Should you Renovate before Selling?

If you’re considering selling your house, it’s important to make sure you’re able to get as much money out of it as possible. What better way to do that than by making some positive alterations to your home? We’ve compiled a list of some renovation must and must nots to consider before hammering that ‘for sale’ sign into your lawn.

Renovations that Add Value

There are a few renovations that every homeowner should look into, regardless of where they live and how much they’re hoping to sell their house for.

Start with the carpets. If they’re old, outdated, or just plain visually unappealing in the house, get rid of them. Don’t bother putting in new carpets either; most prospective buyers would prefer hardwood or laminate floors as they’re easier to clean, look classy in every home, and don’t trap in dust, dirt, and stains like wall to wall carpets tend to. You can always use throw rugs to add warmth and atmosphere to the house without forcing future buyers to commit to having them in the home permanently. Any existing wood floors should be restored so they look as new and clean as you can make them.

You should also make sure the exterior house looks as fresh and up to snuff as possible. Often a simple coat of paint will do the job, but even little things like getting new window frames or shutters and a new mailbox can do wonders.

On that note, you should give every room in the house a fresh coat of paint, and go over any colours that might be unappealing for potential buyers with something homey and neutral (so if the colour of your wall sounds like it could double as a MAC lipstick shade, you should probably change it). Avoid all-white walls because they make the home feel sterile and impersonal.

The kitchen is easily the most important and lived-in room in the house and often the central hub for families. Most buyers will reject a home they otherwise quite like if they’re not happy with the kitchen. It’s worth spending a little bit more money to make it as appealing as possible. Make sure all of the appliances work, that everything looks (and is) clean and organized, and that it’s easy for anyone to envision themselves comfortably using the space.

Take a special look at lighting fixtures and consider replacing or upgrading any that make the space look dated (or are simply unattractive or off-putting). Go through your house and fix any obvious things (i.e. replacing old dirty/cracked wall outlets, puttying over holes or marks on the walls, replacing door or kitchen cabinet handles etc). Lastly, don’t forget to clean clean clean. You want your house to be absolutely spotless.

Renovations that Don’t add Value

It’s equally as important to make sure you avoid any renovations that will do nothing to increase the sale value of your house (while still costing you an arm and a leg); if you’re going to put the money in, you want the pay off.

You may think that adding things like swimming pools and going through extensive landscaping may make the property more visually appealing (and therefore more likely to sell) but you would be very, very wrong.

On top of being ridiculously expensive and time consuming to maintain, swimming pools are a safety nightmare. Many families with young children will turn down houses that they love otherwise because it comes with a swimming pool. If you already have a pool, you might consider looking into having it filled before selling.

While extensive landscaping may not present the same safety hazard as a pool, it does share one major issue in common with it – high cost of upkeep. A beautiful garden may add to curb appeal, but if the time, money, and energy that go into maintaining it is too much, you risk turning off potential buyers.

Make sure that any high end upgrades you add to your home are consistent with the look and feel of the rest of the house and that you don’t overwhelm people with decor that’s too stylized/to your own personal taste as it can be a turn off for buyers.

Beware the cost of invisible upgrades! While things like a new furnace or plumbing system might look good on paper, potential buyers won’t really factor them in to the price they’re willing to pay. Obviously, make sure your house can pass a home inspection, but don’t expect to recoup much of the cost of the new HVAC system you just had installed.

Another key point to keep in mind is making sure all of your renovations are in line with the rest of the street. That is to say, don’t price yourself out of the neighbourhood. Sure, adding an extension to the house and outfitting all of the counters with real marble is nice, but not if it means that the value of your house is suddenly significantly more than the rest of the neighbourhood. No one’s going to pay for a $400,000 house in a $250,000 neighbourhood.