So, you’re thinking about selling your home and your realtor suggests a price lower than you anticipated. Now what? Knowing what renovation will help you optimize the true value of your home, how much to spend to maximize your return on investment, and how much time will it take to complete your renovation are all important points to consider.
Homebuilder Association Vancouver (HAVAN) member Erik Jensen, owner of Sprucehill Contracting Inc., and 2019 Ovation Awards nominee for Residential Renovator of the Year (winner to be announced May 4, 2019) lists his top five renovations, from least expensive to most difficult.
Paint everything! Doors, mouldings, walls, and DON’T leave out the inside of your closets. Those curious potential home buyers will be opening your freshly painted closet doors and if they see all sorts of scuffs and marks on the inside of the wall, it will tell them you just did the minimum amount of work, which will beg the question “What are they hiding?” The return on investment for painting is typically well over two to one.
Colour palette: Revere pewter (warm grey) seems to always be a hit for wall colour with cloud white or oxford white for trims, closets, and ceilings. Stay away from colours or ideas that too strong or bold.
Before you paint, consider replacing damaged mouldings. It won’t cost a fortune and can give your home the ‘lift’ it might need, if there have been children and pets in the home – specifically in the heavy traffic areas. It will create the appearance of having worked hard to keep your home in pristine condition. If you opt to replace all mouldings, consider trims and doors that are simple, such as two panel shaker doors with levers. (Pro tip: use round rosettes as square rosettes always end up looking crooked). The return on investment for mouldings is typically around two to one.
If your fixtures are dated or the room is just run down, consider a bathroom renovation. The least expensive renovation is a simple “re and re” where you just replace vanities, sinks, faucets, tubs, and toilets, leaving the bathroom fixtures in their current location. If you do go this route, consider neutral finishes. Anything bold will only serve to limit your potential buyers.
Flooring has the capability of transforming the look and feel of a home – to create that wow factor! If your hardwood, tile or laminate is dated or in rough shape, new flooring can help make your home feel more expansive, warm and welcoming. Replacing floors is however a far more disruptive renovation, and will almost always involve painting and mouldings, as noted above.
By far the most expensive of the top five recommendations, a kitchen renovation can significantly increase the value of your home. It also means you’ll likely need to move out, as living through a kitchen renovation is not an experience recommended by anyone who has tried before! That said, replacing your cabinets, counters, and backsplash is a less expensive and invasive renovation option, and will do a lot to make your home more appealing and saleable.
Plan in advance! If you plan to move walls to open the kitchen living area for example, consider a ‘surgical demolition’ first, to discover hidden structural issues including plumbing pipes or electrical wires. If the cost to move the plumbing, electrical or HVAC is out of the budget range, it will be easier and less costly to repair a small area of drywall than the alternative option of a massive budget overage, once you have already committed to a full renovation.
Regardless of what renovation you decide to undertake, we always recommend working with professionals. Professional renovators and contractors will bring resources to your project including experience with local municipalities and building permits, current knowledge on the latest building materials, access to skilled trades, with potential trade discounts for purchasing materials to complete your project – noting many renovators work with designers who can help guide you on material selections to find the best value for money, without sacrificing the look of the overall renovation. A seasoned professional will be able to present the options and help you to decide what renovation will bring you the most return on your money, within your budget and time frame.
Hiring the right people to complete the work is as important as the planning, to result in a positive experience.