How to prepare your property for sale in a trade shortage
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How to prepare your property for sale in a trade shortage

Achieving your maximum sale price is still possible, even if tradies are thin on the ground

By Kirsten Craze
Tue, Jan 10, 2023 10:11amGrey Clock 4 min

Preparing a home for sale has never been more challenging. A construction crisis means materials and trades are pricier and harder to come by so renovation budgets and timelines are blowing out. Trade portal recently reported that 85 percent of tradespeople on their site have had to raise their rates this year as timber and metal prices soar in the wake of a global supply chain crisis, coupled with a scarcity of skilled labour and trades.

CoreLogic’s Cordell Construction Cost Index revealed that building expenses increased 9 percent over the 12 months to March, the highest annual growth rate since the introduction of the GST in 2001.

Property stylist Justine Wilson of Vault Interiors says mammoth renovations should be shelved for sellers on a tight timeline right now.

“Almost across the board, everything from materials to furniture is taking longer to source,” she says. “What used to be a one-month lead time is turning into 14, 16 or sometimes 24 weeks. 

It’s doubling or tripling the standard time and that has a flow on effect for anyone trying to renovate for sale, she says, but there are multiple fixes vendors can undertake to add value quickly.

“See what you can do on a cosmetic level before knocking out walls and attempting things that are going to need trades,” Wilson says. “You can give your place a facelift with styling or a fresh coat of paint rather than structural changes.”

Read more stories like this in the launch edition of Kanebridge Quarterly magazine. Order your copy or subscribe here

Refresh your strongest selling points

While the old adage says kitchens sell houses, Justine Wilson says vendors needn’t install a new one.

“Kitchens and bathrooms will always entice buyers so have them looking as fresh as possible. If you can’t order a whole new kitchen then use laminate paint to update cupboards, change out door hardware and consider peel and stick tile options to modernise really dated splashbacks. You could also swap out older benchtops and choose a laminate or Caesarstone top because they seem to be in ample supply at the moment.”

Home offices are also an asset in a post-pandemic marketplace.

“Whether it’s a nook under the stairs or a self-contained study it will appeal to buyers because people want an office or media zone separate to the rest of their family,” Wilson says. “You can get freestanding prefab pods, convert a garage, or garden shed rather than going through the expensive and long process of getting something approved and built.”

Take it outside

According to the recent Great Australian Backyard survey by Adbri Masonry, 80 percent of respondents said an entertaining space out back plays an important, or very important, part in decision making when buying a property.

“The outdoor dining and entertaining area is a staple for every Aussie home because it adds a new dimension to how you can entertain while enhancing the appeal of your home,” says landscaping expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador, Jason Hodges.

Since timber and carpenters are hard to come by, he suggests refreshing your outdoor area with pavers with a high pressure hose down.

“If you have a paved or decked area, you can give it a clean to inject new life,” he says. “If you’re starting with a blank canvas, consider creating your own aesthetic with a small format paver such as Havenbrick, which allows you to create different patterns with a variety of colour tones to choose from. Also, adding a cosy fire pit as part of your outdoor entertaining area means your space becomes usable all year round.”

A veggie patch can also add to the family-friendly nature of a home, as can embracing a wellbeing element, like a meditation space.

“The beauty of the backyard is its diversity,” Hodges says. “With a little effort and a dash of creativity it can be transformed into the space which is right for you, be it a Zen garden or sleek entertaining area. It’s yours to define. Plus, it can reap financial rewards when selling.”

Invest in styling for maximum ROI

Staging a home for sale is a quick, temporary fix which often means you can avoid the wait for trades. Stylists like Justine Wilson have warehouses of items ready to go so a tired listing can be revived within days rather than weeks or months.

“Styling adds value when you’re presenting your home for sale and can completely uplift a property without any renovation,” she says. “If you can’t redo your kitchen or bathroom then look at putting that money into the best presentation possible,” she says.

Window dressings like these custom made blinds from Tuiss can be ordered online and are suitable for DIY installation


Homeowners can start by making sure the house is neat and decluttered, the carpet is steam cleaned and windows are washed. Even the smell of the home has proven to help with the sale. A study by UK-based real estate agent comparison site GetAgent revealed which scents sell homes. Top aromas included freshly baked bread (with 37 percent of respondents claiming it would entice them to buy), followed by fresh linen (36 per cent), freshly brewed coffee (27 per cent), new carpet and freshly cut grass (both 25 percent).

“You could go a step further and have your home professionally staged so that it stands out online,” Wilson says. “We’ve seen anywhere from a 5 percent to 20 percent increase in the sale price after presenting a home well.” 

She says to view styling not so much as an expense, but more of an investment. 

“By presenting the space correctly, with the right flow, function, and scale of furniture, it can help buyers who have trouble visualising its potential.”


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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