Renovating to maximise a property's resale value

Here's five crucial tips to ensure a property renovation equates to a higher resale value when the time comes to sell.

Young woman renovating her bedroom with roll of carpet in her hands
Keeping a home neutral, classic and traditional can help to retain its value. (Image source:

In 17 years as a property valuer I’ve inspected close to 15,000 properties and encountered every layout and interior design concept imaginable, from the stunning to the terrible. If it’s been included in a home, chances are I’ve seen it one way or another.

While walking through these properties I’ve found myself silently musing, “Why is there no pantry or dedicated microwave space in the kitchen? Why is there no window in the bedroom? And when was lime green ever in fashion?”

So many times I’ve wish the homeowner would seek the advice of a property valuer first before embarking on a renovation or new build to prevent mistakes that can have a detrimental effect on market value before construction begins.

Through this first-hand experience, I’ve come to understand why many choose to embark on the adventure of designing their own living spaces, without seeking professional help.

With so many popular renovation shows flooding our TV networks and ample “inspo” on social media, we think it’s easier said than done.

However, venturing into this realm demands meticulous planning to avoid costly post-construction errors. So, what are the essential considerations when embarking on the exhilarating journey of designing your dream home?

Designate a specific study space

Since the start of the pandemic, this has been probably been the number in demand space in the home.

With almost everyone in some shape or form working from home or needing a home office, the humble ‘study nook’ is just not cutting it anymore.

The dining table or kitchen bench was a good temporary solution but is not allowing for the privacy (and soundproofing) that Zoom meetings require.

As a result, the inclusion of a designated study area has become paramount, whether in a new build or a substantial renovation, a designated home office or study space complete with ample room for dual screens, storage and a door that closes, is poised to become a non-negotiable for prospective home buyers.

Maximise space efficiency

Beware of the pitfalls of inefficient design, where expansive living and dining areas lead to awkward furniture placement. This often signifies an ineffective use of space.

The key is to meticulously determine the functionality and usability of each space.

Ask yourself whether you could achieve your needs in a slightly smaller area. If the answer is yes, don’t hesitate to experiment with room dimensions while envisioning furniture placement.

Take the time to think about where you’ll sit to watch TV.

Additionally, ensure the design optimises window placement for abundant natural light. Remember that bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially if it compromises the overall functionality of a space.

Embrace the Sun’s radiance

Among the most coveted attributes for any property is its orientation toward the north or northeast.

Such alignment ensures that natural light will flood your home for the majority of the day, infusing it with an ambiance of light and energy.

Estate agents’ sales literature will rave about properties with north-facing gardens because experience shows that buyers gravitate towards a well-lit outside area and adjoining entertaining rooms.

Strategically positioning windows to harness this aspect can transform a space.

However, even if your home doesn’t favour the north, all hope is not lost.

The strategic placement of skylights, window configurations, and a lighter interior colour palette can create the illusion of spacious, well-illuminated interiors.

It’s advisable to be cautious about placing large windows facing west, as the relentless summer sun from the west can be harsh and costly to counteract in an Australian summer, especially in the northern states.

Bedroom dimensions

There are instances where a three-bedroom house can command a higher valuation than a four-bedroom dwelling.

The misconception that a greater number of bedrooms invariably translates into higher property value doesn’t hold true for every home.

Some prospective buyers may prefer a three-bedroom residence with generously proportioned rooms, potentially accompanied by a smaller study, over a four-bedroom home where each bedroom barely accommodates a bed and bedside table.

In contemporary home designs, it’s not uncommon to observe smaller bedrooms compared to earlier decades.

Consider the prospect of compromising by allocating space from an overly spacious living area to enhance the bedroom dimensions. When measuring a bedroom, remember not to include the built-in wardrobe in the floor area, as this can be misleading. A spacious bedroom should measure at least 3.5 meters by 3.5 meters, exclusive of built-ins. Anything smaller than three square meters is consider “small”.

Keep it classic, not high fashion

The secret to designing a home that will most likely hold its value is to not follow the latest interior design trends too closely.

You want to avoid that feeling when you walk into a home and say, “that was so five years ago”, for example, hexagon or subway tiles being used everywhere.

Keeping a home neutral, classic and traditional can help to retain its value and typically has a greater long term market appeal.

If you want to experiment with colour and texture and so-hot-right-now trends, consider instead doing it through artwork, furniture, cushions, rugs and even light fittings that are easy to change to get a whole new look.

If you still have your heart set on experimenting with bold interior and architectural design trends then understand what you love may not appeal or resonate with the broader market when it comes time to sell.

Article Q&A

What should renovators consider to maximise the value of their home?

Renovating demands meticulous planning to avoid costly post-construction errors. Some factors to consider to maximise the resale value of a property include creating a dedicated home office/study, maximising space efficiency, utilising natural light, keeping designs classic and erring for bigger rather than more bedrooms.

Continue Reading Architecture And Design ArticlesView all architecture and design articles