September 20th 2022
The Scott Brothers Q&A: What increases the value of a house the most?
In part 4 of this limited series, our investors and Canadian real estate industry experts—the Scott Brothers—answer Canada’s most burning real estate questions, which can help you buy, move, and sell with more confidence and less stress.
For many homeowners, your house is your biggest and brightest financial asset. That’s why taking care of your home with constant maintenance and renovation projects is probably something you’re already on top of.
But when the time comes to sell your home, you may be wondering which home improvements will add the most value, and ultimately maximize your selling price. It’s true: some renovations and updates can have a better long-term payoff than others. Things like:
- Replacing doors, siding, and windows
- Adding some fresh paint
- Revitalizing your outdoor space
- Remodeling high-traffic rooms in your home
To understand which projects will help improve your potential profit from a sale, we enlisted the help of real estate industry experts, the Scott Brothers.
We asked them to spill the beans about which specific home improvements will most likely increase the value of your house. From simple fixes to bigger renovations, they gave us their list of upgrades that will help you fetch a healthy bid from a potential buyer, and kick start your reno to-do list.
Q: What types of home improvements add the most value to a home in Canada?
Drew: On TV, we often do bigger renovations in order to help sellers get the best price for their homes. If your budget and timeline allow it, and you’re looking to sell, it’s good to plan well ahead. Many buyers want a move-in ready home, so upgrading the space can have a good return.
There are a few types of home improvements that will impact the eventual sale price of your home. Based on ‘buyer desires’ at the time (and place) you sell, you’ll need to think about what and how you want to improve in order to reach a wider buying audience:
- Do you want to give it a simple visual upgrade?
- Do you want the home to feel (or be) more spacious?
- How about more energy efficient?
- What about more functional?
These are just some of the significant areas that will impact how buyers and home appraisers perceive your home and add the most value to it in the long run.
Q: What budget-friendly fixes can help increase the value of your home?
Drew: Inside and out, some minor changes can impact the value of your home. Some of these things can be tackled on your own, while others might be best left to the professionals. All of these projects can increase the value of your home, so take the time to do them just right, and reap the rewards when you sell.
1. Paint a new picture (with paint)
Jonathan: This is one of the biggest impacts you can make on the value of your home, especially if you’re looking to keep your home improvement budget on the lower side.
All that’s really required here is a little sweat, patience, and painting supplies. Repainting rooms that have been well-loved over the years can make a big difference in enticing potential buyers and helping them really envision themselves in the space.
Tip: Light, neutral colours that appeal to a wider audience of buyers can make your house feel bigger, brighter, and could eventually lead to a higher sale price.
2. Be open to a new garage door
Drew: Curb appeal can have a huge impact on how buyers and appraisers perceive your home. The outside of your house is the first thing people will see when they come to tour your property.
Tip: One way you can make a good first impression? Replace your garage door. If you’re feeling handy, you can probably tackle this project yourself.
3. Swap out your siding
Jonathan: Replacing your outdoor siding can be a bigger project than replacing a garage door, so you’ll probably need to call in the pros. However, replacing the siding on your home contributes to a positive impression for buyers as they look at your property for the first time.
Some starting points for siding: in the selection process, think about finding a calm colour that will appeal to most buyers and match the other materials that make up your house.
Tip: If replacing the siding isn’t in the budget, at least hose down or pressure-wash the existing siding to present a clean, well-loved look (in a pinch, you can rent pressure washers from your local hardware store).
4. Opt for new windows
Drew: Replacing windows ticks two boxes for home buyers: good looks and energy efficiency. Especially in older homes, replacing old windows with new ones can present great energy savings since they provide better insulation and keep that expensive heat or air conditioning where it belongs: inside.
On top of that, fresh windows look clean, bright, and neat, both inside and out. Opt for durable windows like vinyl or fiberglass that will hold up well over time.
Tip: Plan for window replacements to be among the more expensive items on your home improvement list, but it is a proven good long-term investment. Plus, buyers will typically appreciate the update and the energy savings it provides.
5. Upgrade your deck
Jonathan: Now, buyers are likely to pay a premium for outdoor space. But buyers will pay an even bigger premium if that space is usable, functional, and fun. Like staging on the inside of a home, buyers want to be able to see how they will use a room. The same goes for the outdoors. While not the most budget-friendly endeavour, adding a deck and staging it with patio furniture can show buyers how much they could enjoy their new backyard.
Go deep with a basement upgrade
Drew: If you’re able to, remodeling and refinishing a specific floor of your home can offer you the biggest payoff of all. Honestly, homes with more square footage are more valuable to buyers — so why not work to maximize all of the unfinished space you already have?
Now, this isn’t an option for everyone — it requires a budget, as well as a full understanding of any existing challenges (think cracks in the foundation, or leaky basement windows) that won’t interrupt your renovation plans. On the other hand, if you have a sealed basement and it’s renovation-ready, this may be the right move for you.
Converting an unfinished basement into usable space can add serious square footage to a home. While that additional square footage might not be included in your listing or appraisal if it’s below grade, buyers still value any additional space a home offers. Whatever you do, think deeply about what you want to accomplish with the space, as well as what you can accomplish with your budget.
Tip: Also consider the design of the space, and what would work best in it (and attract buyers the most): an in-law suite, a games room, a family room, a laundry area, a home gym — there’s a lot to choose from.
Go bold with a new bathroom
Jonathan: You may have heard that kitchens and bathrooms are key to selling homes, and we’re here to tell you that it’s true: remodeling your bathrooms can have a big impact on the sale price. If you can’t upgrade all of them, we recommend starting with the principal bathroom, and finding ways to make the space brighter, spa-like, and spacious.
Kick it up a notch in your kitchen
Drew: Kitchen remodels are probably the largest investment a homeowner can make (and it makes cooking from scratch a little difficult while it’s happening), but if you take this route, you’ll likely get a big return on your investment. With more and more Canadian homes being open-concept, kitchens have quickly become the heart of the living space, so buyers are looking at them with increased scrutiny. Hands down, kitchens can be a deal-breaker.
In addition to upgrading cabinets and countertops, think about adding new, eco-friendly appliances—these have the added bonus of being more efficient and more functional than older models.
Tip: If a full-gut renovation isn’t in the plan, painting cabinets and opting for an affordable new floor can still go a long way.
Track the value of your home with every upgrade
If you’ve taken all the steps to get your home ready to sell, you might be wondering what your house is now worth. Or maybe you just want to know the value of your home in its current condition. Either way, Properly can provide you with a free instant home estimate.
Properly also has resources to help you once you decide to list your home for sale. See our list of agents, or reach out to get matched with one directly.