Which renovations are the best bet when selling your home?

By Todd Lewys

After much thought, you’ve decided to put your home on the market.

However, that decision has prompted another thought: should you renovate before putting up the “For Sale” sign?

Ideally, you should have updated your home regularly over the time that you owned it. That said, we don’t live in an ideal world.

Issues can creep up over time. Then — once the decision to sell is made — there they are.

Then comes the hard part – figuring out which renovations are worthwhile, and which ones aren’t. This can be a vexing challenge.

Here are some tips to help you undertake the right renos — and get the best Return on Investment (ROI) for your hard-earned dollar.

•          Consult with the professionals. This entails hiring a reputable REALTOR® and having them — and, ideally, an interior design/staging professional that they trust — go through your home. They will provide you with honest, focused feedback on what renos you need to do.

•          Start small. According to Winnipeg-based interior design/staging professional Kelly Penuita, you can start the process by doing a few small things yourself. “For example, paint is money in a can,” she says. “It can freshen and brighten a space and bring new life to it. You can also put in new plug and light switch covers or new door handles. Just make sure they match, because buyers will notice mismatches.”

•          Then, look at the bigger stuff. This is where you really need to drill down and determine which larger renovations will yield the highest ROI. Statistics have shown that replacing front doors and garage doors yield a high ROI, as they tend to be the first things buyers see when they walk up to view your home. In short, a vibrant new front door or garage door makes a positive first impression. Refinishing a hardwood floor is also a good move, while re-doing your floors with high-end products isn’t.

•          Don’t outprice your property for your neighbourhood. “If you’re in a starter home in Norwood Flats, you won’t want to put in granite countertops and high-end hardwoods — they’re nice, but expensive,” says Penuita. “Work with your REALTOR® to get to know comparable homes in your area. That will give you a good idea on what level your renovations should be at.”

•          Avoid going overboard on key spaces. Historically, the key spaces in a home are kitchens and bathrooms. Don’t get HGTV Fever when it comes to looking at updating these spaces, advises Penuita. “If your kitchen is out of the 1990s, you may want to freshen it up. Again, things like new paint, maybe a new neutral white tile backsplash and new plumbing fixtures — perhaps new appliances — can breathe new life into it; the same idea applies to bathrooms. You can do effective, tasteful updates without spending a ton of money.”

•          Exterior considerations. Once again, appearance is key. Dog-eared shingles and battered siding can be unsightly and cause buyers to cringe before they even enter your home. The good news here is that installing a new roof and putting on new siding provide good ROI. That said, fancy landscaping isn’t necessary. You simply want things to look clean, presentable and organized to create a positive first impression.

•          Definite don’ts. Simply put, do not put in a new deck or fancy new basement. Although they look great, they don’t yield great ROI.

•          Strive for consistency. “Do things that fit with your home and your neighbourhood,” says Penuita. “That comes with knowing your price point. That’s why it’s important to consult a REALTOR® and stager. Spending a couple of hours with them will help you decide where to invest with renovations.”

What are the overriding factors to consider when it comes to undertaking renovations before selling?

Get professional advice, and then perform the renovations that give you the highest ROI.

Do that, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to sell your home in short order — at a price that works for both you and the buyer.