No matter how similar all properties look across a block, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter said that investors can induce ‘a sense of scarcity’ and ultimately raise the value of their asset through simple cosmetic changes. Find out how you can make your property stand out among the rest:
As a property valuer, Ms Porter has encountered two identical houses located side-by-side, with one of the properties valued by more than $10,000 to $30,000.
How do smart investors make high property valuations possible?
According to her, what creates value—and ultimately raises it—is simply the element of scarcity.
“What creates value is something that has a little bit of scarcity around it, which makes it a bit different from everything else. It's simply supply and demand.”
Ms Porter enumerates some of the simple cosmetic changes that could raise the value of any investment property:
Ms Porter said that one of the easiest but incredibly impactful way to improve a property and ultimately make it stand out is by doing simple landscaping.
“It’s about street appeal. Landscaping could be a big differentiator from other properties.”
In the same way that the indoors should have a ‘good flow’ between rooms, outdoor spaces must also be well-connected, she highlighted.
“Just make sure there's a connection between the flow of the house and the entertaining spaces—that's big in Australia. We all live outdoors, especially places where it gets pretty hot, so you want a pergola there,” according to Ms Porter.
Often overlooked, the simple features of the house like light fittings, curtains and air conditioning can also contribute significantly to the improvement of an investment property.
These fixtures and fittings may give an impression of old age or neglect, which could ultimately lead to losing potential buyers or tenants.
“When I say air conditioning, you might have it but it also might be the oldest, ugliest system in the world hanging off every wall. Then, couple that with some dated light fittings and some dated curtains and that creates a property that feels a bit dated,” the property expert said.
“They're quite affordable, so make sure those things are updated. They can make a really big difference to how a property appeals.”
Other simple cosmetic changes such as new paint, new bathroom vanities or new carpets can also make a difference on the property's appeal, according to Ms Porter.
From landscaping to fittings, paint and vanities, it may already sound like a minor renovation, but the property expert said that there are various ways to improve any property with little expense and minimal effort.
Ms Porter shared: “I've sold a couple of blocks of flats over the years, strata-subdivided them and, often, we wouldn't even redo the bathroom, so we'd go in and do the acrylic spray. Very easy, very cheap—it's done in a day and it really lifts the space. Chuck a new vanity in and you've got yourself what looks like a fairly updated bathroom.”
As simple as it may sound, the property expert reminded investors that the improvement of any property could not simply rely on one new item or a unique piece of furniture.
In order to make a property truly stand out, she strongly advised investors to make an effort to improve the entire space.
“People often say to me. ‘I just put in a new air conditioner, so does that make the property worth $4000 more because that's exactly what I spent?’ and I say, ‘Well, you neglected everything else. You've still got old bathrooms, old fittings, old carpet.’ ”
“Except for a major ticket item like kitchen and bathroom ... if it's just an air conditioner, if you just put in one new blind or you put in one plant out the back, that's not going to be what changes it.”
“You can't have one item that lifts a property. You've got to create an overall standard and give the property a better presentation,” Ms Porter highlighted.
While the fundamentals of property investment would largely dictate the value of a property, minor cosmetic changes can definitely lift it up and add in a few extra dollars.
As a property valuer, Ms Porter said that they do look through furniture packages and other minor details in and outside the house when determining the value of an asset to be put in the market.
“When you're putting a property into the market, the presentation is critical.”
“In Adelaide, for example, it's a very common practise to put furnishings in for the sale period. Very few homes are sold without at least a little furniture package, even just for the sale period, just to stage it.”
Ms Porter encouraged investors to seek the help of professionals, where appropriate, to make their property stand out even across a clock of similar-looking homes and ultimately maximise the potential of their investment.
“People often have trouble understanding how big a room might be or how functional it might be or how to use it. When it's empty, rooms always look small, or it sometimes looks like you're walking into a big bowling alley. But you can find people to help you out.”
“Presentation and staging can really make a big difference in the marketplace,” the property expert concluded.