Toronto: If you’ve ever binge-watched a real estate reality show, you’ll understand how satisfying a before-and-after home reveal can be. These shows renovate, reconstruct, and redesign houses with large teams and large budgets in order to increase their resale value. It’s entertaining television, but if you’re a typical homeowner, it’s probably irrelevant to your experience.
Fortunately, increasing the value of your home does not require a lot of money or knowledge. Little changes can make a big difference if you know what to prioritise.
First, complete your homework.
If you’re not sure where to begin, look for properties that are under contract in your neighbourhood. Keep track of the number of days a house has been on the market and which ones have sold the quickest. Take a look at the photos of the properties. What are the parallels and differences? What changes to your home could you make to replicate the success stories?
This is a process that a client goes through every time he is about to flip a property in a specific neighbourhood. He looks at properties that sold for more than the asking price, had the shortest days on market, or had multiple offers, and then tries to identify and recreate the common characteristics in the listings.
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Here are nine cost-effective home improvements that will help you make the most of any budget.
On a Tight Budget
1. Replace the kitchen backsplash
Even if you don’t make any other changes, a colorful tile or a unique design makes the entire kitchen look more polished.
2. Refinish the dark wood
Many homes built in the 1980s and 1990s had medium-to dark-brown wood cabinets and trim, which now appear dated. Simply whitewash the wood and replace old cabinet handles, hinges, and knobs for an instant brighter, more modern look.
3. Install new baseboards
New baseboards give a home a subtle but powerful facelift. I’ve discovered that if you show buyers a house with new baseboards and a comparable house with old baseboards, they will perceive the first home as newer and more valuable, even if they don’t know why.
4. Purchase high-quality lighting fixtures
One of the best ways to spend several hundred dollars is to replace all of your home’s light fixtures—or, if you’re on a tight budget, invest in at least one high-end dining or living room fixture. It’s difficult to believe, but premium light fixtures have a significant impact on offer prices.
5. Change the window coverings
If your windows have blinds, leave them alone; if they have old curtains, replace them with new window treatments. New curtains are inexpensive and instantly brighten up a room.
6. Beautify your outdoor space
When selling a home, curb appeal is critical. Make small changes, such as planting bright flowers, or larger investments, such as replacing the lawn. Due to pandemic restrictions, buyers frequently have to wait outside for their turn to view a property, so creating a comfortable sitting area in the yard — even a couple of inexpensive deck chairs — can make a good first impression.
7. Take new photographs of yourself
If you’re working with a realtor and your home hasn’t sold or received an offer in more than 30 days on the market, inform your agent that you want to rearrange the furniture and take new photos of the property. Many times, when you list a house, you will take photos and leave them up for the duration of the listing, even if it is not moving. It’s worth a few hundred dollars to hire a stager to rearrange the furniture and a photographer to take new photos. Replace the first photo on the MLS with a new interior shot, and you will almost certainly generate new interest because it appears to be a new listing.
8. Add more bedrooms
When you live in a house, it’s natural to want to make more space, such as by knocking down walls to make rooms larger. However, in terms of resale value, adding more bedrooms is usually a better strategy. Consider converting an extra-large room or an office in a 1500-square-foot house into an additional bedroom. Even if the bedrooms are smaller as a result, the value of your home will most likely increase. The appraiser will calculate the value based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the square footage.
9. Include a second unit if possible
If you own a single-family home with an additional dwelling unit (ADU), or if the zoning in your neighbourhood allows you to build one, this will be extremely appealing to buyers. Ascertain that the ADU has its own entrance so that a buyer can rent it out to long-term tenants as a source of income. If you have an ADU in your basement, for example, add a separate exterior door that does not go through the main house.
To increase the value of your home, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or have any specialized knowledge. Invest in minor improvements to make a big impression on potential buyers.
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