In most instances, homeowners who are planning to sell look around the property and come up with a list.

The list may be a timeline, which includes meeting with prospective marketing agents, bringing in professional cleaners or engaging a stylist, but it will generally include tidy-up and fix-up projects of some nature. Here are a few you might consider avoiding.

Stop and think before you… change perfectly good fittings for expensive and unnecessary ones.
Have a look at the properties around you. Look at what’s on the market, what’s sold and for what price. The best house on the street won’t necessarily get you the best price.

If you feel the need to freshen up your property before sale, those expensive fittings and fixtures such as imported cook tops, taps, door handles and tiles can’t be guaranteed to translate to a higher selling price. It’s not hard to spend $20,000 or more on high-end products but you may not get that back.

A potential buyer might not think your personal choice was ‘good design’, a ‘wow’  or any great improvement at all.

Light and space, good construction and zero faults: that’s the best starting point to impress the buyer.

Stop and think before you… make an ugly ‘improvement’.
If you feel the need to add on an entertainment area or carport before you sell, do it in a way that is sympathetic to the original building. Add-ons that look like add-ons have the potential to devalue your property.

If something looks like it has been done in the cheapest possible way, it is not necessarily going to appeal to too many potential buyers.

Stop and think before you… do anything illegal.

DIY electrical work and plumbing –unless you are an electrician or a plumber – is illegal, dangerous and may result in instant devaluation on your property. It’s likely to be picked up by a pre-purchase inspection.

Don’t undertaking construction work without any necessary permits. What’s the point in having an illegal extension when it is likely to be picked up in a prospective buyer’s pre-purchase inspection? It may be money out of your pocket when you must make something comply with regulations, a task not always easy to do retrospect.

Unless you are a professional yourself, leave complex projects to those who know what they’re doing.

Stop and think before you … plan the exterior.

Poor site planning can devalue your property so consider carefully how indoor and outdoor areas integrate and how outdoor spaces flow, especially when it comes to extensions that can potentially cut off access.

You will notice the big emphasis on lifestyle and outdoor living when you look at the new home designs of today. Organising the space properly so that you have a good open family area and an outdoor living area. Don’t forget the barbecue.

Stop and think before you … swallow up the play area.

Young families, and grandparents as well, value safe and secure outdoor play areas, and views to the back garden are important to many people, especially if they want to be able to supervise young children when they’re outside. Pets need somewhere to play too.

Stop and think before you…remove all the trees.
Trees are very appealing to a lot of people and can add value in terms of sun-shading and cooling the property. Providing they are not damaging to the building, it may be better to leave them.

By all means do a tidy up where branches are overhanging and leaves are blocking gutters. Just don’t pull out the chainsaw and complete destroy the greenery.  A large attractive tree has been known to add $10,000 - $15,000 to the value of a property.

So, stop and think now.

Not every renovation or fix-up project ends up in a pat on the back and money in your pocket.