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5 value-adding outdoor hacks that won’t blow your budget

By Paige McCallum
Most of us care about presenting our home in the best possible light, but things like shabby paint and overgrown gardens won’t just put guests off – they could disappoint potential buyers too.
Maintaining the outside of your home is especially important when considering putting your home on the market. But it pays to spend your money wisely outside as big changes can quickly blow your budget.

We’ve spoken to building and renovation expert Richard Armstrong from The Makeover Group to get his tips on adding value to your outdoor areas without spending big.

This home in Fitzroy North has charming street appeal. Picture:

1. Take five and look closely

“As homeowners, we rarely observe our home ‘slowly’ from the other side of the street to absorb its presentation,” explains Richard.

He suggests observing your home objectively to see it from a buyer’s perspective. Take in everything from the garden to the paint colours, the pathways to the letterbox.

This home had just $5,000 worth of improvements before selling well above the reserve price at auction. Picture: The Makeover Group

“By taking the time to look at your property’s kerbside presentation, you begin the journey of viewing your home through a buyer’s eyes. This helps you identify the most important tasks to ready your home for sale.”

2. Treat your front yard as a shopfront

Your home may not be a business but, likely as your largest asset, its sale price will make a difference in your life going forward.

Richard suggests looking at it from the perspective of potential buyers driving past, deciding whether or not to attend the inspection. It’s your job to entice them to park the car and come inside.

“Your front yard sets buyers’ expectations about the internal condition of your home. If the front of your property looks unloved and dishevelled, buyers will expect the same inside – possibly wiping off tens of thousands of dollars in your sale value,” explains Richard.

“If the front’s as neat as a pin, buyers’ expectations of your home – and its sale price – increase.”

By modernising the deck, this facade has arrived in the 21st century. Picture: The Makeover Group

3. Paint the front of your home with modern colours

While you might love the colour you picked back in the ’90s when you first bought your home, chances are today’s buyers have moved on from those terracotta and forest green shades.

Speak to your agent and research other listings to find out which colours buyers are engaging with in the current market.

“A fresh, modern colour scheme broadcasts to the world that your home has been kept updated and is ready for new owners to move in. Make it easy for them,” says Richard.

A simple coat of paint has made this home look more expensive. Picture: The Makeover Group

4. Tidy up

It should go without saying that before putting your home on the market, your house should have already had a big clean. But many people don’t realise that a ‘big clean’ actually means presenting the house as a potential home for someone else. From kids toys and family photos, sports gear and parked cars – your best bet is to present the house as a blank canvas, perfect for the potential buyer to imagine their lives there, not yours.

“Now that you’re selling, it’s time for others to imagine themselves in your home. Give them a clean slate so they can begin their own dream home experience – and fall in love with your property,” says Richard.

Start with removing your family’s memorabilia and leave only the elements that best showcase the functional spaces in the home, such as tables and seating.

Clean, crisp lines are what buyers are looking for. Picture:

5. To landscape or not to landscape?

Is your place’s outside in need of some love? You may want to engage a landscaper and spend up big… or you could just settle for a good tidy up and focus on making it look the best it possibly can without doing any major works.

Richard explains: “Major landscaping can be very expensive. Instead, get those green thumbs going and create a tidy, crisp front space.”

“The human eye loves clean edges and visual definition. Clean cut, consistent and edged lawns, freshly mulched garden beds with borders, weeding, pruning, clearing roof gutters and pressure-washing pavers all make your property shine to prospective buyers.”

So if funds are limited, focus on what you can improve and give the front yard a real sprucing. Buyers will be delighted.

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