6 cost-effective ways to add value to your home

By Andy Webb

They say you've got to spend money to make money and, in the case of property, it rings true. 

But homeowners don't necessarily have to spend huge amounts to add significant value to their properties. 

Jan and Georgina Elias run their own home renovations business, Mr and Mrs Elias Projects, and together have decades of experience in stretching budgets to maximise property sale prices. 

We spoke to Mr Elias about some of the most effective ways you can add value to your home. 

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Painting can really help first impressions

When renovating for sale, Mr Elias says aesthetic improvements that make a noticeable difference without a massive price tag are key, and that "the paint job is number one."

Painting is one of the most cost-efficient ways to transform your property and make the right kind of first impression without breaking the bank. 

Patch up any cracks and holes then get to work painting interiors, "preferably in neutral colours that are not going to put any prospective buyers off."

Don't go by half measures and only do certain rooms—"I'm a firm believer, if you're going to do a paint job you need to do the whole property, you don't do bits and pieces," Mr Elias says. 

"People are well versed these days. When they come into a house they can see what's painted and what's not."

The exterior should also be painted "if the budget permits," and a fresh coat of paint on the front door can also have a real impact. 

Lighting makes a big difference too

If you've gone to the trouble of renovating or revamping your home and then you turn the lights on and it looks underwhelming, all that hard work has been diminished. 

"You can refresh any room in the house with new lighting for not much outlay," Mr Elias says. "It really is important."

Mr and Mrs Elias renovated living room
The right accent lighting can transform a room. Source: Mrs and Mrs Elias

If you have plasterboard ceilings, he recommends looking at installing downlights to brighten a room up, the bathroom especially. 

"Even just renewing your old downlights with new modern LED downlights will make a very positive impact," he says.

Also, consider how each room is used and light it accordingly to ensure buyers get the best impression of the space. 

"You generally need one or more of the following: general/ambient, task and accent lighting, depending on the room you are revamping." 

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Some attention to flooring can go a long way

Floors are one of the more striking elements of a home and should be given plenty of attention. 

If your home has timber floorboards, Mr Elias says they can be refreshed with relative ease. 

"Sanding and polishing floorboards is quite cost-effective, and it does really provide that wow factor."

There's also the option of looking at laminate floating floorboards or vinyl, which are both easy on the wallet. 

And for those with carpet—"If you've got budget to replace carpets, do it."

He points to nylon carpets as getting the best bang for your buck. 

Kitchen updates don't have to be excessive

A kitchen renovation can be a major undertaking, but there are also ways to get a fully refreshed look without starting from scratch. 

Benchtops are a great way to make a big impact on a budget, Mr Elias says. 

Rather than opting for expensive options like granite, marble or Caesarstone, you can instead look at more cost-effective engineered stone or laminate counters. 

Mr and Mrs Elias renovated kitchen
A kitchen doesn't have to be torn out to be fully refreshed. Source: Mr and Mrs Elias

Also, instead of a complete cabinetry overhaul, resurfacing doors and drawers as well as installing updated handles and hardware can deliver that new kitchen look without the new kitchen price tag. 

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An easy bathroom win

There are plenty of opportunities to upgrade and renovate bathrooms, whether it's small upgrades or a full overhaul. 

But Mr Elias says if you're not going so far as to replace all the fixtures and fittings, one important and often overlooked improvement you can make is with the bathroom's silicon job. 

"Silicon is the first thing that goes mouldy and rotten," he explains.

After a thorough cleaning of all wet areas, he suggests having a contractor come in to remove and redo all the silicon seals to refresh the bathroom's appearance. 

It can make a big difference on a small budget—"two bathrooms and a laundry would probably cost you under $2000," he explains.

"It really just brings up the current state of the bathroom without having to rip up tiles."

Cleaning is critical

Mr Elias says that hiring professional cleaners "is a must."

Cleaning is a step that doesn't necessarily fit under the banners of renovating or styling, and perhaps for that fact it can be overlooked, but its importance shouldn't be underestimated.

All the extra work done upgrading and finessing your property can be seriously dampened if it's not being presented as well as it should be. 

Extra care should be taken with rangehood covers and exhaust fan intakes and outlets, ovens and hard to reach ceilings and corners, he says. 

Externally, "clean, sparkling windows also will give buyers the best impression when it comes to open day."

High-pressure hosing driveways, paving and paths and cleaning gutters and downpipes can also go a long way to ensuring the property is in its best selling condition. 

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