How to get the best price for your house

poolYou’re thinking what’s a travel website got to do with real estate? You might just be surprised at the reasons.
Most of us move from home to home wanting a better environment to live. For us that environment is a global thing and if you read more of our blogs you’ll understand more about us.
We planned on renovating our home and selling a couple of years back and knew that the market was going to be tough. It’s always tough regardless of trends and graphs, you are always going to get what someone is prepared to pay for all your blood sweat and gunshot wounds called work.
So with all the reality spread out before you why on earth would you renovate and sell in such a volatile market?
The answer is because the best time to buy is now while the market is on the turn to recovery. We will still make on our home, maybe not the giddy heights of a couple of years back but its better than we hoped for thanks to a great and knowledgeable Real Estate Agent.

Here’s how we made money in a depressed housing market.

Out with the old and in with the NOW.
Look no matter how tight the reno budget is there is no way that painting over the old kitchen cupboards will cut the grade these days. You have to shop around. Remember that your renovating to SELL not to keep so plan to keep your design concept neutral.

Street Appeal 

The first impression is what will sell your home – With ours it was get rid of the palm’s and forest the obscured the house (cost under $1000) and replace it all with bark, seriously that was it! The guys who cut down the palms event chopped them up and took them away – all done in one mornings work.

Our House - before

Our House – before the renovation


Our House – After the renovation

Kitchens and Appliances

This is one area that can cost a fair bit of coin, in fact forget coin think large green notes! But it needn’t be as extravagant as you think. We talk to friends who have spent over $10-20k on their kitchen and then look at ours that set us back only $5k.  Our agent stated that this was an awesome design should be a major feature in our advertising campaign. We really shopped around for our Kitchen and then beat a salesman down on an appliance package of a no name brand that had an appealing looking stainless and glass range-hood that we knew would set the whole look off.


The Colours

With so many colours to choose from these days it’s really hard to make a choice. We’ll that’s kind of true but unless you want to pay (as we did) a designer ($1600!!!) then it’s simple really. Stick to neutrals and forget the “every room needs a feature wall” mentality. You don’t have to use the most expensive brand of paint either, you’re not going to be living there to get the benefits of paying all that extra money.

The Lights

This part of the exercise can be daunting. Unless you have a home that requires a period type of décor go for stainless and frosted glass. It’s now, it’s cheap and you can get most of what you want at you local hardware stores. There are some good lighting chain stores around, but watch for specials and discounted lines. Don’t replace all the light switches until you have tried to clean them all first, they may just scrub up good enough to keep them.


This was always going to be expensive (or so I thought). Roller blinds and Venetians are the way to go if you’re looking for that modern look. There’s a retail outlet in Australia called Spotlight and each year the have an annual sale on all their blinds – we scored a whopping 50% discount on all our Venetians, then with the saving managed to get our handyman to trim and install!


The Flooring

Carpet is cheaper than tiles or timber. But in the main service areas tiles are the best for both serviceability and looks. Shop around and take your time in choosing this part of the project. We managed to pay no more than $14 per square metre with our tiles plus laying costs. As for carpets, go for a nylon blend, it’s a little more than just straight nylon, but it looks more expensive that what it is and nylons can give off a bit of a shine (it looks cheap!!)

Paint the Fence

It’s a boring and horrible job but it’s got to be done. It took me five hours to go right around our 600m section. But I did it in the evening for an hour each night just before dusk (recommend you do this in the summer and watch your drying times). I used a roller – trust me forget doing this job with a paint brush. If you know anyone who has a spray gun see if you can borrow it.

Cleaning for the Big Day

We all loathe cleaning the house, but to get the biggest bang for your buck this is one area that should never be overlooked. You can go all out and hire a commercial cleaner, or as in our case get every member of the family to come over with a duster, bucket and cleaners – Total cost – a restaurant meal as the end of the day. Good news is everyone’s happy and no dirty dishes.Don’t leave anything to chance with your cleaning

  • Windows gleaming and streak free
  • Doors wiped down
  • Floors – not a speck of dust and moped
  • Screens – no dust
  • Patio & Driveway water-blasted

The rule is, if it’s not as clean as a brand new show-home – IT’S NOT CLEAN!


Choosing the Right Agent

This is most important because this is the person who works for you. They are the ones who maximise your dollar and usually the more the house sells for the more money they make (which indirectly means the more YOU will make). Go with a local agent, one who knows your area and choose a face that you’ve seen in the local real estate section of your community local paper.

Jazz up with New Furniture

What the???? – yes this is the big one, if you want to make you’re home look like a show-home it needs the finishing touch – Modern Furniture. Now before you fly off to the bank for another credit card to buy all this stuff – STOP!. No one said anything about buying…. There are company’s out there that specialize in creating the perfect home just for selling. They organise the hire furniture and add all the trappings. From the rugs on the floor to the knife-block on the kitchen bench… It’s all staged by professionals who want you to make good on your investment.

In a nutshell, what we did


  • Replaced all tiles in the bathroom
  • Replaced all floor tiles through out the house
  • Replaced the lounge carpet
  • Replaced all tap-ware through out the house
  • Replaced all lights and ceiling fans
  • New boundary fences
  • New kitchen with granite bench tops
  • New paint inside and out
  • 3 Cubic metres of bark for the gardens
  • Removed the palm forest from the front garden
  • Installed approved pool fence

How did we fare?

We made over $100K in 8 years

(remembering that the GFC of 2008 was 5 1/2 years of that)  




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