Renovating… “Who am I appealing to, you or me?”
Maggie, a Tradebusters service user had just purchased the new in-style, egg shaped bath tub for the bathroom which was about to be renovated by Dave (the bathroom business) in our trade network. She rang us up in a panic with this question – “Have I made the right decision in buying it? I just love this egg, but my friends think I should go for the standard modern line shape. What do you think?”
Tradebusters responds “It depends!”
Maybe not the answer Maggie wanted but it was a starting point for our discussion around a common dilemma faced by many homeowners when renovating – should renovations be based purely on personal taste in the knowledge that it may not appeal to the majority of other people? OR should personal preferences be set aside and wider preference choices considered? To help lead Maggie to a decision we tried to understand her future plans for this house. Was she planning to sell it within a short time frame after completing the renovation, say 6 or 12 months? Did she plan to live there for several years? Alternatively, was this the home she envisioned living in for the next 15 or 20 years?
When selling a house the research is pretty clear, success rates in securing a prospective buyer are higher and faster if the home appeals to the broader population, regardless of whether it’s an apartment suited to a single professional or a suburban home for a family with three children. Generally, it’s easier to appeal to most groups of buyers with timeless features like neutral wall colours, open space living, and probably a modern line bathtub – sorry Maggie!
We shared with Maggie a story about another Tradebusters client who had just secured a new house for $100,000 below its original asking price. The house had a bright blue and red kitchen, which was only three years old failed to appeal to the majority of prospective buyers. As a result, it remained on the market for more than nine months and out of desperation the owner was forced to drop his price considerably to sell it.
When planning a renovation, it pays to consider the following:
- Know your short and long term plans.
- Think timeless, not trendy. Whilst the latest trends may look impressive now, they could end up costly to change when the look becomes outdated in a few years. On the other hand, a timeless designed kitchen or bathroom will still look great in 10 to 15 years from now.
- If you intend to sell in the short to medium term then consider strategically tailoring a renovation that targets prospective buyers in a key demographic group. By doing so, there is an excellent opportunity to maximise the price.
And by the way, about Maggi, she was renovating to create her dream home and she planned to be living there and enjoying it for many years. So with complete confidence and excitement she went with her first choice, the ‘egg’, and has never looked back.
Are you planning a renovation this year?
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