When it comes to home renovations, one plus one does not necessarily equal two. The money invested in improving your home will not always translate into an equivalent return in the selling price of your home. However, with planning it is possible to both increase the salability of your home and even profit from your home renovations.
Renovations do not have to be extensive or expensive to earn a high rate of return. In fact, one of the cheapest and simplest improvements yields one of the highest paybacks. According to a study (1999 Renovations and Home Value Survey) by the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), a fresh coat of paint on interior walls returns an average 73 percent payback. So, a $1,500 paintjob could be expected to increase a home's selling price by $2,625 (a $1,125 profit).
To maximize salability ensure that your new décor is modern and tasteful. Choose shades of white and tame versions of popular colours. Steer away from too many personal touches and custom work if you plan to re-sell. It is unlikely that your investment will be recouped and it may prevent the quick sale of your home. Also, try to keep renovations in harmony with the fashion of your neighbourhood.
The kitchen and bathroom are key areas to focus your renovation attentions. With average paybacks of 72 and 68 percent respectively, new fixtures, cabinets and tiles could be well worth the money and/or time and effort. The AIC's study highlighted the top ten renovations and the average rate of return:
Interior painting and décor - 73%
Kitchen renovation - 72%
Bathroom renovation - 68%
Exterior paint - 65%
Flooring upgrades - 62%
Window/door replacement - 57%
Main floor family room addition - 51%
Fireplace addition - 50%
Basement renovation - 49%
Furnace/heating system replacement - 48%
According to another study (Prepare to Sell by HomeGain.com in California) smaller changes to a home can also reap hefty rewards. Any addition that brightens your home (such as new light fixtures) should be returned in the selling price by an average 84% of the cost of the renovation.
As an expert on home sales trends in your neighbourhood, your real estate Professional can suggest which areas of your home could benefit from renovation and increase its value and salability.
What are cost-effective ways to make my home more appealing to buyers?
According to a recent Royal LePage House Staging Poll, the attitudes of Canadians toward the currency of their homes’ décor differ from industry experts. Most agree, however, that house staging – preparing a house for sale using cost-effective and non-invasive methods – is part of their selling and buying criteria.
The following list of house staging tips were provided by Timothy Badgley, Interior Designer and Owner of Acanthus Interiors:
Keep it clean
Look at your home as though you're seeing it for the first time. Is every room neat, spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered? Steam clean carpets and wax floors. Wash walls, heating and A/C vents and light fixtures. Pay special attention to your bathroom and kitchen - make sure that tile grout is mildew free and baseboards scrubbed. Clean the refrigerator and stove as well as the washer and dryer (inside and out).
Lose the clutter
Have a yard sale or take old furniture, clothing and knick-knacks to Goodwill. Organize shelves, put away items and purge your home of unnecessary items. Make sure that your kitchen and bathroom counters are free of small appliances and personal effects.
De-personalize your home
Make your home "anonymous,” so that buyers can envision it as their potential home. Put away any family photos, sports trophies, collectibles, knick-knacks and souvenirs. This will also help to remove clutter and create more space.
Adding a fresh coat of paint and laying new carpet will clean and brighten up your home. Choose neutral colours and make it consistent throughout the home. If you choose to wallpaper, make sure that the paper is properly applied, your colour choice is neutral and patterns are kept to a minimum.
First impressions count
Like a first date or job interview, the first impression of your home is the most important. Walking into a home with fingerprinted screen door windows or cluttered entranceways, can influence the potential homebuyer's decisions. Likewise, strong odours can ruin a sale, so pay close attention to pet, cooking and cigarette smells in your home. Light delicately scented candles or have cookies baking when showing.
Homebuyers decide whether or not to look inside a house by the appearance of your home's exterior. Paint or wash the outside of your home. Check your gutters and chimney and make necessary repairs. Keep your lawns trimmed and flower beds weeded. Use urns to define walk spaces and ensure that window boxes are full of healthy all-season plants.
Create the illusion of space
To make your home seem more spacious, it is key to de-clutter and re-organize. Start by removing excess furniture to make rooms feel more open and replacing any items that are not appropriately sized for the room. Clean and organize your closets and remove excess clutter from all areas of your home. Strategically placed mirrors can also help to create the illusion of more space.
Ensure that the décor of your home is modern and tasteful. Use neutral tones on your walls and floors and add colour with removable items such as throw pillows or bedding. Steer away from too many personal touches to create a minimalist and contemporary space.
"Love me, love my pets," doesn't apply when selling your home. Take your pets with you when your house is being shown, or at least keep them outside. Pets under foot will quickly put a damper on an otherwise positive showing. While making sure that your house is odour-free and spotless applies to everyone, pet owners need to take special care.
Beautify your backyard
Don't forget about your backyard. A house showing doesn't always end at the backdoor. Beyond size and layout, potential buyers can also be influenced by the state of your yard. Keep the lawn, hedges and flowerbeds manicured. Buy exterior storage containers to hide gardening tools, kids toys and pool supplies. Lastly, interested buyers may decide to look inside your shed, so make sure that it is organized and clean.