Here’s the situation: You’ve made the tough decision that you’re going to move to a new home. You’ve analyzed your family’s needs and realize that your current home needs a lot of work. Even when completing home renovations, the floor plan will still be the same. It’s time to move on.
This is something our family has struggled with over the years. As our family grew, we outgrew the house that was once a good size for us. So, we added an addition. Then, our kids started getting bigger and had different needs (bigger friends, hang out spaces, more parking). We should have a bigger house than we do, but we loved our neighbourhood of Exhibition Park too much to move.
Maybe you want to do renovations- but to stay put
It’s quite possible that you want to go through the process of getting your house ready for market. But in reality it’s only if you fine the one. Otherwise you’re just going to stay put.
These renovations still apply and will ensure that when you find the house you want to move to, you’re prepared to list on minimal notice.
You’ve decided you want to move
All that being said, you want to do work around the house that will provide the greatest return on investment. Most people would agree that if you spend $30,000 on renovations that will increase the sale price by $60,000, it’s a good investment.
However, not all home renovations done to a house add enough value to make them worth it if the plan is to sell the property.
If you work with us as Guelph realtors, we walk through your house to get an initial idea of value in the current state. Then, we have a stager come through the house to give their opinion on what you could do to improve the value/ appearance with some home staging.
It’s amazing what happens when you do a few things on the list below. We recently had a house that went from yuck to amazing with about $3000 in time and materials. And they probably earned about $40,000 in sale value as a result!
There are many easy home renovations that are value added improvements to a house. These are the ones you should tackle first, before undergoing a major renovation. The following is a list of home renovation project or home improvements that when done can help improve the value of your house.
Fresh Coat of Paint
Repainting your home can be a relatively inexpensive way to help freshen up each room. Some would even say that it provides the highest return of all updates.
Cheerful, brighter colours reflect more ambient light, and this is especially important in small rooms like guest bathrooms and space-challenged bedrooms. Be careful of deep shades that darken the home.
Although this is a smaller project, it can make a major difference. However, it can still go wrong if you paint deep shades that darken the home. If you aren’t sure and need guidance, we’d recommend you talk to an interior designer or stager to get ideas of the best colours for your house. They’ll also be up to date on current trends. Remember, you want your home to appear airy and bright for photos.
So, although this is easy to do it does require some thought. Most painters will provide free estimates, so it’s worth getting a few quotes.
Replace the front door!
If you can’t paint the front door a more modern colour because it’s damaged or dated, it may be worth simply replacing it. A new, stylish front door sets the tone for potential buyers- because they literally walk through it to enter the home.
Curb appeal, the term used to describe how your home looks on the exterior- or, the curb is severly impacted by your front door. Whether you know it or not!
NOTE: this also goes for your garage door.
Doors can be expensive, depending on size, style and material. Be sure to shop around!
The kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the home”. Any home renovations or upgrades done here will help with the sale of your house. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do complete overhaul.
In fact, we recommend that you don’t renovate for your own taste. Do minor updates to modernize the kitchen in a generic way if you plan to move now or in the next 5 years.
Countertops are highly visible. So if you opt for any kind of expensive rip-and-replace work within the kitchen, the countertops are a good bet. Just keep in mind that countertops are a very personal choice. Just because you love the look and feel of granite doesn’t mean most of your potential buyers will agree.
This means that you shouldn’t spend large amounts on a new countertop with the assumption that it will be a universally valued feature.
Do I have to replace my cabinetry?
Replacing your cabinets can be a very expensive home renovation. This can easily eat up any potential profit you might realize from you home sale. Unless your cabinets are in terrible condition, the best decision that will return more value is to paint your cabinets or even reface them.
New cabinet fixtures and hardware are surprisingly effective as kitchen and bathroom upgrades. There are a lot of great options at your local Home Hardware. Do not assume that replacing kitchen and bathroom hardware is going to be cheap, though.
Replacing all of your hardware can easily run into hundreds of dollars. On the upside, new fixtures and hardware are an easy do-it-yourself project that you can take on, even if you are in a time crunch. You can replace your kitchen and bathroom hardware in a few hours. New hardware can help modernize older cabinets.
Similar to kitchen renovations, bathroom remodeling can add tremendous value to your home. It’s mainly because a buyer looks at a bathroom and says “ok, I can buy this house but I need to budget for a new bathroom”.
This can lead to a lower priced offer to account for that renovation. Talk to your general contractors to find a way to do this without breaking the bank. Often times with bathrooms, the biggest gain comes from converting a half bath to a full bathroom, or maximizing the square footage by redesigning the layout. A good contractor should be able to help with this.
Improve your Landscaping
Curb appeal landscaping is a huge factor for a buyer. Great landscaping can be create an impressive first impression. This is not something that requires a large amount of money to improve. Simply spending a little time in the yard can make a huge difference.
- Adding colour with annuals, seasonal flowering shrubs, or perennials
- Removing weeds from your yard, watering it, applying fertilizer, and aerating it. This will also help in getting the yard as green as possible
- Mowing the lawn on a regular basis
- Planting a few deciduous trees such as the tulip tree, dogwood, and red oak (roughly 15 feet tall)
- Edge and mulch the lawn to create a neat and attractive appearance
Upgrade the Lighting
Another simple home renovations to help increase the value of your home is to upgrade the lighting. Upgrading any dated light fixtures and ceiling fans will help modernize your house and help it show better during viewings.
In rooms like the dining and living room, where a chandelier or pendant light can be quite prominent, consider how a different light fixture could improve the space. Visit the lighting section at Home Hardware for ideas!
Clean, replace or remove the carpet
Most buyers today believe carpet is not a desirable feature. However, clean, new carpet can add tremendous value to cozy up a basement or upstairs bedrooms.
Hardwood floors under the carpet? If so, you may want to consider exposing it (especially if it’s in good condition).
Other home renovations that can add value
Some of the most common questions we get when we list a home are ages of major items. This is because buyers clearly factor these replacement items into their offer price.
Depending on the rest of the home condition, it may be worth it to replace these prior to listing. As a result, it gives potential buyers the confidence that your home is “move in ready”. It will require minimal short term expense.
Here are a few of the major items that buyers always ask about:
- How old is the furnace? Replacing really old HVAC systems (20yrs +) can be of great value to buyers as the life of these is roughly 25 years.
- How old is the AC unit? If it’s more than 12 years old, it’s coming to the end of its life.
- How old is the roof? Most buyers love a new roof because there is some unknown about roof costs- could be $4000, could be $15,000 with an average cost of $10,000
- If it’s an older home, things like knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring can be a huge unknown that scares buyers.
In the end:
The key message here is that there is no point in spending money on your home that prospective buyers won’t see value in.
If you’re not sure what to do, the first step is to get an opinion from a real estate agent. The good news is that Beth and Ryan are Guelph real estate agents who can help!