Five key renovation strategies for home sellers

by Alice Soon

Which parts of their home can give them the best return on investment if they choose to renovate?

Here are the five key renovation strategies that are time-tested, require minimal effort and provide options for every budget. They are designed to get sellers the best bang for their buck and top dollar for their listing.

Flooring — Every single person in a household will touch the floor every day in varying degrees, whether it’s the bedroom, living room or kitchen. It comes as no surprise that upgrading the flooring is a key feature that will go a long way to capture a buyer’s attention.

Here are some key tips:

• Remove outdated carpets (or at the very least, if that is not possible, ensure the carpets are professionally steam cleaned, looking fresh with no stains, rips or tears).

• Replace old carpets with either laminate flooring, hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles.

It’s been proven buyers view non-carpeted flooring more positively, as it’s easier to clean and helps with people who have allergies.

Fixtures and hardware — These may seem small on the surface, but it can make quite a difference. Fixtures and hardware include items such as door knobs, handles on doors and closets, entrances/exits, cabinet hardware, bathroom and lighting fixtures and light switches, etc.

They are easy to replace, fairly inexpensive, come in many colour/design options, and provide great options for anyone on a budget. The best part is that the seller gets a great return on investment for not a lot of money. On the other hand, if fixtures and hardware have not been replaced, it can really date a property and make it appear as if it has not been maintained.

Just remember, everyone has to either touch a door or walk through it!

These are simple and cheap, but definitely a worthwhile improvement to any home.

Bathrooms — Without a doubt, any money you spend on upgrading a bathroom will be worth the effort, as it’s considered the second most important room in the house.

Key upgrades include:

• New tile and grout (floors and shower).

• New faucet and hardware.

• New coat of paint on walls or cabinets.

• Upgrading or replacing cabinets (this can including swiping out new hardware and sanding down old cabinets and repainting them or replacing them completely)

 Kitchen — This is the most valuable room in the house. If homeowners only have one place where they can opt to do renovations, the kitchen is a sure fire bet to pay off.

You don’t need to spend a fortune in order to make it look spectacular.

Here are some simple add-ons or improvements:

• Add in a new deluxe faucet.

• Change out cabinet door hardware with new handles or knobs.

• Upgrade or purchase new appliances (fridge, range and hood, dishwasher, etc.) with a clean look that compliments each piece, and give the kitchen a cohesive design.

• Add new lighting.

• Create a backsplash to help jazz up appearance and functionality.

• Rebuild standard cabinetry at half the price (as opposed to custom cabinets or using expensive materials).

Add an income suite — Depending on the city or municipality, if the neighbourhood allows for income suites, sellers could potentially add 150 to160 per cent of equity into their home by putting in an extra suite.

This allows an owner to also potentially receive additional income through a tenant that can help pay off the mortgage or as an additional investment. Depending on the specific market or city, demand for double unit homes can rise by more than 25 per cent.

Research the market area of the home. If the town or city is growing, it means more people will move into that city. Also, check if the government and other institutions are planning on investing into that market; for example, are they planning to build hospitals, schools, universities, new transit system, etc. This may signal that as the community grows, there will be a greater demand for housing, tenant opportunities and increased equity for homes who can support the upsurge.

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