Whether you’re looking to sell a house, increase the value of your property or build equity, a carefully chosen home improvement project (like a composite decking project) can be a great way to increase the dollar value of your home and make it more appealing to buyers.
When it comes to investing in home improvements, there are some common dos and don’ts. For example, while Aussies love their swimming pools, a pool can dramatically reduce the market for a property. The cost of maintenance and utilities combined with the safety concerns, especially for young families, can be off-putting for a lot of buyers.
A landscaped garden, on the other hand, can significantly enhance a property’s aesthetic appeal and increase the asking price. However, elaborate, high-maintenance gardens can have the opposite effect, putting off a lot of buyers.
The trick is finding a project that will deliver the best return on your home improvement investment. While a new kitchen or bathroom will certainly add value to your home, this kind of renovation is expensive and hugely disruptive to your home life. So, if you’re not up for a full renovation project, what’s the next best option?
The appeal of an outdoor deck
One of the most cost-effective home improvement projects (in terms of ROI) you can invest in is an outdoor deck. In terms of home renovation projects, a deck is cost-effective and can increase your property’s appeal to potential buyers.
A well-executed decking project will create a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor areas and increase floor space and entertaining space without the cost of adding a new room. A deck can also help to make the best use of your outdoor space, especially if you’re on a sloping block and it can reduce the cost and effort of outdoor maintenance by cutting down on garden areas.
When it comes to investing in an outdoor project with an eye to a future sale, it’s about pulling the right emotional levers with potential buyers. A deck offers the benefits of lifestyle with little associated cost or efforts of maintenance, especially if you opt for composite decking.
Things to consider
If you’re planning a decking project with an eye to enhancing the value of your property, there are a few factors you should consider before you get started.
Decking location and size
No matter how nice your decking area is, if your backyard is looking onto a back alley or a car park, it may not be too enticing for potential buyers. Whereas a coastal property with a view over the beach will make a deck highly desirable.
It’s also worth considering geographical location and weather conditions. Decking in Brisbane can be used almost all year round, while decking in Melbourne may only get used eight months of the year (if you’re lucky) due to the weather conditions.
You should also consider where you build your deck. Decks that create a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor areas are most desirable. While the best views may be from the back corner of your property, that may not create the most desirable decking space if it’s a distance from the main house. Also consider how sheltered your deck is from wind, rain and direct sunlight.
It’s also worth thinking about the optimal size of your deck. A small deck will be cheaper to install, but if there’s only room for one folding chair it won’t add much value to the house or do much to entice buyers. On the other hand, if the deck is too large it may eat into valuable backyard space.
Your decking material will not only affect the cost of your decking project; it will also determine how much ongoing maintenance is required and will be a significant factor in the longevity of your deck.
In general, a timber deck will cost less to install than a composite deck. However, the best composite decking materials will last longer and will require very little maintenance, which may be much more appealing to potential buyers.
If you’re in a location that faces extremely hot summers or snows in winter, a composite deck may also be more appealing to buyers, as it will hold up much better under these weather conditions. That means less time, money and effort needs to be poured into ongoing or seasonal maintenance and repairs.
Consider DIY decking installation
If you’re looking to recoup maximum input costs on your deck at the time of sale, it’s worth considering making your deck a DIY project. Whether you’re using timber or composite decking boards, DIY decking installation can dramatically reduce the associated labour costs, which means you’re more likely to recoup the cost of your investment and even come out ahead.
But beware: if your DIY work isn’t up to scratch, less-than-professional work can be a big turn-off to potential home buyers.
Invest in landscaping
To really put your decking installation project over the top, consider investing in some garden landscaping. Some general landscaping will help to seamlessly blend your new deck into your backyard, improve the view from your deck and enhance the appeal of your outdoor area.
Be careful not to go overboard, however. While some basic landscaping to get your yard looking its best is appealing to potential buyers, overly complex, high-maintenance landscaping can be off-putting for many homebuyers.
Mike works as an outreach manager for many property and real estate businesses. His expertise lies in finance, safety products, and real estate.