Smart Renovations

Smart Renovations: Improvements that Pay

You May be thinking about renovating your kitchen, adding an addition to your home, or landscaping your yard. If you are renovating your house with an eye to increasing resale value, you may want to focus your dollars on projects that will give you the best return.

The Kitchen

Kitchen renovations usually offer the best return of any major improvement. You need to make sure you’re keeping your update in line with the rest of the house and with other homes in the neighbourhood. If you put a $50,000 kitchen renovation into a $200,000 home you will not have much chance of recouping your costs.

If you don’t have enough money to do a full renovation, or if you think the renovation will price your home above the market, you could do a less expensive facelift. With some new hardware, freshly painted cabinets, new countertops, or perhaps new appliances you could greatly improve the overall impression of your kitchen and greatly improve both the resale value of your home and your own appreciation of the space.

The Bathroom

Buyers like bathrooms that are up to date and stylish. Even thought they are one of the most expensive renos you can do (second only to kitchens) updating an existing bathroom or adding a new one can really boost the value of your home. If your home only has one bathroom, adding a second one is always a good idea.

The Basement

Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home tremendously. Adding living space almost always pays for itself.


A well constructed addition usually offers a good return at resale. Improvements that increase functional space (rather than just making your home look better) will offer more long term value.

Hardwood Floors

Wood floors are elegant, durable, and easy to keep clean, and are something most buyers look for in a home. Buyers with allergies also prefer homes with hardwood flooring. Stick with light or medium wood colors as darker woods look more formal, and dirt and dust shows up much better on them. It is a pricy update, but you can usually recoup a good portion of what you pay for the wood floors when you sell.

New Paint (interior and exterior)

Painting your home is inexpensive, easy, and is one of the few investments that will likely help you make a better profit on your home. Stay away from intense or unusual colors that won’t appeal to most buyers. Tasteful, current, neutral colors are the best choice. If you are painting the outside of your home keep the colors in line with the other homes on your street.

A New Deck

An attractive new deck will always add to the perceived value of your home, and will help your home to sell more quickly.

General Improvements and Upkeep

These improvements may seem boring, but over all maintenance, and fixing the small stuff, help to maintain the value of your home. Before you spend money putting in a new Jacuzzi tub, make sure the structural and mechanical fixes take priority….like roof repairs, fixing a leaky basement, repairing doors that stick or won’t close properly, and dripping faucets etc… The Jacuzzi tub isn’t going to impress anyone if the roof leaks!

Improvements That Don’t Pay

There are some improvements that simply don’t provide a good return on your investment.

An above ground or “in ground” swimming pool

Most buyers don’t want the maintenance and responsibility that goes with having a pool. Installing one can actually detract from the value of your home.

Replacing the Heating System/chimney repairs

This just eventually has to be done and will not likely get you your money back at resale.

Replacing windows and doors

If they are old and drafty or not functioning well, you will have to replace them. It is an expensive repair that you won’t likely see reflected in your sale price.

Remember Quality Counts

Don’t try to cut corners just to save money when you are doing your house improvements. A poorly done renovation will detract from the value of your home….especially if the buyer’s decide they need to re-do it!

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