$1000 can earn you a fortune
A FEW cheap and easy DIY hacks can bring you huge profits down the track, property experts claim.
According to Luke Harris and Matthew Bateman, who founded real estate mentoring business The Property Mentors in 2014, the key is to focus on strategic renovations that will bring the most "bang for buck".
The pair, who have also recently penned no-nonsense property investment guide Let's Get Real, told news.com.au property owners didn't need to invest a fortune to reap massive profits.
"If you've got a house, the cheapest and easiest thing is landscaping as it has street appeal, which will add value," Mr Bateman said.
"If you have an overgrown garden with weeds and long grass that's not maintained, you can buy some secateurs from Bunnings for $12 and for a couple of hours on a Sunday arvo you can improve the whole look.
"When it comes to bang for buck, the simplest and best value option is a new coat of paint - whether external and internal, it adds a lot to the bottom line."
But they said there was one project in particular which could boost your home's value by tens of thousands of dollars.
"A lot of houses have rooms that aren't used any more - but for example, if you have a three-bedroom home with a redundant dining room, you can spend around $1000 putting in some new plasterboard walls and turn it into a bedroom, which will add tens of thousands of dollars in value and is really cost effective," Mr Harris said.
"If you have a limited budget, make a decision about where you want to spend your money. "Things like replacing carpets and pulling up tiles and floorboards add value and are also relatively easy and can be done by a DIY enthusiast."
The pair said renovators often forgot about the roof when giving the outside of their home a facelift, but that updating the colour of the roof along with the rest of the property was an easy fix.
"It's best to focus on cosmetic renovations rather than structural ones like adding storeys or putting in a pool, which doesn't necessarily add value," Mr Bateman said.
"Depending on the size of the block, you may have the potential to subdivide, which can be another way to extract value from the property. There are rules and regulations around it, and different councils around Australia have different rules … but it's all about having a plan."
Another winner can be updating your home's security - especially if your potential buyers are families or older Australians.
And when it comes to apartments, there are obviously more limitations on what can be achieved - but the duo recommended focusing on kitchens and bathrooms, which can often be updated more cheaply than many realise.
"If you have an old kitchen you can replace it relatively cheaply as apartments are usually much smaller than houses," Mr Harris said.
"Kitchens can be costly but you can do it as cost effectively as possible by going with Ikea or any other pre-fab system rather than a custom-designed kitchen solution - you can even find them second-hand on eBay or Gumtree, which can be a rich source in second-hand cabinetry. "You can also paint the existing doors to get uplift."
The duo also suggested painting over "garish" tiles in old kitchens or bathrooms, which can have a "massive" effect on a home's overall appearance.
They warned that many buyers were looking for an investment property instead of a "forever home", and that those people were more interested in cosmetic fixes rather than perfection.
They also said potential DIY-ers should consider their level of "skill and expertise" before committing to a huge project.
"You have to factor in the cost of your own time - there are cost savings with DIY, but what is your actual time worth? If you make $30 an hour in your job, every hour spent driving, pulling carpets, painting and visiting Bunnings should be factored in," Mr Bateman said.
"Adding mirrors on walls and in the right places can extend the look and feel of an apartment and create visual space. It's relatively cheap to install a full-length mirror in a room and when they are placed in the right space they can help spread natural light further throughout the apartment, because often windows are in just one place.
"Choose light colours as opposed to dark and larger format tiles can create the illusion of more space."
The property moguls also warned against letting your own questionable taste dictate the renovations.
"You might like bright colours and feature walls, but that's not what the market likes," Mr Harris said.
"You have to also think about what takes value away - and you should avoid trends that will date the property.
"Keep it neutral and simple and beware of the bling."