Renovating...how, when & why
Some people love change, but from my experience, the majority of us love familiarity. There's no doubt that the older we get the faster time goes by and if we're not careful, we wake up one morning living in a home full of things and colours that went out of style a decade ago. It doesn't hit a lot of people until they start thinking about selling. With tightened lending rules, Buyers today often don't have the time or necessary financial resources to buy a home that needs a lot of updating. Homes that are updated will usually sell faster and command more money leaving the "dated" homes to sell at discount prices to Renovators.
If it hasn't changed for more than 20 years, there's a good possibility it should. That goes for the colours on your walls, the carpeting on your floor, your toilet...and your kitchen sink!
If you're wondering what improvements you should make to your home to increase its' value or make it sell faster, you're not alone. It's probably one of the most frequent questions I get when contacted by Sellers. Of course, every ones budget, abilities and time are different. Even if you're not planning on selling but rather just want to make good decisions as to where you should spend your home improvement dollars, you can never go wrong by picking one of the following improvement ideas.
Revive Your Walls, Trim & Ceilings: Todays latex paints, especially the more expensive ones, do a good job resisting fading, but over time you may find that your high traffic areas have taken a beating and really need to be freshened up. The majority of Buyers are also turned off by wallpaper...regardless how beautiful it is. Removing wallpaper and painting the room will pay dividends. When choosing colours for selling, the idea is to appeal to as many people as possible...so you can never go wrong if you stay in the neutral zone.
Beneath Your Feet: Nothing is more used or abused in your home than your floors. After thousands of washings, scrubbings or shampooings, flooring and carpeting can start showing severe signs of wear and sooner or later, it'll need to be refinished or replaced. When choosing flooring options, always choose the absolute best quality your budget will allow. Another thing you must consider is the price range your home is in. Laminate is fine for starter homes but seldom sits well in higher priced homes unless its the more expensive 16mm type. Lastly, if you have ceramic tiles. Very seldom are light coloured tiles laid with dark grout..so if your grout is dark, chances are it's a build up of dirt and grime. A good scrub brush, bucket of bleach, soap & water plus a little elbow grease may uncover lighter, brighter grout lines giving your tile floors a beautiful, fresh look.
Flipping the Switch: Every room in your home has a purpose and it's own specific lighting needs. It's not unusual to see a kitchen with several lighting features such as pendant, undercounter and pot lights all working together to create as much or as little light as needed. Lights are often greatly overlooked by Homeowners, but a Buyers' attention is often drawn to unique and beautiful light fixtures. Take stock of your lights. Unlike flooring that has to withstand a lot of use, you don't have to buy the absolute best quality you can afford for lights. Choose fixtures that are in proportion to the room and compliment your decor. Decorator light switches and wall sockets will also add a beautiful sleek look.
Love at the Curb: Many a home is sold before the Buyers even walk in the front door. Not all homes are calendar material, but well cared for lawns, hedges and shrubs accented by flower beds that are nicely maintained are a great selling point. If you're planning on selling, take stock of your landscape. Remove overgrowth on shrubs and hedges, edge around your flower beds and remove vines that are growing over your windows and roof. A well maintained home on the outside usually indicates a well maintained home on the inside as well!
Kitchen Plus: The kitchen is definitely the room of the decade. Even Buyers who live on take-out food gravitate to a beautiful kitchen and kitchen makeovers do bring one of the highest returns on investment. Custom cabinetry and expensive countertops look beautiful, but once again, you have to consider the price range of your home and the real value a new kitchen will add. If you're going to live in the home for the next 10 years, spending a huge amount of money on a new kitchen may be worth it to you, but if you're doing a renovation to sell, shop for the best bang for your buck. Trendy backsplashes, new hardware/fixtures and a sleek new counter can be an much cheaper update.
Private Relaxation: You may love your neighbors, but chances are a Buyer won't be feeling the love and will be calculating the price of building a privacy fence when they're viewing your home. We're in a "Back Yard" era right now and any improvements to the outdoor living space will pay huge dividends. Fences, decks and patios where people can relax and entertain are a big plus. The last couple years has also seen a huge move to outdoor cooking spaces and a variety of water features and outdoor living space heating options.
Main Floor Bonus: There are two rooms that people love to have on the main floor of a house. The laundry room and a bathroom. Check to see if you can re-purpose space such as a pantry, closet or enclosed porch.
Soak in Luxury: Yes...second to the big push on Kitchens, is the big love for Bathrooms and "spa-like" is the word of the day. Body spray showers, sleek toilets, deep soaker tubs, marble, glass, heated floors, stylish vanities.....the sky's the limit with a great return on your investment.
The Essentials: High efficiency furnances, new central air units, and minimum of 100 amps on Breakers with grounded wire and a good roof are huge selling features.