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Neale Whitaker’s top tips for renovating to resell

No one knows more about renovating for profit than Neale Whitaker, interior designer and co-host of Love it or List it.
As Neale Whitaker gears up for a whole new series of Foxtel’s Love it or List it Australia, he shares with us the features that will add the most value in each space within your home.Of course, certain additions in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or living area will win points with buyers, but Neale says there’s one element to be valued highly above all others.

“If you’re renovating to resell, the thing you’ll most want to create in your home is space,” he says. “Getting bang for your buck in terms of space and potential for a home is absolutely where the biggest premium lies.”

Neale reveals his tips for renovating a bedroom to resell. Picture: Love it or List it / Donvale, VIC episode

Neale says anything you can do to make your home feel bigger and demonstrate its potential is going to be noticed by buyers; “whether that means actually knocking down walls, or simply moving out some of the furniture.”

Space aside, there are certain features that have made it onto a buyer’s mental checklist in today’s market.

Here, Neale walks us through each room of the home, and reveals the one feature to add value when it comes to renovating to resell.

The kitchen

Neale says many buyers want to be rest assured that when they buy a house they needn’t worry about embarking on large-scale renovation projects.

“Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses; it’s an old adage we’ve all heard countless times but it’s the truth,” he says.

“They are the big-ticket items and the kitchen and bathrooms are the spaces people will be most concerned about spending on when considering buying a house.”

Ensure your kitchen displays ample storage options. Picture: Love it or List it / Donvale, VIC episode

On a budget, Neale advises you make the kitchen as presentable and functional as possible, but if you’ve got the means, a butler’s pantry will win points come time to sell.

“If you have the space, and you can do it, it’s wonderful! But if you can’t just make the kitchen as functional and practical as possible, and demonstrate storage.

“People want obvious storage options. The more cupboard storage, the better.”

“People get very nervous about houses that don’t offer storage,” says Neale. Picture: Love it or List it / Coburg North, VIC episode

The living room

An abundance in natural light, a sense of space and flow of the room will all help to make this zone as appealing as possible, but when it comes to designing the ideal living room, Neale’s advice is to keep the space looking like something of a blank canvas, ready for any buyer to make it their own.

“Keep this space as neutral as possible. People can quite understandably be nervous around loud colours, decorations and patterns,” he says, adding: “If I was renovating a house to resell I would always be erring on the side of neutral.”

And this doesn’t have to be white, either. “Pale grey is warmer than white and not as sterile, yet is very good at demonstrating the space and its potential.”

“Anything you can do to show people potential is going to work in your favour.” Picture: Love it or List it / Paddington, NSW episode

The bedroom

More and more, the bedroom is being thought of as a sanctuary. “We spend such a large chunk of our time in bed which makes this zone an important consideration for buyers,” Neale says.

“If you can afford to do it and you’ve got the space, a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom is going to win points every time.”

“But you have to be realistic. If you don’t have the means to do that, a fresh coat of paint and a revamp on a tired carpet will work wonders to make the space look and feel more appealing.”

Styling here can make all the difference for a buyer, too. “Budget retailers offer stunning and affordable bedding options,” says Neale, adding that lamps on bedside tables will help to create an appealing ambience in the space.

Neutral doesn’t have to mean white. You can embrace soft hues when renovating for profit. Picture: Love it or List it / Paddington, NSW episode

The bathroom

No longer just a stop along the way to leaving the house in the morning, buyers are looking for a luxurious zone with that special touch.

“The rain shower is all the rage right now, as are double showers, double vanities and statement baths,” says Neale.

“But at the end of the day, people want good storage, and they want good lighting in the bathroom.”

Create a functional bathroom with ample storage. Picture: Love it or List it / Rozelle, NSW episode

If you don’t have the means or the space for luxury inclusions, updates like new tiles, tapware and the addition of face-level storage can help to make the space more presentable.

“Keep the bathroom as clean and simple and possible,” says Neale.


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