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Where to Spend Your Money When Renovating

Tips on how to maximise value when renovating your home.

In our interview with property expert Sam Gamon, Sam shares his insights on how to maximise value and avoid costly mistakes when renovating.

This is Part 2 of our Building Insights series on Home Improvements That Add The Most Value.  Check out Parts 1 & 3 of this series for advice on whether extending your home is worth the cost and what features add value to your home.


Jeremy Gates: Hi. I’m Jeremy Gates, Managing Director of Gaia Construction. We are an award winning residential builder based in Elwood specialising in renovations and extensions. Today I will be discussing home improvements that add the most value and the risk of over capitalising with property expert, Sam Gamon. Sam is one of the directors of Chisholm and Gamon, Bayside’s number one estate agent and auctioneer extraordinaire. Thank you for joining us today, Sam.

Sam Gamon: Thanks Jeremy. Great pleasure to be here.

Jeremy Gates: If you don’t want to do an extension, are there any examples where a new kitchen or bathroom would actually add value?

Sam Gamon: Yes, I think there are many examples especially when you have a townhouse. So you’ll find that a townhouse appeals to a buyer that doesn’t want to do a lot of work. It tends to be typically your downsizer or your professional couple, maybe pre-children, and they want to be in something that has got a bit of design flare, has a bit of space, nice outdoor area. They like to be in the cafe lifestyle so there is a strong appeal for that type of property. And also with the house market, with prices having risen, you find that the townhouse or town residence is really appealing. But, again, because people want them with the latest mod cons, after about ten years they need a refresh. So after ten to fifteen years, and fifteen years is probably starting to look quite tired, when you get to that point, changing the bench tops, re-facing your kitchen or putting in a new kitchen, updating the bathrooms, is actually crucial to getting a better price because, bear in mind, you are never in isolation – you’re then competing with properties that are brand new. Whilst they’d be more expensive, some people might just make that jump. So if you can close the gap and people say, “Oh, hang on. There’s good value there because I am not paying that premium of brand new but I’m getting brand new fittings”, then there is a huge appeal for that. Again, that comes down to changing carpets, repainting, all these things, because there is a greater expectation in our marketplace now for properties to be well presented.

Jeremy Gates: Yes. Repainting a house is a relatively cheap thing to do. We paint the external of a house for $10,000 – $20,000, the same for the internal of the house. So for $20,000 – $40,000 you are going to get your money back quite easily, I presume.

Sam Gamon: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I recently sold a house two weeks ago and that particular property was renovated in 2010 so the renovation was seven to eight years old. A beautiful house, double storey, Edwardian, four to five bedrooms, beautifully laid out, so the floor plan worked. Tick. The house, very pretty, beautiful, but it was very darkly styled inside. So we had them go in and completely repaint the whole house and we just went a colour that is vivid white. That is what is on trend at the moment. And feature walls, they had dark feature walls too, in some rooms they had a darker coffee colour. Well, that had to go. They had gold mirrors. We had them paint the mirrors white. All of a sudden, the whole house brightened up. What they also did, which is something that the builder helped them with, is to put sky lights in. They added skylights in the hallway and one of the bedrooms, the darkest of the bedrooms. All of these things transformed the home and it was simple things too, they replaced some tiling in one of the bathrooms, they repolished the benches; they just lifted it and refreshed it. What happened was they had a failed campaign with another agency three years prior and they didn’t receive a single offer. They went through this process of taking our advice and they sold the home for $100,000 more than they were expecting and they sold it within two weeks.

Jeremy Gates: There you go.

Sam Gamon: So it is a game changer and the evidence is there and the case studies are there. That is why I always encourage people. It is basics, you spend money to make money, but spend it in the right areas. Let’s not spend it in the wrong areas but do it in a measured, sensible way.

Jeremy Gates: Thank you very much for that. That is a wealth of information for our audience. I am Jeremy Gates from Gaia Construction. I hope that was useful for you and if you are looking for a builder to work with, please give us a call.

If you are thinking about building, renovating or extending, we have prepared a FREE guide to help you get started – 7 Things You Must Know Before Designing a New Home. Download it now to learn how to save time & money and ensure that you are on track to your perfect home.

The Key Things to Know Before Designing Your New Home

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Sue Davidson

The highlight of Sue's job at Gaia Construction is handing over beautifully crafted homes to excited clients. In her spare time, Sue is passionate about the environment & the outdoors, enjoying time hiking, sailing, walking her dog Lulu and travelling around Australia with her husband Jeremy & Lulu in their small campervan.
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