The Courier-Mail - Property - - REALESTATE -

WHETHER you are about to sell the fam­ily home or ren­o­vate a new in­vest­ment, do you ever just want your home to “feel” a lit­tle up­graded? As a fre­quent flyer, I de­scribe this as tak­ing your home from econ­omy to busi­ness class –for just a pre­mium econ­omy rate.

But can this really be achieved?

It can, but vi­a­bil­ity is the chal­lenge here. If you are sure this is your for­ever home, the ex­act bud­get is not as cru­cial, as time and long-term mar­ket growth may cover a blowout. Please note though that mar­ket growth may not al­ways cover your mis­takes. It de­pends on the mar­ket cy­cle and when you de­cide to sell.

If you live in a sub­urb where val­ues are high and your property sits to­wards the mid­dle or lower range – say your home is worth $1.5 mil­lion, while oth­ers sell for $2 mil­lion­plus – this can mean a larger spend is war­ranted.

Con­versely, if your home is at the top end of a mod­est mar­ket, get­ting car­ried away may re­sult in lost dol­lars.

Prod­ucts, fit­tings and ma­te­ri­als of sim­i­lar type and brand cost the same al­most every­where, so those musthave taps that are a sen­si­ble buy in some in­stances are a crazy ex­trav­a­gance in oth­ers.

So, what are the key ar­eas to fo­cus on to en­hance the qual­ity feel of your home? The whole touch ex­pe­ri­ence should be com­bined with the aes­thetic: what we can see. The se­cret to adding qual­ity is en­sur­ing the money is spent in ar­eas that can be touched and seen. This is a fun­da­men­tal el­e­ment of our hous­ing mar­ket. Here is how you can play the game, too: •Avoid stan­dard ver­ti­cal blinds; they have had their day. Spend the ex­tra money in key ar­eas such as liv­ing spa­ces and mas­ter bed­rooms. Full height and full wall cov­er­age cur­tains, sheers, plan­ta­tion shut­ters, or a whole ar­ray of stylish blinds now on the mar­ket are good buys. • Light­ing should be given very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. If bud­get is tight, fo­cus on en­try ar­eas, liv­ing spa­ces and kitchens. Bed­rooms can use soft mood light­ing in the form of ta­ble lamps to keep fi­nances on track. • The colours you use can have a sub­stan­tial im­pact on your home. The sin­gle coloured fea­ture wall trend is very last decade. It’s now whole-room colour or two walls, wall­pa­per or fea­ture al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als. Trawl the in­te­rior mag­a­zines and on­line sale listings with hefty price tags for in­spi­ra­tion, then seek cheaper al­ter­na­tives. • The stan­dard alu­minium sliding win­dows are ab­so­lutely fine, but we all know they are the ba­sic prod­uct. To up­grade, con­sider prime sec­tions of the build­ing such as the win­dows on the fa­cade, the front door and liv­ing ar­eas. Here you can spend more and cre­ate im­pact. The de­sign op­tions are in­fi­nite, not just in style but ma­te­ri­als. Tim­ber, whether in a nat­u­ral fin­ish or painted, is as­so­ci­ated with a more ex­pen­sive fin­ish. • From your kitchen sink, the taps, to floor­ing choices, light switches, even robe doors, in­ter­nal doors and han­dles, fit­tings are both vis­ual and tac­tile and play a ma­jor role in that high-end fin­ish per­cep­tion. The list is end­less, and so can be the cost. Shop around and start with the spa­ces most of­ten seen, such as liv­ing and kitchen ar­eas.

The com­mon thread is the fo­cus on prime ar­eas of the home, but also on what can be seen and what can be touched. Con­se­quently your dou­ble brick con­struc­tion, high­spec con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and meth­ods, plus even green el­e­ments such as so­lar pan­els and wa­ter tanks, while be­ing strong sell­ing fea­tures, are not un­der the touch of class cat­e­gory.

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