First National Real Estate Lakeshores Blog - Central Coast and Lake Macquarie


With the onslaught of home improvement TV shows in the last decade or so, renovating has become one of Australia’s favourite national pastimes. From buying and transforming a ‘renovator’s delight’ to sell at a profit, to making small but necessary improvements to your own home, the renovation frenzy has captured the imaginations of many.


But is renovating really the answer? It’s true that some renovations can add considerable value to your property, but that’s not always the case. It’s also true that sometimes you just fall out of love with your house and no amount of paint and polish will change that. So, the big questions is, should you renovate or sell your house? How do you know when to strap on the tool belt and when it’s just time to cut your losses and sell up?


Keeping Up with The Jones’

There’s something to be said for knowing what the neighbours are up to, particularly when it comes to gaining a solid understanding of your property’s value. Having a rough idea of the pros and cons of your neighbour’s houses and the other houses in your area helps you know the positioning of your property in the local market, and gives you some background when deciding what your next financial move should be.

Speak to your local agent and keep an eye on local property sales to learn what features seemed to influence higher sale prices you’ve seen. If a spare room conversion was the difference then maybe you can look at renovation options for your property that are low cost, but capitalise on current market trends to bring you a higher return. If the neighbours spent thousands on a new kitchen but only busy working professionals are looking to buy, then consider your options and convert a study to a small exercise space instead. This would mean you’re reinvesting in the property, with the goal of improving its value for when you sell sometime in the future. It also means you can enjoy your life there more, because of your shiny new gym!    


Not the Renovating Kind?

Despite the home renovation hype, not everyone relishes the idea of living in a dusty building site for 6 months or more. If you have friends who are renovating - and let’s face it, who doesn’t these days – then spontaneously drop by for a coffee one day (don’t give them the chance to tidy up). Check out their immediate environment – where did they pull the cups from, did you have to sit on old bricks on the floor, did you get dizzy from the generator powered builder’s light swinging above your head from the rafters?

If you leave feeling overwhelmed at the conditions in THEIR house, then chances are renovating may not be the right solution for you. In addition, it’s important to think how much of it you are actually capable of doing yourself, how much free time you have to spend on it, or alternatively how thrilled you are at throwing cash at the professionals, and sharing your house with a dozen tradespeople for months on end. There’s also the logistics to deal with - the permits and plans, approvals and answers that need to be dealt with. Is this really you or can you find a better solution? Renovating at the simplest level could be just converting a spare room with paint and furniture - maybe a couple of recliner lounge chairs, surround sound and a projector. If even this is beyond your interest or budget then selling might be a foregone conclusion.


Is That Actually a Thing?

There are plenty of quirky and innovative things you can do to your home, but not all of them will bring you a decent return. People have been remodelling houses for decades and many of the ‘great’ ideas fade out as quickly as they arrived – steam room anyone? Trophy room maybe? There are standard renovations that can be done in most properties and, as a starting point, why not get those in motion and see how things turn out? Lifting up old carpet and polishing boards is relatively easy, as is giving the front wall a facelift with some coloured render. Even simple things like replacing bench tops, cupboards, fittings and fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens can change how you feel about the place. You’ll either be motivated to do more or want to give up entirely. If basic improvements like these are just not possible, then you may have just answered your own question about whether to renovate or sell your house. Maybe it’s time for you to call your local agent, get an appraisal and book the movers.