Costly renovations might not give the return one wants when selling a house. Smaller, cosmetic changes, which will make the property more appealing, is more advisable. Experts say less is more, as costly improvements might not yield the financial returns that are hoped for.Marlies Kappers, head of marketing at financial services provider DirectAxis, and Lindsay Beck, a Pam Golding branch manager, admit in a press release that owners could struggle to get their money back on a massive renovation.Upgrades on personal indulgences, such as jacuzzis, are also on the list of things to avoid, as prospective buyers may see just another hassle that needs to be cleaned, maintained or repaired. Beck issued a few ideas about cost-effective renovations and how to go about it. Create curb appealOne of the first things to consider is what estate agents call curb appeal. It is what makes people decide whether to stop at a show house, or drive past.A freshly painted exterior, neat garden and clean windows all point to a house that is cared for and consequently one that is more likely to attract buyers. Do not bite off more than you can chewHave a plan and tackle one thing at a time. This way you can keep your projects achievable and will not face the situation where you have taken on too much, have run out of money and end up with a house with half-painted rooms or unfinished bathrooms.Repair before renovatingKeeping on top of home maintenance and spotting potential problems before they become expensive can be just as important as renovations. A shiny new kitchen may not be enough to offset broken gutters and a green swimming pool. Keep it simpleA fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards improving a room and is a lot cheaper than remodelling or breaking down walls. Similarly sanding down and re-varnishing wooden floors is more cost effective than laying new ones. Small changes can sometimes make a big difference, such as fitting a Perspex or stainless-steel splashback in the kitchen. Also, avoid customised features. They are generally expensive and require specialist installation. Use off-the-shelf products wherever you can. When it comes to adding to the value of your house, less is more. Have a plan, do a bit at a time and think about the things which will add the most appeal at the least cost.