When it comes to renovations or upgrades, bigger isn’t always better – especially if you’re thinking about selling. Not only are major changes expensive, but they can also turn buyers off. Instead, we recommend concentrating only on areas that will deliver the biggest bang for your buck (and won’t cost an arm and a leg). Here are our top suggestions:
1. Apply New Paint
A fresh coat of paint is the single most (affordable) renovation you can make to attract buyers. Not only will it help your home look fresher and brighter, it’s also a great way to mask imperfections. Keep it neutral, though. Whites, beiges and light greys will be much more effective than dark or bold colours.
2. Improve Energy Efficiency
When buyers hear “energy efficient” they immediately think lower utility bills and big savings – a very attractive feature! While this doesn’t mean you need to cover your roof in solar panels, we suggest making little changes such as new insulation in the attic or installing a programmable thermostat. Bigger changes might include new (triple pane) windows or upgrading the furnace.
3. Create Curb Appeal
Your home’s exterior is the first thing people see, so you’ll want to make a good impression. Be sure your front lawn is free of debris and the grass is regularly mowed. Trees, shrubs and hedges should be well-maintained, and the exterior of the home should be clean (pressure wash the sidewalk, driveways and siding). A few potted plants can go a long way, too. If you’re selling during the winter, be sure walkways are shovelled and salted.
4. Upgrade Fixtures and Hardware
Here again, the littlest things can make the biggest difference. For this reason, we recommend updating smaller items such as cabinet handles, drawer pulls and switch plates. Slightly more work (but worth the return) is replacing outdated light fixtures. While this renovation may require you to hire a professional, you can offset the cost by choosing modern, yet affordable fixtures.
5. Fix What’s Broke
This may require a larger investment, depending on what needs to be “fixed”. Bigger ticket renovations such as roof and siding replacements or plumbing and heating repairs are important to address as they’re sure to be noticed. Even if your home is in great shape otherwise, these types of problems can scare buyers off and decrease your home’s value.
6. Focus on the Kitchen and Bathrooms
Because buyers tend to concentrate on kitchens and bathrooms the most, you’ll want to give these areas extra attention. Of course, that’s not to say you need to do a major renovation and remodel. Small, inexpensive changes such as adding a tile backsplash, replacing the grout or painting the cupboards will make a big impact.
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Terry Paranych on
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