Renovating for Profit – Tips from a Real Estate Agent

renovating for profit

Addbuild often works with growing families to add space to their home, making it more liveable and suitable for their evolving needs, but we also work with homeowners who are building an extension or addition with a view to selling their property and realising a profit from the renovation.

If you are looking to sell, there’s no better person to advise you about what home buyers are currently looking for than a real estate agent.

So we sought the perspective of one of Sydney’s leading agents, asking: which renovations maximise the sales value of a home, and what are the mistakes people make that can reduce that value?

Vicki Peters of Elders Real Estate in Enfield is ranked in the top 10 of the 1,500 Elders agents in Australia. Vicki has fantastic experience of the Sydney market and that translates into plenty of detailed feedback for people renovating for profit.

“The old saying is that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, and to a large extent that remains true, but I’m still surprised at some of the renovation choices that people make that can undermine the saleability – and ultimately the sale price – of their home,” Vicki maintains. “In my view, these are some of the key points on what to do… and what not to do.”


“Buyers are still looking for open-plan living, so a combined kitchen / dining / living space in an extension that flows into the back garden is a smart move and remains a sought-after feature,” Vicki notes.

“Adding a second storey opens up all sorts of possibilities. Parents want to be on the same floor as their younger children, but as children get older, those families look for a parent’s retreat or a separate space for their teenagers. That second floor can be used both ways.”

“It’s another smart idea to add a second bathroom in the new area, or as part of a kids’ retreat. The existing bathroom can be turned into an ensuite for the master bedroom. No more queuing outside the bathroom door for the parents!”

“In one of the homes I sold last year, the family had built an addition with 2 bedrooms, a study, a living area and bathroom for the klds on the new second floor. Downstairs, both the master and a further bedroom had ensuites. I had more than 300 buyers through that home resulting in a fantastic auction result.”

“The sweet spot seems to be 3 to 4 bedrooms, the master with ensuite, a study, and open plan living / dining / kitchen. It’s a formula that seems to attract interest from the widest range of possible buyers.”

Multi-Generational Living

Another trend that Vicki highlighted is the growing number of families who prefer to look after elderly parents at home:

“I recently sold 3 homes to people who were looking to cohabit with a frail older parent or parents. In one case, a family bought with the plan of turning a floor that was technically under the house into a self-contained unit for their parents.”

“Families with elderly relatives want to avoid staircases, so a separate entrance on the ground level, a self-contained unit with its own bathroom and kitchenette is really appealing.”

“Also, children are staying at home into their 20s now to help save for their own place, so these separate spaces can be ideal for that scenario as well.”


“When it comes to additions and extensions, the majority of homeowners are adding space to update their heritage-style home,” Vicki explain

“Designing the new space with a contemporary look and feel is definitely popular in the current market, but that doesn’t mean you should be ripping out all the original features in the older part of the home.”

“In the older section, keep the original floorboards, ceiling rose and ornate plaster ceiling panels, the original fireplaces and mantels, picture rails, skirting boards,” Vicky implores, “and please don’t remove the wooden window frames and replace them with aluminium!”

“It’s fantastic if you can carry features like the fixed skirtings, window trims, doors and the cornicing though to the new section to create a connection between the two parts.”

Colour Schemes

Renovating is the perfect time to redecorate your home and that led to a conversation about colour schemes: are there any current trends to be aware of?

“The latest trend is white,” Vicki adds, “but people don’t want a stark look so they are selecting warmer whites with an accent of colour, for example antique white and the similar whisper white, or cooler whites like Diamond White which has a bit of grey in it.”

“White also has the advantage of making homes feel bigger and brighter. I still haven’t met a buyer who wants to live in a dark home.”

Street Appeal

Vicki again strongly counsels homeowners against rendering over the brick facade of your home. Some fall into the trap of wanting to match the front of the house to the extension at the back, which might not always be brick.

“It might seem like the right thing to do, to make the outside of the house uniform, but buyers are much more likely to fall in love with a brick-fronted home than one that’s been rendered. As long as your bricks are in good condition, just don’t do it!”

Staying on street appeal, Vicki also advises sellers to keep trees well trimmed to avoid covering the front of the home.

“It’s not good for us when presenting the home, especially because people vet the properties they are going to inspect by looking at the pictures on the internet, and trees obscuring the frontage doesn’t allow buyers to get a clear impression.”

The Garden

The subject of trees leads to a succinct point about the garden. “Everyone wants a low maintenance garden,” Vicki advises. “People are time poor and whilst they want to enjoy their outdoor space, so presentation is still important, they don’t want something that will take hours away from their weekends.”

“And you still want to keep the garden in harmony with the style of the home, so, for example, a cottage garden with colourful flowers best suits a heritage-style home.”

“If you are going to have trees, make sure they are regularly trimmed. It’s much harder to cut them back and maintain a natural look once they are overgrown.

Final thoughts on renovating for profit

“If you create that open-plan living, dining and kitchen at the back of the home, bifold doors opening to an outdoor covered deck with room to entertain and have dinner is the perfect finishing touch.

Addbuild’s reaction to Vicki’s advice is that it reflects much of what we have seen successful homeowners implement when renovating for profit.

As a ‘concept to completion’ company, this advice also lines up with the practice of our specialist designers who also work with homeowners to achieve their financial goals.

If you are looking to add space to with a view to creating a profit on your renovation, Addbuild is Sydney’s leading builder specialising in extensions and additions. Contact us to discuss your plans by calling (02) 8765 1555 or by using our online form.

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