flooring and staging.

If you’re thinking of selling with a tenant in situ, don’t bother!

There are probably another dozen vacant units looking very pretty before they decide on the tenanted one. Impressive first appeal usually means you’ll make a positive first impression both online and during home opens. You’ll not only speed up the sale but achieve the highest possible price.

Curb appeal matters

Curb appeal is an area where a small investment can make a huge difference. Even if inside is immaculate, think about how the property looks from the street, as that’s what people see when they drive past. Boosting the curb appeal doesn’t have to be expensive. Do a tidy-up, add a bit of mulch and some fresh, new plants, maybe paint the driveway, then buyers will want to come in!

Invest in a property stylist

In many cases, the best person to engage is a property stylist, who can show vendors how to present a property in the best possible light. They understand how to sell the vision and can suggest what small things can be done – what to keep, what to get rid of, what kind of furniture to use, how to set up rooms to maximise their appeal and impact. It may be as simple as clearing out clutter or painting a wall here and there, but it can make a huge difference!

Even in the case of a very dated, pink 1970’s bathroom, you can scrub it clean, add some cute towels, a plant, to make it as appealing as possible, rather than a problem, and you’ve spent just a few hundred dollars. The less faults people can find the better which means less reasons to talk the price down!

Where you have a $1 million property, $5,000 spent on a stylist can add $100,000 to $200,000 to the final sale price, I believe.

If you’re not sure how to give your property the right look, I can offer you free advice which will add thousands of dollars to your eventual sale price. Call me anytime for a no-obligation consultation on 0412 427 877 or email


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