If you plan on putting your home in the market, there are several ways you can add value without breaking the bank. The key is focusing your home improvement efforts on the areas with the highest potential to generate returns on your investment.

Most property experts list the kitchen and bathroom as among the vital renovation areas that can easily increase your home’s value. The property’s façade – which is the first thing potential buyers see when they check out your home – is another location that can stir buyer interest.

However, if you are looking to renovate your home to raise its value, it is advisable that you consult your real estate agent beforehand to make sure you do not overcapitalise. Going overboard with your upgrades may increase the value of your property well beyond what buyers are willing to pay to live in your area.

Before investing time and money into a project, experts recommend starting small – especially if you are uncertain if the renovation will reap the expected reward. Here are eight simple home improvement tips you can do to instantly add value when selling your property.

1. Apply a fresh coat of paint

Painting is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to give your home a facelift. Freshly painted rooms can make your home look newer, which is often a big plus for potential buyers.

If you have the time and are confident about your painting skills, you can do this project on your own. Painting materials will usually cost you a few hundred dollars. But if you want to hire a professional, a painting job for the interior of the house will set you back an average of $20 to $30 per square metre, including the ceiling, according to tradie website Hipages.com.au.

2. Update the window coverings

Window treatments are often excellent insulators that prevent warm or cool air inside the house from seeping outdoors – but you can also use these window coverings to elevate your home’s style. You have a variety of options, including blinds, curtains, drapes, shades, and shutters.

Blinds start at $30 and can go for over $180, while curtains range between $75 and $240, depending on the type and complexity of the design, according to Hipages. Designer curtains measuring 1,000x1,800mm can cost up to $580.

3. Focus on flooring

The flooring is another feature that can greatly influence the perceived value of your home. If you have floors that are outdated or damaged, there are simple ways to make this part of your house look brand new.

One trick you can do on your own is thorough cleaning to remove built-up dirt and grime. If this is not enough, another fast and cost-effective option is replenishing the floor’s finish. For timber flooring, you can use either wax or lacquer. You can also hire a professional to buff and polish the floor or opt for the more expensive sanding and refinishing. While more costly, the last two methods can result in a professional finish that potential buyers may find more appealing. 

According to Hipages, the total area, material, and whether the flooring needs to be installed by a professional determine the overall flooring costs. Generally, the materials cost about $30 per square metre, about the same as installation.

Another way to update the floors is to replace old carpets. There are several ways you can snag a bargain like buying replacements from an online auction site or contacting local retailers to see if they have any end-of-line inventory or discount off-cuts available for purchase.

4. Revamp the entrance

When selling a property, creating a positive first impression is one of the most crucial keys to success. A well-cared for home that emanates warmth and freshness is attractive to potential buyers, especially for those looking for a place to call their own.

Jo Carmichael, professional organiser and founder of property styling company All Sorted Out, stressed the importance of having a front entrance that is “immaculate” as a “buyer’s emotional connection begins from the streetscape.” She also offered simple and cost-effective ways to enhance your home’s façade, including pressure-washing the front decks, putting a new doormat, adding some greenery, and replacing the old letterbox.

5. Spruce up the garden

Good gardening and landscaping tell a lot about a property. These are among the first things a buyer sees when they visit your home and are a great indicator of how well the property is cared for. Sprucing up a garden is also among the areas of home improvement that can instantly add value to your home.

Enlisting a professional to do these tasks can easily set you back thousands of dollars. But there are several ways you can keep the costs down when grooming your garden. These include pruning overgrown trees, removing old and unwanted plants, and adding vegetation to bare areas. If your budget permits, adding features like solar lighting, fountains, and ponds can make your garden stand out. 

6. Invest in outdoor areas

“The Australian climate is so inviting for spending time outside,” says Blake Anderson, director at Melbourne-based landscaping firm Nomark. “As a result, people are now investing in the backyard as if it’s one of the most important rooms in the home due to size, scalability, and lifestyle benefits.”

When determining what kind of outdoor improvements will add value to your home, Anderson says that the some of the important things to consider include family activities, home features that bode well with these activities, the amount of space available, and the type of vegetation that grows in the area.

7. Kitchen and bathroom renos

In terms of home renovations, kitchen and bathroom upgrades have the most impact in home value as these are high-use and high-traffic rooms, according to experts.

“The kitchen is one of the most important communal areas of any home,” Bryce Yardney, project director at Metropole Strategist Professionals, tells Propertyupdate.com.au. “Buyers want a functional workspace that includes modern appliances, attractive taps, and good cupboards and bench-tops.”

However, some experts warn property owners against overdoing kitchen upgrades. Some of the less expensive ways to enhance your kitchen’s style include replacing cabinet handles and hardware, updating the splashback, and installing new taps.

Yardney adds that a “functional and aesthetically appealing bathroom” can also raise your home’s value. But rather than a complete renovation, small updates like painting walls, replacing tile grout, and reglazing bathtubs and sinks “can work wonders.”

8. Stage your home

One of the biggest misconceptions about home-staging is that it will cost you an arm and a leg. While hiring a professional stylist can set you back several hundreds to even thousands of dollars – depending on the level of service you choose and how long your property is stage for – there are many ways you can make your home attractive to buyers without having to spend much.

“Staging and decluttering make it easy for buyers to imagine how this property can become their property,” Carmichael says. “Buyers are inspecting multiple properties in a short space of time. Your property is in competition with every other property for sale, so make yours the one that wins their attention.” She adds that among the effective ways of staging your home are eliminating clutter, creating flow, and representing rooms for their intended functions.