The Best Home Improvements to Create Value In Your Home

Posted by Justin Havre on Friday, November 2nd, 2018 at 12:40pm.

Home Improvements to Make Before SellingSellers have one chance to impress future buyers, and first impressions are important. Every aspect of a home is tested for its quality to ensure that those who would consider buying it know they're getting the best deal for their money. If you're wondering what home improvements add the most value, keep reading. With these house upgrades, you will be showing a home that features what buyers want without the risk of over-renovating.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

High-ROI Home Improvements For Your Home

Selling your Calgary home but not sure how much money to spend on sprucing it up? Attending to little things here and there are necessary chores and they can usually pay off. But what types of jobs will pay off and bring you the biggest return. Well, it depends on:

  • What time of year it is
  • Where your home is located
  • What the current market is like
  • What else is for sale in your neighbourhood

According to Remodelling Magazine, there are a few general guidelines.

Hardwood Flooring

There is an obvious reason that so many buyers desire hardwood flooring in their future homes. It looks lovely, holds up very well for a busy family, and can last basically as long as the house. Hardwood flooring is a serious investment, so make sure to be prepared to make it before starting to tear up carpet. If you do, however, you may find that buyers are more likely to want to look at your home. Hardwood flooring is becoming a basic essential for many buyers. It could help sellers compete, especially with an older home.

Do you live in an older Calgary home with original hardwood? Buyers today want wood floors, so if you have carpet overtop of your hardwood floors, tear them out. Depending on the shape of the floors, you may want to have them refinished. If your home was constructed in the 1960s and 70s, when carpeting became a more inexpensive flooring option in new homes, the most cost effective option is to replace the carpet with something fresh and contemporary. A neutral shade is most appealing to buyers. It would also give you an opportunity to check the plywood sub-floor for rot. If you have tiles, replace broken or chipped ones and refresh the grout. If you must replace all the tiles, don’t go with ceramic tiles. They’re too expensive.

Kitchen Design

It’s quite expensive to update a kitchen. Appliances can be expensive to replace. Cabinets can cost an arm and a leg and most likely, buyers can spot cheap cupboards a mile away.  But if they’re in bad shape with broken hinges and extremely dated, you might not have any choice. Think about resurfacing perhaps and adding new hardware. Redoing your kitchen can almost guarantee you a 100% return on your investment unless you have installed a luxury kitchen.  A moderately priced reno might do the trick. Don’t worry about a super deluxe fridge or an under mount sink. You don’t have to invest in granite as some laminates these days duplicate the same look and feel. Check with your real estate agent to see what buyers are looking for in your particular neighbourhood.

Minor kitchen renovations that may include a new floor, countertop or cabinets have a high return of 82.7%. Potential buyers are always interested in seeing a great kitchen when they are viewing a home!

Although the idea of the brand new kitchen as the first thing buyers expect is a little overdone by the home makeover shows, buyers do want sellers to pay a fair bit of attention to the way a kitchen looks. If a kitchen is decades old with a design to match, sellers might need to put in a little work to bring it up to this century, at least. In particular, sellers looking for the best resale value should focus on the kitchen countertop material and the overall flow. Aim for an open kitchen design, possibly with the addition of a plumbed kitchen island. For countertops, put in granite or quartz if the budget will stretch to accommodate it to improve the appeal to buyers, even in competitive markets like North Calgary.

Storage For Your Home

Storage is the one thing that every home needs, and of which it never seems to have enough. Sellers can always improve the storage in a home anywhere there's extra space. Consider adding shelving, cabinetry and drawers to closets to make them feel less empty and basic. Deep shelving and overhead storage is an ideal way to show off deep closets, or high closet ceilings. Do not ignore the garage, because it may be a source of great storage on the walls or the ceiling. Storage should be ideally designed for each space, so that it can be used effectively.

Walls and Ceilings

Step outside of yourself and pretend you are a prospective buyer and look at your ceiling and walls with a critical eye. Buyers look at the ceiling very carefully. They’re looking for signs of water damage but what you don’t want them to see are cracks or even stains from cooking. There’s a children’s novelty item which is like slime and perhaps your kids have thrown this type of substance up on the ceiling to see if it would stick. It likely provided a lot of laughs at the time, but this stuff leaves grease spots. You don’t want buyers to see that, or finger prints on the walls either. Fix cracks, old nail holes, dents and scratches and paint. If you can’t find the right shade, go with a neutral colour.

Your wallpaper probably needs to go, whether you strip or steam it. Some people say you can paint over wallpaper but that’s only if you’re in a big hurry and your wallpaper isn’t bubbled or have pronounced seams. If you have wood paneling it can be painted. No matter how beautiful your walnut, cedar, pine or mahogany paneling is in your home, it’s dated. Prime it and paint it a soft or neutral colour. If you can’t bear to cover up that wood, you can leave it and wait for feedback from buyers coming through your home. But that’s the key word. Wait. If you have time to wait.

Bathroom Blitz

Like kitchens you can often recover your investment in a renovated bathroom. Sometimes even more. The best items to replace in the bathroom is the floor, fixtures and taps and the lighting.

Outside the Home

Grit your teeth and do your roof. Buyers will ask right away – when was the roof done last? Guaranteed. Other odd jobs outside your home include fixing the fence, replacing door knobs and fixing cracks in the sidewalk leading up to your front door.

Again, your real estate professional can advise on what buyers specifically in your neighbourhood are looking for.

Energy Efficiency

Many buyers feel like their homes should do more for them, and energy efficiency is a good example. No matter the weather, a home needs to preserve home comfort without wasting a lot of energy. Research improving or replacing the insulation, especially in the attic. This is one of the best home improvements, as it is a fairly minimal investment with big returns. If you have old appliances, think about replacing them with efficient models that provide the same amount of quality for less energy. Appliances with the Energy Star designation offer peak efficiency.

Smart Technology

Similar to energy efficiency, people are looking for homes with smart technology that can make their lives easier. It is a hassle to perform endless household tasks, especially when many of the systems can be set up to handle them automatically. If you're looking for do it yourself home improvement, consider investing in some smart technology upgrades, such as a smart thermostat, keyless entry or entertainment system. There are a lot of options out there, so be sure to make choices that are likely to work with different systems with a track record of reliability.

Adding A Wooden Deck

If you haven't yet added a new deck to your home, here's a good reason to do so. You can expect an 87.4% ROI on it when it's time to resell your home and in the meantime you can enjoy the outdoors in your backyard.

Replacing Your Garage Door

You can see an 83.7% ROI on a new garage door replacement especially if your current door isn't in the best condition. There are incredible garage door styles to choose from now and they are available in any color under the rainbow.

Replace Your Windows

A lot of potential buyers will be asking about the windows you have in your home since energy efficiency has become quite a concern these days. The new lines of windows also look fantastic and can provide a 74% return on investment.

Walls and Ceilings

Step outside of yourself and pretend you are a prospective buyer and look at your ceiling and walls with a critical eye. Buyers look at the ceiling very carefully. They’re looking for signs of water damage but what you don’t want them to see are cracks or even stains from cooking. There’s a children’s novelty item which is like slime and perhaps your kids have thrown this type of substance up on the ceiling to see if it would stick. It likely provided a lot of laughs at the time, but this stuff leaves grease spots. You don’t want buyers to see that, or finger prints on the walls either. Fix cracks, old nail holes, dents and scratches and paint. If you can’t find the right shade, go with a neutral colour.

Your wallpaper probably needs to go, whether you strip or steam it. Some people say you can paint over wallpaper but that’s only if you’re in a big hurry and your wallpaper isn’t bubbled or have pronounced seams. If you have wood paneling it can be painted. No matter how beautiful your walnut, cedar, pine or mahogany paneling is in your home, it’s dated. Prime it and paint it a soft or neutral colour. If you can’t bear to cover up that wood, you can leave it and wait for feedback from buyers coming through your home. But that’s the key word. Wait. If you have time to wait.

Update Your Siding

Fiber-cement siding is resistant to fire, moisture and termites and it doesn't flex, which means less repainting is required in the future. The ROI value on this home improvement is about 87%. Vinyl siding replacement is more popular than the fiber cement type of siding, and it will provide a 78% ROI on average.

Of course, all of these ROI numbers are not written in stone and have been provided to give you a rough idea overall of the top remodeling jobs you can make. The best thing that you can do is talk to your real estate agent before going ahead with any major home improvements if you're planning on selling your home within the next few years.

Learn More about Tax Rebates for Building Your Own Home or for Major Renovations

If you are currently building your own house or working on a substantial renovation on your existing home, you may be interested in learning more about a tax rebate that could put some of your hard-earned dollars back into your pocket. You may also qualify for a rebate if you have constructed your home or substantially renovated it within the last two years.

The name of the rebate is the GST/HST New Housing Rebate and with it you could potentially receive up to $30,000 back when you meet any of the qualifying conditions as listed below.

  • You have added a major addition to your home. The addition must at least double the size of the living space in the home.
  • Have purchased a majorly renovated or a new home, mobile home, condo, floating home or a duplex from a builder.
  • Have had a new home built on land that you own.
  • Have renovated your existing home substantially.
  • Have converted a property that was deemed to be non-residential into a house.
  • Purchased some capital stock of a co-op that was newly constructed.

If you buy a new condo or a home it must be your primary residence or you must have rented it out for a minimum of one year. As well, if you purchase a new condominium or home from a builder, you'll need to read through the contract to find out if you would be eligible for this rebate. In many cases, the contract will state that the builder has the right to apply for the rebate instead of the new home owner.

If you're interested in finding out more about this rebate and other types of rebates that you may not even know about, there are companies that specialize in this type of thing. There are a lot of rebates available and if you have spent a lot of money on contractors and materials to build a new home or to renovate an existing home, you just may be able to get thousands of dollars back by doing some quick research or by contacting a company that specializes in securing rebates for its clientele.

Renovation Contract Checklist

If you've ever watched the People's Court or Judge Judy before, you know the importance of getting everything in writing with a signed contract before any type of renovation starts. Gone are the days when a handshake would suffice, even when you're working with family members. Here is a checklist of the items that should be covered when you're dealing with any Calgary contractor whether you know him or not.

  • A description of the renovations that need to be done including any sketches or blueprints if necessary.
  • Who is responsible for paying for the materials and how the receipts will be handled.
  • An agreement saying that the contractor will remove all of the debris once the renovations have been completed.
  • A clear statement that any and all of the work performed will follow all local codes.
  • If any inspections need to be done they should be laid out in writing as to the person responsible for ensuring that they are completed and when.
  • List any work that needs to be subcontracted such as electrical and plumbing and who will be responsible for the individuals or companies that are hired.
  • A statement outlining the quality and the type of materials that will be used in the project.
  • A clear outline of work guarantees and warranties on products.
  • A description of your cancellation rights.

The contract should also include the Worker’s Compensation Board number of the contractor, his Insurance Certificate and any licensing required to perform certain tasks. The contract should be signed by both parties and witnessed for larger jobs before any of the work begins.

Large jobs, small jobs and in-between projects should all be covered by a contract in writing. This is the only way you can protect yourself should something go desperately wrong along the way. A handshake certainly won't hold up in a court of law and you could find yourself out of thousands of dollars if you don’t have written protection in place.

When you sell a house, you want to know how to improve home value and create a property that is the envy of the neighbourhood. If you choose these five home improvements, you will satisfy buyers' expectations and achieve your goal.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Leave a Comment