Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

The real estate market can be highly competitive, especially for buyers trying to outbid each other at weekend auctions.

Competition among sellers is rife, too. And yet many Australians are ruining the value of their property, completely unaware of their role in this devaluation.

Until, that is, years later when they struggle to sell their property, or it sells for far less than expected — due to something they’ve done (or not done) to it.

Here’s what you need to do around your property to maintain its value, whether you plan to live there short term or long term.

Related article: Easy improvements you can make to your home before selling it

Be reno-savvy

The lime green carpet may be the hero piece of your bathroom renovation, but it won’t appeal to the masses.

Consider a “seller’s reno”, whereby you tone down or neutralise any of your quirky style choices.

Become a garden guru

Many Australian homeowners love gardening. But a style of garden that doesn’t  suit your home can be a complete turn-off to potential buyers.

Think Balinese resort garden meets Federation-era façade. The cost to reverse your tastes probably won’t be paid for by potential buyers.

Says Greville Pabst, CEO of property valuers WBP Property: “If outdoor renovations don’t match the character and design of the house, they can be a waste of money.”

Be conscious of pet odours

Your dog or cat may mean the world to you. But if they live or spend a lot of time indoors, their natural odour can very quickly penetrate even the cleanest home.

Over time, some homeowners  may stop noticing these smells; but they could repel a prospective buyer. Regular and thorough carpet cleaning is a must.

Consider switching your pet’s sleep space to an outdoor area (depending on the local weather conditions).

You may even want to keep them out of the house during inspections.

Don’t go under the radar

Many Australians make illegal additions or renovations to their homes without thinking of the consequences come sale time.

Experts and regulatory authorities constantly warn buyers to be on the lookout for illegal building work.

For example, the South Australian Government says “any illegal building work, including additions and alterations, will become the buyer’s legal responsibility if they buy the property”.

During negotiations, prospective buyers may ask you to lower your asking price by the same amount of money required to fix any problems you caused.

Consider kerb appeal

Those first glimpses of your home make a critical first impression.

Unusual paint choices, unruly lawns, rusty gates and rotten fencing will all scream “Replace me!” not “Buy me!”

Avoid clutter chaos

Even those who prefer minimalism will admit certain areas of their homes are cluttered.

Not only do these areas look messy, ruining your home’s appeal, they can be creating a worse problem.

Clutter is a magnet for mice, spiders and cockroaches. When buyers see inhabitants other than humans and pets, they may start imagining unseen dirt and damage.

This can detract from the value of your home.

Aim for a superior interior

You home does not need to have state-of-the-art design to be appealing.

However, certain factors can have an outsized influence on your home’s perceived value.

These include lighting, dust, mould, paint, and flooring.

A room-by-room check of your home will reveal which ones need a good scrub, a lick of paint, repairs or brightening.

Ensure everything works

Buyers are extremely thorough these days, testing and inspecting even the smallest of fixtures and features. 

Check your hot water. How’s the temperature and pressure? 

Check all your door and window mechanisms. Is anything loose or missing? 

If your home suffers from damp, don’t be tempted to paint over it — a potential red flag to a homebuyer — but instead get it professionally removed. 

Also, check all the electrical outlets and light switches are working.

See all of Budget Direct’s home-improvement guides