Due to my keen hearing and pathological interest in the other people who work in my office, I discovered that one of my co-workers has purchased an old beat-up home in their neighbourhood which they are fixing up to resell.
This is not just a fresh coat of paint and a swipe at the front yard then selling it for a premium, the walls have been stripped back to the studs, there is new mechanical and insulation, an open feel and landscaped property. They are now in the process of getting the new property staged for selling — and it promises to go fast (an updated heritage property in a good neighbourhood? Catnip for buyers).
But what if you just want to get your home ready to sell? Sure you know enough to clear out the family photos and personal chatchkes, but what are the best investments to get your place sold fast?
According to Style at Home, these are the top 10 ideas to get the most bling for your buck.
A state-of-the-art kitchen is one of the most popular renovations for earning back most, if not all, of its investment. Even if you don’t fully gut and renovate, certain upgrades –granite counters, hardwood or high-end tile floors, premium appliances (especially stainless steel), islands and undermount sinks — attract attention and can increase value.
2 Hardwood floors
Especially on the main floor, hardwood is perennially popular with buyers. If your floors are refinished but worn, have them lightly sanded and resealed. If they’re very beaten up consider replacing them.
3 Premium broadloom
Broadloom is popular too (especially for bedrooms), but only if in top condition. If it’s worn, soiled or out of fashion, replace it with something more contemporary. Neutral, lightly textured weaves such as wool “sisal” are fashionable right now.
4 Master ensuite
If your ensuite is a bit tired, it’s worth upgrading, especially if you can afford a few luxuries such as a whirlpool or air jet tub, separate shower with a rainshower head, double sinks and/or heated floors. If you don’t have an ensuite, perhaps you can install one by stealing space from the master bedroomor a room next to it.
5 Radiator covers
It’s a simple carpentry job, but makes almost any older home seem more gracious.
6 Upgraded lighting
Old-fashioned “can” track lighting can be easily replaced with more contemporary styles such as smaller cans or halogen track lights. Replace dingy overhead lighting with chandeliers (vintage or modern), or install them in rooms that don’t have any.
7 A finished basement
After kitchens and bathrooms, a stylishly finished basement is high on many buyers’ wish lists. If the ceiling is low and you can afford the investment, consider digging down to increase ceiling height. If you can’t, levelling the floor and installing broadloom will help make it more comfortable.
A well-maintained garden with attractive plantings, hardscaping such as brick or flagstone, and features such as urns or paths, add an elegant look to even a smaller home.
9 Front porch
Two or three decades ago, tearing off front porches became fashionable in some Canadian cities, but now they’re back in a big way. If you can, add a full front porch (or replace/repair the one you have if it isn’t in top condition); if not, a portico (a smaller porch that shelters the front door) can be a worthy substitute. Or add a deck in the back.
10 Adding a bedroom
A four-bedroom house will command a higher price than a three-bedroom, even if they’re both the same size. Consider dividing a large bedroom into two small ones (as long as they’re not too small, or it can have the opposite effect), or alternatively, consider converting an upstairs den or sitting room.
Ready for more ideas? According to Forbes, these are the best ideas to give you a superior return on your investment.
1 Entry Door Replacement (Steel), Average Job Cost: $1,218 Average Resale Value: $1,243 Cost Recouped: 102%
2 Mid-Range Garage Door Replacement, Average Job Cost: $1,291 Average Resale Value: $1,083 Cost Recouped: 84%
3 Fiber-Cement Siding Replacement, Average Job Cost: $13,382 Average Resale Value: $10,707 Cost Recouped: 80%
4 Minor Kitchen Remodeling, Average Job Cost: $21,695 Average Resale Value: $15,790 Cost Recouped: 73%
5 Wood Deck Addition, Average Job Cost: $10,973 Average Resale Value: $7,986 Cost Recouped: 73%
6 Vinyl or Foam-Backed Vinyl Siding Replacement, Average Job Cost: $11,357 / 13,973 Average Resale Value: $8,223 10,119 Cost Recouped: 72%
7 Mid-Range Wood Window Replacement, Average Job Cost: $12,027 Average Resale Value: $8,707 Cost Recouped: 72%
8 Attic Bedroom Addition, Average Job Cost: $51,428 Average Resale Value: $37,142 Cost Recouped: 72%
9 Mid-Range Vinyl Window Replacement, Average Job Cost: $11,066 Average Resale Value: $7,920 Cost Recouped: 72%
10 Basement Remodel, Average Job Cost: $64,519 Average Resale Value: $45,186 Cost Recouped: 70%
And according to Bankrate, these are the best investments to get the most money when you resell;
Top 5 ‘good payback’ projects. According to the NAR/Remodeling magazine’s 2005 Cost vs. Value report, the projects that will pay back the most at resale are:
5 projects to boost home value
1. Upscale siding (new fiber cement) replacement
2. Midrange bathroom remodel
3. Minor kitchen remodel
4. Midrange siding replacement
5. Attic bedroom remodel
The thing we learned when we sold our condo last year is this: when you sell your place your competitors are not the other 20-year-old condos in your neighbourhood — they are the top-of-the-line modern suites with the latest conveniences and features. Anything you can do to get your place sold is a good idea.