10 Ways to add value to your home

By Lauren Leisk, Yahoo7 Moneyhound Updated February 19, 2013, 8:00 am

When it comes to DIY projects the key is to get the most bang for your buck.

The renovation movement is experiencing a resurgence in today’s flatter real estate market, with many vendors asking, “How do I add value to my home?”

However the renovation tricks that save money and make the greatest profits may be unclear for many DIY enthusiasts.

A recent survey by Masters Home Improvement exposed Aussie renovation enthusiasts as lacking the skills and motivation to complete many DIY tasks.

Around 80 per cent of households undertook home improvement projects, yet more than half left them unfinished. Even garden and backyard projects rated poorly, with 81 per cent unable to finish what they started, according to the survey of 1300 people.

Related: How to get renovation loans for home improvements

So when it comes to DIY home improvements, the key is to save money to make the most profit. But where do you start?

1. DIY kitchens

The kitchen is the centerpiece of the home and most agents tip that spending in the kitchen often returns two-fold in the sale price. For example, a $15,000 to $20,000 project might add around $30,000 to $40,000 to your home if done properly.

However, before splashing out on a complete makeover, pre-made kitchen units could give you that DIY pick-me-up. Tile paint has also come a long way since the days of the baby-boomer renovations. Keep it light and bright and remove your old kitchen with care. You can even make a little bit of spending money by selling your old kitchen items online like ovens, microwaves, stove tops and dishwashers.

Property experts recommend spending only 5 to 10 per cent of the property’s value on a kitchen renovation.

Related: How to sell stuff on eBay successfully

2. Knock ’em down

Simply removing something from your home can often add value. Think 1960s houses with multiple rooms. Older homes will have separate rooms for the kitchen and living, or kitchen and dining. But these days people prefer these spaces to be as one. If that pesky wall between the kitchen and lounge isn’t load-bearing, you may be able to knock it out brick by brick and enjoy some open-plan living.

If you can't knock out the whole wall then maybe you can put a window whole between the kitchen and living to create a breakfast bar which will help bring the two spaces together.

Think about knocking out most of the wall which connects the back of your home with the backyard, and replace it with glass sliding doors. This will help to provide the back of the home with that feeling of extra space and let more natural light into the home.

3. Make over

Your home might be structurally sound but it's just looking a bit tired. Without having to knock anything down consider simply giving your home a mini facelift by just repainting it inside and out, replace all carpets and curtains, re-stain or re-wax any floor boards and replace all the light fittings with more modern ones.

You'll be pleasantly surprised by how cheap and easy this is to do and how much it lifts the perceived value of your home, making it feel brand new again.

4. Renovate and fix in unison

Get building inspections before buying a ‘renovator’s delight’ or have someone with a keen eye go over the property. A common mistake is to plan for additions without paying attention to dated features.

Flashy kitchens and bathrooms won’t sway potential buyers if the house needs rewiring or attention to roofing and guttering.

Related: Things that make a profitable property purchase

5. Outdoor dining

If you've got room out the front or the back, consider creating an outdoor deck or patio where you can enjoy al fresco dining and open air entertaining. It might mean loosing a third or a quarter of your backyard but it creates a whole extra living area which can add thousands to your home's value.

Ensure to consult the council and your neighbours so you get approval for such changes, and if they don't let you extend the roof or use an awning to cover the deck you can simply use a large retractable outdoor umbrella.

6. Utilise space

All homes need ample storage space. You might have spare space in your roof which is not being utilised so consider laying down some wooden boards and installing a light as well as some shelves to turn it into effective storage space for Christmas decoration and sports equipment which doesn't get used very often.

Garages are a good place to consider installing some shelving or overhead cupboards for additional storage space too.

7. Outdoor shower

You might not the space or the money to build an additional bathroom, but many homes can afford an outdoor shower around the side of the house. It's a novel idea but the family will make good use of it for washing down after coming home from the beach or doing exercise, and makes a good place to give the dog a wash too.

Ensure there is good drainage for the water, otherwise you could be creating a breading ground for mosquitoes and moss.

8. Garden maintenance

One of the easiest DIY jobs you can approach is a couple of dedicated weekends grooming the garden of weeds and overgrown plants to tidy it up. Plant some new plants where there is bare vegetation or consider a veggie patch. Cut tree branches to give the yard more space and more sunlight. Get the weeds out of in between all the pavements and if you can think of a way to get rid of the hills hoist and use a collapsible clothes line around the side of the house instead, then you can really open up the space you have in your backyard.

Related: 10 Ways to lower your rent

9. Small changes for big impact

Think about small things you can improve around the home that will make a big difference. Some good one are; replacing all the door knobs on kitchen cupboards and draws with modern handles, adding fly screens to doors and windows that tend to remain open for air flow and replace those yellowing plastic light switches with sleek stainless steel ones.

Walk around your home slowly with a pen and paper and try to look upon it like an outsider would, for the first time. Note down all the imperfections that you see and write a list of all your ideas for improvement that won't cost much to fix.

10. How is your DIY finance?

Before renovating, or buying to renovate, it makes sense to have your home loan in order. Saving just $60 a week on your loan will buy you plenty of paintbrushes and sandpaper.

This applies to both shopping for new loans and knowing how to find better deals than your current loan. You can compare current home loans online these days and find out how to lower your monthly repayments or how to get your home loan paid back sooner.

For significant renovations you can refinance your current home loan with a new lender in order to borrow the funds for the project against the equity in the home. With any luck you'll end up with a lower interest rate which means lower monthly repayments, and you can start the renovation sooner.

Related: Refinancing could save you thousands

Apart from adding value to your home the DIY way, the long-term goal of any renovation is to pay off your investments sooner, so make sure you get the best home loan for your situation.

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