When it comes time to sell a home, one question is on everyone’s mind:
“How do I increase the value of my property to get the best possible deal?”
In my 10+ years as a Toronto real estate agent, this has probably been the #1 question clients have asked me. Almost everyone wants to get the best price possible for their home. And most often, the answer has as much to do with how you invest in your home as how you market it.
As a Toronto real estate agent, I’ve found that the following 5 improvements tend to increase the value of your home the most. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point for someone looking to renovate their home and land for a reasonable price.
The most obvious place to start is to renovate the inside of your home. Many people think of interior renovations as costly and/or time consuming, but that’s not always the case. The following renovations can be done relatively quickly, without hiring a contractor:
Upgrading bathroom appliances (this can be a *HUGE* ROI-booster).
Adding energy-efficient fixtures, such as ceiling fans.
Any upgrade to the kitchen, including new countertops, backsplash & lighting.
You wouldn’t believe how far a little landscaping can go. The difference between a well-maintained lawn and an unkempt one is like night and day. The ultimate impact of a little basic landscaping can have an impact of several thousand dollars on the final sale price, and this is work that (by and large, depending on the size of the property) only takes a few hours.
Some basic maintenance tasks you can do on your home include:
Cutting down unwanted/unsightly bushes.
Planting new trees to create shade.
Adding aesthetically pleasing features such as a flower garden or backyard waterfall and stream.
Really, the sky is the limit here. As a Toronto real estate agent, I’ve found that homeowners who own plots of land can benefit massively from a little landscaping. In my career, I’ve found that many Etobicoke homes, for example, come with ample amounts of yard space ripe for landscaping. But, if you’re a condo owner or have little land to develop, fear not. There are plenty of extra steps you can take to increase the value of your home.
Keep it well-maintained.
Home maintenance means keeping the systems in your home (electrical, plumbing, roofing, insulation, etc) running smoothly. A lot of people confuse maintenance with renovation–and in truth, the line separating them is never 100% clear. But I generally like to think of maintenance work as upkeep, and mainly functional; while renovations are are more like upgrades, and may be as much about aesthetics as functionality.
Basic maintenance tasks you can ‘DIY’ for very little cost include:
Basic plumbing (e.g. cleaning out drains with a snake).
Sealing roof leaks near vents, chimneys, etc.
Cleaning the fireplace.
Ensuring that all safety equipment (such as smoke detectors, C02 detectors, fire extinguishers) are working.
Sealing drafty windows and doors.
Checking your basement for dampness (install a dehumidifier if needed).
In keeping with the spirit of this article, I’ve listed a number of low cost renovations and maintenance tasks you can do yourself. But if you don’t mind spending a little money, you can go even further by hiring a roofer or electrician to really ensure your home is in tip top shape.
Save on energy, gain on resale price.
Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days. And is it any wonder? With electricity prices on the rise and climate change a major concern all over the world, there’s really no reason not to go green. The fact that it can increase your home’s resale price is just a great bonus, really.
Some basic green energy steps you can take include:
Installing new heating and air conditioning systems.
Add new insulation.
Replace aluminium window frames with vinyl frames.
Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace.
Switch from incandescent to fluorescent lights.
Add solar panels (this can qualify you for an Ontario government subsidy).
To this day, relatively few Toronto homes are truly energy efficient. While solar panels are not yet at a level where they generate a natural profit for Ontario homeowners, anticipated increases in the cost of electricity may change this; and, of course, you qualify for a generous Ontario subsidy if you install them.
A fresh coat of paint (neutral colors preferred).
Last but not least, the mother of all low cost renovations has got to be a fresh coat of paint. Virtually anyone can learn to paint, the cost of equipment is under $200 for an entire home, and this simple improvement can improve the resale value of your home. Studies have shown that neutral colors tend to be best for showing your home to prospective buyers, so if you have any purple bedrooms in your home, now is the time to replace them with a nice white or taupe.
The bottom line is this:
It doesn’t cost a fortune to increase the resale value of your home. There are dozens of low cost renovations you can undertake as DIY projects, and many more that can be done affordably with the help of a contractor. In more than 10 years selling Toronto and Etobicoke homes, I have seen so many homeowners get a better value for their home just by doing some simple, low cost renovations. Most of the ones listed in this article cost less than $200 to do, and yet can have a big impact on your ability to sell your home at a premium price.