Bang for buck guide to adding to property value

It’s an age-old debate and the main conversation topic in many appraisals over the years. Owners want to spend a proportion of money on their home to get it ready for market, but understandably not too much, and even more pertinent is not wanting to put money into a black hole. Every house is different and contains its own nuances, meaning that they all have different needs in terms of what will add value but hopefully, this blog starts the wheels turning in your gray matter.

Add a room via a false wall

Nail this one right and you could make more gain than any other suggestion on this list. I know a friend who made a lot of money renovating a property and selling it. He undertook a lot of the grunt work himself and used the skills of a builder friend to save dollars. I believe one of the main value additions, however, was adding a false wall partitioning off the large lounge to create an extra room as it was able to be done. Changing from two to three bedrooms is great because one bathroom is still adequate, yet three to four bedrooms with one bathroom is a little different but still worth doing in the right circumstance. Often an unused dining area works for a conversion.


I had positioned this at the end but have moved it up the list as it can be a real value add. The bonus is there are plenty of us out there who can dig a post hole and swing a hammer well enough to put up a very tidy fence. Not only will you help create privacy, but for someone to have their children or animals run around without the worry of heading out onto the road is a big tick.

Another reason to erect a fence it that when a piece of land is fenced in, it gives people a real sense of what they own, it’s theirs.

Paint, glorious paint!

A personal favourite which is usually always on a list like this. But for good reason! The bonus is it can be a  therapeutic and satisfying thing to do. Add a couple of coats of paint to bring back the gleam in any home. One strong piece of advice would be to use test pots. This is spoken from the personal experience of someone who currently has their home painted a dark black/green when they were really going for a very dark gray. Serves me right for being in a rush and buying the whole exterior house worth of paint without actually using a test pot to start with!! As you can imagine it somewhat takes the shine off the excitement levels when the first stroke doesn’t look anything like you imagined.

A tip, don’t forget about the roof. A few hundred dollars for some roof paint can work wonders and that is talking from experience. Taking my roof color from an old and weathered red to a lovely grey has made it look a million dollars (well, not a million but one can wish).

Again, something that can be completed yourself if you are handy and have a good eye for detail. My two cents worth, it would be to keep the colour lighter rather than dark as it is less polarizing. Talk to your local paint store for advice but the moral here is don’t be afraid of getting the paintbrush out.

Please fix those obvious areas of rot

A great way to arouse suspicion and set a buyer’s mind to wonder what lies beneath is a lovely piece of rot in the window sill or some such place. The housing stock in Wellington is for the most part fairly old, so deterioration is most definitely to be expected. But, that is no excuse for leaving obvious rot in a window or barge board. These fixes are usually easier than you think and will most definitely not only add value but take away concerns.

Carpet, it’s a look AND feel thing

If old, worn and pet stained I can’t stress the carpet being replaced enough. I have read articles in the past that say carpet doesn’t add value but given the right situation, I strongly disagree. I can think of a recent example where a home that was struggling on the market came off, had the carpet replaced which was worn badly and sold in excess of expectations within a week and a half. Generally, shoes come off when looking at a property so the carpet has the two-pronged approach.  Not only it looks good, but nothing beats a nice thick underlay underfoot when stepping foot into what you are trying to imagine might be your next home.

I know an energetic young carpet layer in Wellington who has worked on a house for me and does a great job and is super cost-effective so feel free to get in touch if you need a contact in this regard.

Start at the footpath

This is an important point and one that has definitely been raised before by many but is worth repeating. People will decide whether your home is on the yay/nay list very quickly, usually within a minute, so the entrance and first impression must be on point. Don’t be afraid to replace a letterbox if it is prominent and looks terrible. Waterblast those paths, touch up the paint, fix the lean on the gate, sure up the small leaning retaining wall surrounding your vege garden, stain the fence. Think “cared for”.


Arguably the best money (or time) you can spend before going to market. From the simple, like mowing lawns, edging paths, sowing grass seed and re- barking gardens to concreting a gravel car pad, you really need to consider an investment in your outdoor area. A cared for garden and yard equals a cared for home and added value.

Similar to staging a home, less is more in the garden. Keep it simple with clean lines. Use hardy plants that stay looking good all year round. Think space, and make sure the grass is full and green. 

Landscaping also allows you to create privacy via the strategic planting of trees and shrubs.

The insulation you say?

This is something I would suggest if easily done. It may be a surprising addition to the list and is probably the only improvement that you can’t “see”. But the “does the house have any insulation?” question would have to be one of the most common I hear. To be able to say yes it is, in the roof, and underfloor gives owner-occupiers a sense of comfort and an added feeling of quality in respect of the home, adding value over and above the spend.  I am not suggesting to go to the extent of insulating the walls. Rental properties by now should already have had insulation installed but if you are selling an owner-occupied property that could lend itself towards ownership by a budding property mogul, having this box ticked is a must.

Insulation can be installed reasonably cheaply. Having had a personal experience this year with a company called Energysmart in Wellington and I found them great. The added bonus with this type of work is you can install yourself if you are so inclined, helping to keep the cost down. Work you can do yourself is always a bonus. 

Add light

Dark rooms and areas in a home will really tempt buyers to turn on their heels and leave. Circumvent this by adding a skylight or light tube. The beauty of this addition is you shouldn’t need any council consent helping to keep the cost to a minimum. 

Another way to do this is to add a couple of large mirrors. This can not only make space feel lighter but also more spacious. This can be talked about with a good stager as mentioned below.

Create storage

Everybody loves to see organization and structure (even the most unorganized or unstructured among us). Storage could be in the form of an inbuilt cupboard in a large bedroom or a place to stack and store firewood outside. There are literally hundreds of ways to do it and it usually doesn’t cost the earth. Storage is surprisingly important to those looking for a home.


Not really an improvement to the actual property but has been added in here due to the massive value it adds when selling. Well worth consideration if your furniture is below parr. Humans are like magpies, we like shiny things.

Note: I do not receive any referral fees from anyone mentioned in this article. I simply like to pass on the names of people who do a good job at a fair price.

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Country kid turned city inhabitanat. I enjoy working out, living in the vibrant city of Wellington, helping people with property, and spending time with my beautiful wife.