10 improvements to boost the value of your home

How do you boost the resale value of your home? Should you add another bedroom, build a pool or a granny flat, or would a garage be better?

While it seems tempting to just go all out and add any feature you can think of, it’s important to remember that not every home renovation is going to actually benefit you when the time comes to sell. You need to focus on changes to your home that suit the lifestyle of the neighbourhood. Here are some ways you can do this and boost your home’s sale prospects.

Get some expert advice

Before you start knocking down walls, it’s a good idea to get a professional such as a real estate agent or an interior designer to give you some advice as to what they believe would add value to your property. The benefit of asking a real estate agent is, they live and breathe property in your local area and are very familiar with what buyers are looking for in a new home.

Highlight a standout feature

Does your home have a feature that other properties don’t. For instance does it have a beautiful view – can you make enhacements such as enlarge the windows, or change the window treatment so it is easier to see out and enjoy the expanse. If you don’t have a view can you create one with smart landscaping? If you have a swimming pool, ensure the lighting is good to help make this a feature. If you have an ugly side fence, you could transform this using a an evergreen wall or vertical planter boxes. If your living area is separate to your garden, bring a bit of nature inside using indoor planter boxes, potted or hanging plants.

Invest in your garden early on

A manicured mature garden with established shade trees is very popular with buyers. Growing an established garden takes years to grow – so it’s a good idea to get this under way early. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the use of the garden long before you sell. Check with your local council about planning laws around trees that could extend beyond your property boundary too!

Revamp the kitchen

The kitchen is the one room that can make or break a sale. It’s usually the most expensive room in any house, so prospective buyers don’t want to see a kitchen that needs a total upgrade. Sell my house in Dothan. This doesn’t mean a total re-fit, but there are some small things you can splurge on that will help make your kitchen more appealing.

Enhance the bathroom

Buyers today like beautiful bathrooms – they want a room they can relax and pamper themselves in, no matter what size or condition your bathroom is in. It is Ok to spend some money on the bathroom to make the most of what you have.

Go with the flow

A property that flows easily from space to space is important to buyers, as it directly affects how easily and comfortably people can move through the home. Spending time getting this right can add significant dollars to your properties value.

Add a granny flat

If you have the space, a granny flat can be a big draw card for buyers for a multitude of reasons. Family buyers love a granny flat as the space can double up as a rumpus room for the kids, a place for the in-laws to stay or a home office. In addition, astute buyers see the opportunity of being able to lease out the external flat and help with their mortgage.

A fresh coat of paint

Paint can totally transform your property and help catapult it from the 70’s or 80’s into the 21st century. Consider re-painting the façade of your property if it is looking a bit tired, or if you have exposed brick you could render the façade and paint it. This will help create a good first impression and set the tone for the rest of the property. Don’t stop there, re painting the walls inside also has a positive effect on buyers as it instantly refreshes the entire home. You can’t go wrong with fresh crisp paint job in modern neutral colours.

Add extra storage

Another great investment is to add built in cupboards throughout the property – in bedrooms, family rooms, hall ways, garages…anywhere you have the space. Buyers love great storage so this can make your home much more appealing.

Create an outdoor entertaining space

An outdoor entertaining area adds a whole new room to your home and buyers love this. When planning your outdoor space, consider how you envisage it to be used. If you have the space perhaps it’s ideal for a large family, so a large dining area may be the best option with BBQ and cooking area. If space is tight, a deck or patio with comfy seating and shade may be the best option or if you have a balcony adding a table setting (even if small) is very appealing to buyers.

Benefits of passive building design

The Principles of Passive Building Design

Passive building design is an aspect of good building design. There are seven key elements which can be used to design homes that are naturally heated and cooled and therefore require minimal mechanical heating or cooling.

For most of Australia (excluding the Top End region) the orientation of a building to face north to access the free heat from the sun is the starting point. The other six elements – spatial zoning, thermal mass, ventilation, insulation, shading and glazing – can then be integrated to create a beautiful whole house solution.

Different areas in Australia require different approaches to passive building design and orientation. For example, tropical climates require the sun to be “held at bay” pretty much all year round, as the sun is both more powerful and tracks much further south in summer.


Orientation is of greatest importance in heating climate zones – that is, in the more southerly (temperate and cool) parts of Australia.

Orientation in its simplest form means locating living areas like the lounge room on the north side of the house, with windows having clear access to sunlight especially in mid-winter.

Effective orientation provides a minimum of about five hours of useful solar heating a day. Even with this, the glass will still be exposed to about 19 hours of varying degrees of heat loss. So it’s important that other elements of passive design support the orientation, or the effect will be lost.


Ventilation can improve comfort levels and the air quality in your home. Most Australian homes rely on a combination of exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms and windows and doors (and in older homes fixed wall vents) that open to provide ventilation.

Ventilation is important in passive solar design to help cool a house by allowing air to move and escape. The aim is to design for effective cross-flow of air through the building. The design must align windows with internal doors in a way that does not block breezes, and to not locate rooms where they block breeze paths.


Passive solar design uses zoning to help regulate temperature in a home. Doors close off rooms and spaces and stop warm air escaping from living areas into empty corridors. Zoning also keeps cool air in during summer so if you use the air conditioner you only cool the room you need and not the entire home.


Insulation is like a barrier, helping to regulate heat flow into and out of your home. By reducing heat flow you can maintain a comfortable temperature inside, regardless of the temperature outside. The type and level of insulation needed varies depending on where you live and the building materials used for the house. If you live in a naturally ventilated home in the tropics, the aim of insulation is to reduce the amount of heat getting in without restricting the hot air escaping. Reflective insulation under the roof and in walls that are not permanently shaded would work well.

In an alpine region, however, you would want to stop heat flowing out in winter and prevent heat coming in during summer. Such homes benefit from reflective insulation under the roof, floors and in walls, and bulk insulation in the ceiling and walls.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass is a measure of a material’s ability to absorb and release heat. Good passive design uses thermal mass to absorb excess heat from within a house during summer days and dump it to cool night skies. In winter, solar radiation warms the mass during the day, re-radiating it to the occupants at night. It is critical that thermal mass is well insulated from external temperatures and that it is exposed to winter sun in cooler climate zones.

Bricks and concrete are the most commonly available high mass materials, but rammed earth and mud bricks can also be used.

Windows and Glazing

The size of the window has a large influence on comfort, as it is both the biggest source of heat loss and heat gain. Ideally, in most climates of Australia except the Top End region, the top of the window should be lower than the eaves by 30% of the height from window sill to underside of eaves.

Otherwise, that window area will be permanently in shade i.e. receives no solar gain in winter. The width of the eave (or other shading device) should vary according to the height of the glass it is shading.

It’s important not to overlook glazing in windows and doors when thinking about heat flow. A great deal of heat can pass through single-pane glass, which can compromise an otherwise well-insulated house. Windows can be insulated in a number of ways such as with curtains and blinds. To improve the insulating properties of the window itself consider installing double or triple glazing. If you are installing new windows, also consider the frame types as they can also be a big source of heat loss and heat gain.


External shading devices can block up to 90% of the unwanted direct sunlight hitting your windows during summer. There are two main types of external shading to choose from: fixed shading devices and ones that can adapt to seasonal changes. Fixed devices such as eaves and pergolas have been the traditional mainstay for shading. These can be designed (particularly on the northern side of a house) to allow the winter sun to enter but exclude the hot summer sun.

Seasonal shading such as sails and awnings can be put up and pulled down when needed, so you have more control over how much sun you invite into your living space.

Plants and landscaping play a very important part in reducing unwanted glare and heat gain. For best results, plant deciduous vines or trees to the north, and deciduous or evergreen trees to the east and west. Evergreen plants are recommended for tropical and some hot, dry climates.

It is important to know where and when the sun hits your house and garden to plan for shading.