Sep 22 2014

Renovating before Selling

Posted in: Home Staging Tips, Real Estate, Renovation

It is the usual story. Your home gets renovated just how you have always wanted it to look and then you sell it! Sometimes, making those improvements to your home could actually turn off potential buyers.

Here are 10 tips for home improvements that can make or break your house sale.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 2.52.58 PM1. Kitchen Renovations. We all have different tastes when it comes to kitchen design. But a renovation of a kitchen that is too taste-specific or extreme in design can be a turn off. Update your existing kitchen in a way that allows a new owner to add their touch. Getting existing cupboards painted and putting on new handles can be cost effective. Ultimately you want to appeal to the broadest range of buyers when selling a home, and if a buyer thinks they need to spend money re-doing what you’ve done, they will offer less. 

2. Bathroom Renovations. The same can be said for bathroom renovations. Any design that is over the top could detract from the value of the home. A fresh coat of paint will do wonders in the bathroom, as will new grout in tiled showers. Go for a clean and fresh look. If the bathroom is really outdated then talk to your real estate agent about their advice before you do a complete makeover. But please, get rid of the old shower curtain!

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 8.16.55 PM3. Painting. Painting the walls is a great way to freshen up a space prior to putting your home on the market, but painting with bold colours such as red, orange, purple or even black is a sure way to turn off a potential buyer. Buyers want to feel like they can move right in and not have to re-paint the walls to match their own tastes and their existing furniture.  A neutral color palette throughout your home will enable your potential buyers to place their furniture. If they want to go mad with bold colours when they move in – they can – and it will be easier to paint over light walls than dark! The same goes for painting the exterior of the home – Please! No bright blues, yellows or greens! 

4. Water Features. Having an in-ground pool or pond will raise questions, as buyers may perceive these as extra maintenance expenses they don’t want to incur. Also, buyers with small children may be fearful of these as well. Make sure your pool has compliant fencing and check any possible defects that may cause leaks. Clean the pool and surrounds to make it an enticing feature of your home.  

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5. Room conversion. Taking valuable square footage in a house and using it for a specific, personalized purpose can make the house harder to sell and/or detract from its value, for example, turning a garage into a gym. Most buyers would see this as wasted space. Parking is usually important to buyers so dismantle the gym and put it in storage while your house is on the market. The great price achieved for your house will help pay your gym fees!

6. Redecorating. Redecorating in a highly taste-specific style, country clutter or extremely modern can turn-off potential buyers. When selling your home, you want to appeal to the broadest range of buyers, so it’s important that the furniture and décor is neutral and broadly appealing. If your home style is ‘eclectic’ then maybe consider putting your furniture in storage and home stage your home. A move that will prove to be an investment.  

7. DIY Home Repairs. More commonly known as DIY Home nightmares! While needed repairs and maintenance should be done to a home before putting it on the market, doing these yourself can sometimes end up costing you money as buyers perceive your ‘less than professional’ workmanship as something they have to spend money fixing. Our Pre – Sale Evaluation covers potential areas for cosmetic improvement and repair. We give you a list of projects that you can then get a quote for from a professional handyman. Ask for one – it will be worthwhile investment!

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8. Floor coverings.  If you have to lay a new carpet think neutral! Avoid strong colours that dominate. There are still a host of colours you can choose from, but stay away from strong, heavy bold colours and maybe think awhile before you put down white! Particularly if it is a family home!


9. Illegal home improvements.  These days it pays to make sure that you have all renovation work approved and certified by your local council. Decks, driveways, and additions that are not approved by the local council can devalue your home. Unfortunately you will probably be forced to correct the situation prior to selling. Worse case scenario could result in having to remove unapproved additions. So always get sign off!

10. Gardens and Landscaping. A high-maintenance garden and landscaping could also polarize would be buyers. If buyers are not avid gardeners or don’t want to spend money watering or hiring someone to constantly weed, trim and spray your garden, then this may deter them from buying your home. But then an avid gardener or two is likely to fall in love. Just make sure repairs are made to any paths,sheds or decks and that your lawn is ready for a Mad Hatters Tea Party!


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So, before you decide to make those improvements to your home, go through this list and see if you are making the improvements for you or your buyer.