Household Tips

Renovations That Create the Best Resale Value

It’s no secret that a well staged, updated home will sell more quickly and for more money than a home that is being sold ‘as is’. Ask any realtor and they can give you a laundry list of ways to improve the look (and smell) of your home, before showings begin.

But if your home needs more than a plate of home baked cookies and a few knick knacks put away, there are certain renovations that create more resale value than others, so spend wisely and sell quickly!

Renovations That Create the Best Resale Value - Spend wisely and sell quickly with these simple tips!

The practical stuff isn’t sexy, but it matters

A new roof, new furnace, new windows or gutters… These are all home essentials that buyers are interested in, even if they aren’t very visible. They aren’t particularly ‘sexy’ when it comes to selling a home, but a leaky roof or a wet basement is a deal breaker in anyone’s book, no matter how modern and cool the bathrooms look. So if you’re hoping to sell soon, check the basics first to see if anything needs updating or repairing that will kill a deal before it even starts.

A buyer, particularly a first time buyer, wants to know that all the essentials are there and working, so they don’t have to spend money they may not have on maintaining / updating these basics: AC, heat, water, electricity, roof, windows, siding. Keeping the rain and weather out and the heat or cool in are important priorities that DO provide a solid return on investment for the seller.

“According to Remodeling Magazine, you’re less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. The only home improvement likely to return more at resale was a minor (roughly $15,000) kitchen remodel, which returned 92.9 percent. Replacing roofs and windows were also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale.”

If all your home basics are updated…

Your next best bet for a good return on investment are the kitchen and bathrooms. These are two areas of the home that people are most critical of when they are viewing, probably because updates to these two spaces are the most expensive in terms of construction and fixtures. They are also two of the most highly used spaces in the home. People tend to picture themselves in these spaces when looking at a home to buy, so if they love the design of these rooms, they might overlook others that they aren’t as fond of.

Look at what is selling in your area, at what price, and what those houses have. If the average listing for the price you want for your home has two bathrooms and you only have one, your best money will be spent on adding a second bathroom (or at least a half bath), rather than updating the existing one.

Curb appeal also matters

First impressions make all the difference. If a potential buyer drives up to your house and hates it on sight because of the chipping paint on the siding, the deck with the missing rail or the overgrown garden, you’ve probably lost them. It’s a rare person who can overlook all of that and focus on the insides only.

Check out these seven easy ways to boost curb appeal before you put your house up for sale!

Adding space

If you can’t make the house taller, wider or longer, a great way to add space is to finish and/or remodel the basement. This is often a very underutilized space that can make a great family room, play room, workout space or even a spare bedroom for guests!

Adding space, including storage space, in the basement that is not only functional but enjoyable to use is a matter of thinking it through. Some ideas include:

  • Adding windows for natural light;
  • Putting heating in the floors to avoid cold toes;
  • Consider another bathroom in this space, if only a half bath.

Flooring has value

Many people see replacing of flooring as an expensive and tiresome project so if you replace your scuffed up laminate with a high quality hardwood, your potential buyers will be able to feel like the space is more ‘move in ready’ and therefore are more likely to be interested.

Carpeting in particular is viewed by many as being unsanitary because it’s harder to get a full and complete clean of wall-to-wall broadloom, whereas hardwood (or tile in the bathroom and kitchen) are easy to clean alternatives that a buyer can appreciate.

What renovations DON’T add value to a home

There are a few renovations that seem to add little to the resale value of a home, though some of these will depend on where you live.

  1. Swimming pools—If you live in Arizona, this might be a great addition. If you live in Kapuskasing? Not so much. Pools are expensive to maintain and if your target market is young families, a lot of people worry about the safety issues around having a pool in their backyard.
  2. Landscaping—Yes, curb appeal is important and part of that is neat and tidy landscaping. But landscaping that goes too far, that looks like it will be impossible (or expensive) to maintain, that includes complicated water features, can be a turnoff for a lot of buyers.
  3. Ultra high end appliances—A $10,000 stove in a $200,000 house is just plain overkill. Unless you KNOW you’re going to be selling your home to a chef, it’s just not warranted to overspend on appliances. It will be hard to recoup on your investment unless the entire house is similarly high end and the market evaluation price reflects that!
  4. Broadloom carpeting—Beyond the notion that carpeting is hard to clean and therefore a lot of people prefer hardwood or other flooring in high traffic spaces, there is a growing concern among home buyers about the chemicals in synthetic carpets. It’s expensive to install as well, so could be something you don’t get your investment back on!

Ultimately, if you’re not planning on selling anytime soon, you should also make sure that any updates and renovations you do are actually pleasing to YOU! Living in a space that was remodeled with others in mind isn’t conducive to creating that homey atmosphere! If you are planning on moving soon, consider the updates that will give you the most bang for your real estate buck and you’ll be well on your way to your new home in no time.

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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