When renovating, understand your buyer to maximise your sale price

In an uncertain economic market such as we are presently experiencing, renovating a home with a view to selling & making money is a challenging thought process for most people. One of the main considerations that come to mind by going down this path is what the possible return will be, given that the ultimate selling price is more buyer driven than it may have been in the recent past.

By really focusing on some key improvements to your home, you should achieve a dollar return of around 3:1 and selling your home should be quicker & less stressful.

Different sorts of buyers can be put off by a variety of ‘perceived’ problems with the property. Even one of our fantastic colour glossy brochures that we produce for each property and our professional photography can’t cover up damage to the walls or floors, or a garden that has reverted to an unkempt forest. You really do need to fix these sorts of things before you place your property ‘on the market’.

Decide WHO your target market is, spend accordingly and you stand a much greater chance of achieving that 3:1 return. Call me for renovation friendly advice before listing your home for sale.


I recall several years ago renovating a wonderful property in Edge Hill,Cairns. My wife and I had spent a great many hours over many months labouring on things that we could do well ourselves. When it came to doing the kitchen however, we went to the professional tradesmen. We had new cabinetry installed, all new stainless appliances and fresh tiles and a totally new design.

As with most renovations, it eventually got to a point where we were ‘OVER IT’. The renowas still incomplete but we had reached the end of our tether and decided to sell the house ‘as it was’. We had really ‘only’ rebuilt the kitchen (which was completed), installed some new doors, painted the entire house and modernised a couple of bathrooms, as well as doing some quite dramatic landscaping. “Oh, was that all?” I hear some of you ask. I remember being given a hard time by close friends for spending nearly $40,000 on the kitchen alone; but we understood WHO our buyers would be.

We sold the home to the 1st people who looked at it and I overheard them say during their first inspection “everything must have been done properly, they wouldn’t build-in a $2,500 Miele coffee machine if they were doing it on the cheap just to sell it”. Automatic coffee machines were certainly not commonplace back then (2003).

The buyer’s were right; we had done everything properly. When we replaced the appliances, we chose a good European brand, when we retiled the floor, we chose good tiles. We got professional advice and help with the landscaping. Was it worth it?

We sold the house quickly. We sold the house with a minimum of stress and we achieved more than a 3:1 return on our renovating outlay. But, only because WE UNDERSTOOD WHO IT WOULD APPEAL TO!

Take time to plan your renovation, do it well, understand what your buyers will be looking for and you might also catch the renovating bug. It can be rewarding but you need patience … and a very strong relationship!

PS. The buyers still (eight years later) haven’t really done anything else to our ‘incomplete’ renovation but necessary maintenance and the property still looks fantastic!

About The Author

Chris Marsh

0427 278 473

Licenced Real Estate Agent

Chris Marsh has an excellent knowledge of the Cairns region, having moved here from Sydney in 1980. Real Estate has always been a passion as well as a profession and his integrity and drive have established him as one of Cairns leading agents.

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