Greg & Colin Thornton

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Renovating To Sell

If you’re planning a renovation soon, then the exterior of your property is one area to get looking just right. Whether renovating to improve the valuation or to increase your chances of selling, the exterior is the first thing you or your buyer sees.

Will you transform your house into one that stands out from the crowd and attracts prospective buyers because their first impression is so positive? Or will it be a so-so renovation that risks potential buyers driving right on past and not even getting out of their cars to some and have a look inside?

Think about it – there’s no point in having a beautiful new bathroom and a top of the range kitchen inside the house if the first, “lasting impression” of your home is not a good one.

If it’s a property you’ve owned for a while, then before deciding what you’ll do to the exterior, try to remember what you thought the first time you saw the property. In other words, step back and see the property with ‘fresh eyes’.

If it’s a new property to you, you have the advantage of seeing it from a fresh perspective – and it’s usually much easier to cut through the clutter of what to do and what not to do this early on in your relationship with the property.

Start by working out what your budget is going to be. Make sure you don’t over-capitalise (spend more on your renovation than the value the renovation is going to add) – particularly if you are not planning on owning the property long term.

Now you have a dollar figure to work to, you can begin to figure out what you can afford to actually do.

Sometimes, you’ll need a complete top-to-toe renovation. Other times you need to make do with some clever tweaks.

Here are 4 Top Tips to get your creative juices flowing…

1) Create a focal point: A focal point at the front of a home is essential. Usually it is the front door/entry point. If you don’t have an obvious entry point, then now is the time to create one. Whether you enhance your entry using contrasting colours or materials or add a new portico, porch and landscaping, a simple and modern effect can usually be created without too much effort or cost.

2) Make the property feel inviting: Try to create an inviting feeling about the property. You’ll have loads of renovating ideas, but in general it’s best to avoid a fence that is too high or spikey plants (such as Yukka’s) or large trees that block the house too much. The Japanese do ‘inviting’ very well in their architecture; they create ‘intrigue’ which draws a person further and further in. If you can’t see the front door from the road, then you at least see something that intrigues you to move towards the house. And when you get there, you see something else that inspires you to move forward – and so on. Avoid any sort of big block or barrier as this will deem the house uninviting and therefore unattractive and unappealing to you or your potential purchasers.

3) Give the property visual ‘substance’: Create a visual weight at the base of the house to anchor and stabilise it. There are several ways to do this, but an easy one is to use landscaping. Another way is to use a darker material or colour at the base of the house (if that is the style of the house). This is particularly important when the house is elevated from the road.
Create a flow around the property: If there is a fence, make sure it is ‘tied in’ to the house in some way (using similar colours or materials in some way). Connect your colours and finishes to each other (and to the interior if possible). Use similar plants right around the property so you have a continuation and cohesion of colours and shapes.

4) Improve the ‘crispness’ of the exterior: Crisp, sharp lines and neutral colours are what help to create a modern look to a home. Use this knowledge when deciding what you will do outside – create sharp garden edges, use neutral fresh colours. Strip the gardens of anything fussy and give it a clean look with a few key structured plants. Water-blasting dirty driveways, paths and decks will instantly help achieve a crisp, clean effect too. Make sure the letterbox is in tip-top shape. A letterbox is like a book cover; it’s only a small thing but it speaks volumes about what’s inside.


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