Friday, 15 March 2013

Is your reno really an investment?

What the three interviewed realtors agreed on: You only get one
chance to make a great first impression and it starts at the curb!  
Should we renovate the kitchen, install a hot tub or repaint the whole house? These are typical questions for anybody planning to sell their home. And while some updates clearly give a good return on the investment, far from all renos do. In some cases, they can even reduce the value of your home!

To know which updates are worthwhile from a resale perspective, and which ones aren't, I asked three local real estate agents for their input. Here are their respective lists of DOs and DON'Ts:



Jacqueline Liddle, Sales Rep., Remax Legend Real Estate

1) Any upgrades to a kitchen. If you can't redo the entire kitchen, or the cupboards are still in good shape, I would suggest updating the countertop.

2) New Windows. If your windows are 20+ years I recommend replacing them. Buyers see this as a big cost moving into a home if they know the windows need to be replaced within 5 years. New windows increase the insulative value of your home which also shows better heating costs on your utility bills to potential buyers.

3) Curb Appeal. Most Buyers search mls for listings, then call their realtor to set up a showing after they have done a drive-by of the home. You want to make sure that after the drive-by, they pick up the phone and call their realtor to book a viewing.

Interlocking brick driveway. It is difficult to get the value back when you are comparing your property to another down the street and yours is at a higher price because of the interlocking brick driveway.

Pamela Baril,  Broker, Century 21 

1) New front doors and garage doors are a great investment in curb appeal.

2) Kitchen, the heart of the home. If you don't like it, potential buyers probably won't either. Prices have come down considerably so replace the cabinets or reface if necessary.

3) Bathrooms. Moms don't want to put their babies in a spotty old tub! Acrylic tubs or covers for the existing tub are great options. Toilets are relatively inexpensive as are trendy new vanities and mirrors.

Pools and hot tubs are very personal amenities that appeal to some but, not to others. They are also costly to upkeep and can bump up the hydro bill.



Lenka Eberhardt, Sales Rep., Royal LePage North Bay Real Estate

1) Update lighting fixtures.

2) Update kitchen and bathrooms. You may not have to do a total remodel. Sometimes just replacing an outdated vanity or old appliances with shiny new ones will do the trick. Stick to neutral colors (white fixtures for bathrooms). Keep the color scheme light and neutral.

3) Exterior elements: a thick, green lawn, repair heaving walkways and steps and an updated front door are sure ways to increase your home's bottom line.

1) Luxuries such as swimming pools and saunas do not add value.

2) New windows do not add much to resale value unless they are broken. Clean them up and make sure they are working properly.

3) Laying new flooring such as expensive hardwoods and marble will not get you more money on resale.

4) Central air conditioning is considered a luxury item. While it’s nice to have, it won't affect your bottom line.

And what can somebody on a tight budget do? More about that in a future post! In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you have done to increase the resale value of your home. Share your stories in the comments field!


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