Nila Sweeney
The key to a success is to research which specific renovations work well in your local area, the experts say.
 
In leafy garden suburbs, for instance, an open-plan family room with doors that open out onto a deck will be in demand, explains Alex May, author of Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation.
 
In the inner city, it might be off-street parking that gets buyers and renters flocking to your property.
 
“In general, light, airy renovations work,” May says. “Don't slavishly follow new trends – plenty of agents are reporting that the minimalist, warehouse white kitchens that were so big five years ago have lost their appeal in the current market."
 
If you’re planning to renovate, May recommends you stick to the following key areas.
       
1.   Paint, paint and more paint.
“Paint colours can be difficult to get right,” she says. “Colour consultants are available to help and can give your home the kind of fresh, new look that may have you falling in love with it all over again. Wattyl (www.wattyl.com.au) and Dulux (www.dulux.com.au) can help you find a consultant. For the exterior, give it a good wash to make it shine like new.
 
2. Add a sense of space
“Flowing open plan spaces really impress people when they walk into a home,” May confirms. Look for opportunities to remove non-structural walls to open two ordinary rooms into one grand living space, or to transform the kitchen into a deluxe eat-in cookery.
 
3. Look for natural light
Open up a dark, dingy bathroom or narrow hallway with a beautiful bright skylight. Remember, natural light creates a feeling of more space inside a home, and space adds value, so this is a wise investment. Make sure you consider how much a skylight will add extra heat to a room, too, and play around with artificial light to create drama. “High wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger,” May adds, “and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces.”
 
4. Polish as you go
Take care of dripping taps and leaks, clean up the gutters and touch up the walls where the paint has chipped or flaked: it’s the little details that can make the difference between an average renovation and a perfectly polished property. “It helps to do your own quick inspection to assess what needs to be done,” May says. “Start at the front gate with a pad and paper and write down everything you see that needs to be attended to.”

5. Don’t forget the garden
Time to get your green thumb on as you de-tangle, prune, weed and trim your garden into shape. A well-loved, well-maintained garden can add instant value to a home that's on the market, just as unkempt, overgrown landscaping can detract.

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