if you are looking at the prospect of a renovation job, what adds value? And what is just a waste of time and money?

People view renovation as one of the few ways to lessen the price difference between their existing house and the next step on the property ladder.

Experts recommend the bulk of renovation money is spent on the service areas of a house, such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Kitchen and bathroom

if you are going to spend more on any part of the house, the kitchen and bathroom is the place to do it. Everybody wants and needs them and often a home is judged on these specific spaces.

Significant cosmetic changes can be made to kitchens and bathrooms simply by resurfacing or repainting cupboards, or installing new tapware, splashbacks or door handles.

Note that work that did not require a building consent would be cheapest and offer the best return on investment.

Cost: From $3000. Major remodelling can run to more than $20,000.

Paint makes a difference

People underestimate how much difference a coat of paint can make to the interior and exterior of a house. Paint has a huge impact and renovators could expect to see a return of about $2 for every dollar they spent on paint. A coat of paint could improve anything from a lacklustre front door to a dingy lounge.

Keep in mind that the work needed to appeal to a wide variety of people. Interior walls should be a warm, neutral colour.

Cost: From $100 for a small room if you do it yourself, or slightly more than three times if you hire professionals.

Adding a deck or outdoor living area

Building a deck can also make a big difference to some houses. Outdoor living is high on the Aussie lifestyle list. Many people, particularly in urban environments where sections were smaller, preferred to have deck or concrete outside rather than grass.

Cost: From $5500 depending on size and materials.

Converting or adding a room

Some houses would become instantly more valuable when another room was added.
older houses had rooms that were big enough to be converted into two, which would be a cheaper option. Adding an en suite can be a huge benefit.

Cost: From $60,000 and up, depending on the extent of the work required.

First impressions

What does your house look like from the road? it is important not to forget the street appeal of a property. This is where more energy, but less money can be spent and can be the most cost-effective way of increasing your potential value. Gardening, painting fences, and a new letterbox can quickly transform and add value to your home. It could be as simple as adding a few lavender plants along the path to the front door or putting a fresh number on the door.

On the interior design side, it is recommended adding colour in ways that were not permanent – such as with a throw or brightly coloured cushions. Clever use colour helps people remember one house over another: That’s the house with the coloured cushions or the blue duvet.

Cost: From $5.