It’s not unusual for homeowners to want to put their own stamp on their properties to either reflect their own tastes or needs for personal use, with changes to décor and even renovations. However, when the goal is ultimately about selling - and fetching - top dollar, the key is to determine how to get the most mileage for your home improvement dollar.
In the super-hot Toronto property market, where opportunity abounds, Sellers are well-served to explore every opportunity to realize the highest return on their investment. They need to ask themselves the following three questions:
1) What measurable, visible steps can I take to put the best version of my property forward?
2) What investments can I make to elevate my property's value?
3) If I'm financially limited to a set budget, what items should I zero in on to get the biggest return for my buck?
While we address and explore these answers with every client prior to selling, we've put together an essential list of 8 improvements and changes that can help your home stand out in the minds of buyers (and compel them to purchase) while increasing the value of your home and ramping up the return on your investment. Here they are:
The Kitchen Is The Heart Of Any Home
The kitchen is easily the heart of any home, because of its centrality, functionality and contribution to overall design feel as well as its utilitarian use; the same can be said for its potential impact on dollar value. So if you're going to pick one room to receive your attention, strictly based on the ability to give your asset value a boost, the kitchen is a good choice.
Depending on how old your kitchen is, consider updating appliances, cabinetry and countertops to reflect more contemporary styles. Kitchens, as a rule, need to be bright, spacious and inviting. Cabinetry, while responsible for a good deal of the potential price tag in a kitchen, will contribute heavily to the potential return on investment. This will go far in sending an overall message about the “worth” of your home to potential buyers. Using wood as opposed to laminate and extra touches like crown moulding and custom woodwork will go far to make your cabinets (and your kitchen) prominent and stand out from the competition, while upgrading the overall look and feel of this important area in your home.
Looking for a smaller job or a quick fix? Reface old cabinet doors and consider updating the hardware to a more sleek style, which can subtly deliver your kitchen into the most contemporary space. Update fixtures as well. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, many buyers will happily pay a premium for a look that they don’t have to invest time in themselves (a precious commodity in its own right). Gutting a kitchen sounds expensive and messy to a buyer- but walking into one that matches the picture in their mind’s eye? Priceless (or at least a higher asking price)!
The Master Bedroom: the Oasis
In our busy lives, we increasingly aspire to carving out a moment to escape and unwind in our own bedroom sanctuary. The Master Bedroom should serve as the physical space in which that removal from the grind towards transition to bliss should take place.
Think about creating a spa-like environment, and ensure it's reflected in the details. Pick calming colours for the walls and for the accents that envelope you without making you aware of them. Invest in quality linens, duvets and lots of pillows to showcase comfort. And pay attention to lighting, including recessed lighting and dimmer switches to alter the mood as you wish. Alter flat ceilings with detail if you can, like installing a tray ceiling which suggests height, space and calm. And include beautiful draperies and pillow accents to make the space indulgent. Note many of your investments will move with you, so pull out all the stops while investing in your own comfort.
If you have two washrooms or more, the Master Bath should be your first place of investment as an extension of the Master Bedroom sanctuary. It should include many of the same spa-like elements including the colours and the lighting. Even if you have just one washroom, this is a great place to invest your money. Remember, it isn't always about size as much as how well you communicate comfort.
Sure Buyers will unwind on sight seeing a soaker tub or a shower with upgraded features and multiple spray streams. But don’t forget the overall impact that flooring and accessories have in a bijou space. Keep your design cohesive, knowing plumbing fixtures in brushed nickel, antique copper and brass are not always super costly, but can create a more expensive look.
Upgrading these items send buyers quiet messages of value, as they will in other bathrooms in the house. Vanities should be sleek and practical, while promoting a sense of space. And make sure your toilets are current and in good repair.
Flooring, while often overlooked in favour of other upgrades is a key visual element. While not the direct focus in a space, the supporting role new flooring plays in style and in perceived asset value can be substantial.
In terms of materials, tile and natural materials like wood and stone will yield the biggest boost in return on investment. Carpet is not as popular as floors with natural materials right now, but replacing worn carpet will freshen and renew a room and create comfort and warmth. If budget is limited, we counsel our Sellers to refinish existing wood floors in a satin finish 'walnut' stain in the entertainment areas, and install new carpet in the bedrooms where Buyers are more inclined to accept its presence.
Your home, with new floors, looks well-cared for and clean, which can motivate buyers to consider your price.
Who’s not impressed with bells and whistles? One way to wow the potential buyers and to convince them to move to purchase your home is to mesh hi-tech gadgetry with design by installing flat screen monitors, surround sound systems, remote speakers, I-phone docking systems, Nest thermostats or even a more comprehensive computer system that allows you to operate - and observe - your property remotely. Without question, the advancements in technology are making these sorts of upgrades relevant to many Buyers’ busy lifestyles - which can set your home apart from the competition.
We don't think one can find any more wasted square footage than in a garage which is piled high with storage and odds and ends.
Invest time in cleaning out and organizing the garage, and make more prominent its positive attributes. Make buyers aware of the possibility for extra storage space, parking and/or shelter for outdoor items in off season. Invest shelving, and utilizes walls and ceiling storage, if possible, which will create the impression of space and organization. Men love their cars, and a garage can be regarded as a highly-coveted 'man cave'. Don't underestimate the value of presenting your garage in its best light.
More and more buyers are beginning to choose their housing (and the materials that go into building and decorating it) based on environmentally friendly criteria - both because of social belief, but also of the potential savings over time on energy.
Old doors and windows replaced with more energy efficient models, better at keeping cold out and heat in (and vice versa in the summer), are attractive to buyers who like to balance their sense of style with pragmatism. Other popular (and equally pragmatic) draws for potential buyers are energy efficient appliances, tank less hot water heaters or water saving plumbing fixtures. Buyers also appreciate the use of renewable materials, like bamboo floors, for instance.
Don’t Underestimate Curb Appeal
It is a well-known fact that it is very difficult to alter a first impression. Most potential buyers will have decided whether or not they will even consider your home before they’ve even crossed the threshold. Sadly, you can have the most spectacular interior with your home, but if the exterior does not do it justice, then the overall positive effect is diminished.
Make sure the exterior of your home is in good repair and that lawns and gardens are tended to. In the wintertime, make sure walkways are clear. Have your front door make a statement. Refinishing or repainting are both inexpensive methods to levy impact on entry.
Even if your home is a condominium property, “curb appeal” matters, especially if you are trying to have your unit stand out amongst others in a building. Make sure that your entryway is clear and clean. If you have an exterior entrance, make sure windows are clean and in good repair.
Whatever steps you take boost your property value, don’t forget about the subliminal messages that buyers will associate with a property's polish and pristine condition. Also, remember that your home is where you live - but it is also possibly one of your larger assets which makes gearing for top dollar through well-thought out improvements is a shrewd investment strategy.
At Urbaneer.com, we know housing inside and out- and that also includes how to guide sellers towards realizing top dollar for their properties. Through our innate connection with the ebbs and flow of the ever-changing Toronto property market, and over two-decades of skill, experience and knowledge, we're here to help leverage the potential of your home within the context and dynamics of today's market.
Are you thinking of selling? Because we're here to help!
Contact us by emailing email@example.com, or call 416-322-8000!
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~ Steven and the urbaneer team