We’re the first to recommend improvements that help sell your home. But that doesn’t mean you should get too gung ho with upgrades. It’s very easy to end up wasting money instead of making it if you invest in the wrong types of improvements. Here we look at how you can avoid money wasting upgrades, and focus on the right mini improvements that translate into profits.
Pristine Finished Basement
We aren’t going to say a finished basement isn’t a real crowd pleaser. Especially in Toronto homes where the basements tend to be low ceilinged with horror show quality laundry rooms. But because of the low ceilings, you’re going to find refinishing that basement is a major investment. It’s so costly you’ll never come close to earning that money back. Instead, we’ll clean it up and make it presentable as a functional basement that stands out from the basements typical to downtown houses.
Crown moulding is like the ultimate finishing touch in a perfectly decorated home. But seriously if it’s not there no one is going to notice or even care. This is an expensive and time consuming job even if you do it yourself. If the buyers really want it that bad, they can install it before they move in!
Wallpaper can really make a major impact – but not always in a good way. It’s actually really on trend right now, but the problem with wallpaper is there’s just too many colours and styles. Choosing one that will have mass appeal is tough. Yes, you might have some buyers who find it drop dead gorgeous. However, you’re more likely to scare buyers away who envision themselves knee high in piles of peeled wallpaper, sweating from the heat of the steam gun.
Eco-Friendly Solar Panels
More and more buyers are looking for sustainable materials and environmentally-friendly renovations that appeal to their inner tree hugger. This is a very good thing! Unfortunately, solar panels are a big investment. If you install them, you’ll never reap the benefits, which is the main reason people install them in the first place. Homeowners see the savings over time which eventually translates into Ontario Hydro owing you money! Once you move out, you’re out of pocket for those panels. Also, a lot of buyers will be turned off by their lack of curb appeal.
Kitchen Faux Pas
Don’t jump the gun on shiny new countertops. Let us take a look to determine if they’ll be a sore point with buyers. While of course many buyers are looking for that natural stone sparkle, just as many view them as a very eco-unfriendly feature. As well, they are a high ticket item you’ll never get back ROI wise. So unless we’re talking eye sore level stains or damage, or you’ve renovated everything but the counters, so they stand out like a sore thumb, this is not something you necessarily have to invest in pre-sale. Another thing not worth your while is new appliances. They cost a fortune and you won’t see that money reflected in higher offers like you hope. That said, broken appliances will prove to be a no dice situation with buyers, so in this case replacing them, but not necessarily with high end appliances is probs best.
The Metal Roof
Metal roofs work on a lot of homes, but on many they kind of look too contrived. They are expensive so you won’t see the ROI you would like. If you have an undeniably leaky roof, this is worse, of course. We’re just saying if roof replacement is a necessity, go for the cheap and cheerful materials instead.
“You” Themed or Overly Trendy Improvements
We all like to think our homes are stunning, showing off our skills as interior design mavens with impeccable taste. However, the more “you themed” your décor the more likely it is it will lack mass appeal. In this case we’re calling out the overly bright paint colours, crazy quilts of scary carpet patterns, the wallpaper we’ve already mentioned, the brash bathroom tiles, or anything that lacks neutrality. Our goal is to create a seamless palette that allows people to appreciate the rooms you offer, without giving away the fact your favourite colour is electric blue. What we’ll do to make your home appear up to date, is use staging with on trend furnishings and décor items that up the ante on the “cosmetic” appeal of your home. Set against a neutral palette, you just can’t lose.
High Maintenance Yards
Most people are looking for low maintenance properties that won’t eat into their limited down time. If you want to makeover your curb appeal, or create an enticing outdoor living space in the back, think simple, easy care.
Under the Radar Renos
If you decided to DIY some renos not up to code or sans work permits in Toronto, it will bite you when it comes time to sell. Most buyers won’t bypass an inspection. Once those issues are spotted it could cost you big time. Either people will pass on the house, or will expect big discounts to cover the costs to redo everything to get it up to code. Even worse, if something happens post sale you could be on the hook financially for damages caused by those not to code upgrades due to leaks, structural issues, or electrical fires!
Everyone wants more storage, but it doesn’t have to be customized, built-in storage. This is a costly endeavour that will most likely impress, but not enough to up your offers. You won’t see the investment back at all. However, with some organizing skills, we can make your storage seem more generous with some tips on where investment might make sense.
Flooring is a major consideration for home buyers. If you decide to replace your floors, avoid carpeting at all costs. Even if your current carpeting is a mess, your best bet is to look at affordable, non-carpet options such as laminate, vinyl, or engineered hardwood. Investing in real hardwood when moving doesn’t make sense due to the cost, as despite its appeal you won’t see more than 70% to 80% ROI.
Energy Efficient Upgrades
Energy efficient upgrades such as new windows, a new HVAC system or insulation aren’t as tangible as other types of upgrades. Buyers might appreciate these upgrades once they move in, but in the buying process most people won’t be giving these things much thought. However, if windows are broken or leak, or your HVAC system doesn’t work, then you’ll have to consider replacements. Don’t worry, we’ll make a big deal about it, so people are more likely to see the value!
Taking a perfectly good bedroom and converting it into something else really has a negative effect on your home. People want extra bedrooms that they can either use for sleeping, or convert into something to their own liking. That fancy dressing room with built-in shoe carousels, or massive spa bathroom taking up half your upper floor is just not worth the money in the eyes of the average buyer. In most cases it might even turn people off.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let getting caught up in upgrades to increase the price of your home take away from the opportunity to sell now. The time it takes to complete major upgrades can keep you from finding your new dream home. Before you do anything, speak to our team so we can assess your home and advise you of the right upgrades to make – if any. We’ll make the most of your time and money, so you see the highest profits when you sell.
Do you want to work with the best real estate agents in Toronto? We have a kick ass team of experienced specialists ready to help you with all of your property needs. If you’re ready to sell your Toronto home, contact us or just give us a shout at 416-291-7372. We’d love to work with you!
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