Is It Worth it to Renovate Your Home Before Selling?

As more inventory becomes available, many homeowners are asking what they should do to maximize the value of their home before selling.

James and Denny stress the importance of timing when it comes to listing and share their experience with renovation delays and finding a good contractor.

This episode will focus on the renovation types that will give you the best return, the surprising costs of renovations, the effects of increasing inventory, understanding what your buyer is looking for, and the high impact of new paint, flooring, and landscaping.

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on SpotifyiTunes & YouTube.

NOTES FROM THE EPISODE:

Many homeowners are willing to invest money into their property to maximize its value before selling it. However, various factors can influence the types of renovations you should focus on and the timing behind when the work should be completed. In some cases, it may be better to sell the home as is and not perform any renovations at all.

As a seller, it is important to follow the real estate market trends to ensure the best return on your investment.

When should you renovate your home before selling?

Timing is essential.

The real estate market is likely to be very busy during the spring months. This is a great time to sell your home because inventory is generally lower than the summer, and competition is higher for buyers. During this time, if you have to renovate, it is crucial to do work that has a maximum effect and will only minimally delay your ability to list. Try to focus on small renovations that can significantly impact buyers’ opinions of the home, like new flooring, fresh paint, and updated landscaping. Doing a general clean-up and decluttering of common spaces can also have a substantial impact.

November and December are slower months in real estate. Buyers are generally not as interested in purchasing a home during this time of year, which means that it is a great time to perform extensive renovations. These renovations can include big-ticket items like the kitchen or bathrooms. The completion of this work will likely line up with the springtime rush and can give your home a step up compared to the competition.

What are the main factors you should focus on when planning to renovate your home before selling?

If you are hoping for a quick renovation and a high return on your investment, focus on:

  1. New paint and flooring:
    • This work can be less labour intensive and expensive but still have a significant impact. Furthermore, you do not need a contractor for these updates – the homeowner can hire floor installation professionals when purchasing the material or professional painters.
    • James recalls when he was selling a late 1990’s New Westminster condo that looked a little outdated. He spent approximately $5,000 on new floors and paint and made an extra $10,000 when selling. In some cases, it can bring you a two to one return on your investment.
  2. Decluttering, tidying, and minor fixes:
    • When buyers are walking through a home during a showing, they should get the impression that the property is well maintained. Broken window screens, leaky sink taps, messy rooms, and dirty floors can give the buyers the idea that the house is not adequately cared for. Consequently, buyers may question what else needs attention or repair.
  3. Landscaping:
    •  This step can cause an increase in curb appeal and improve the first impression that buyers will have of the home as they arrive. Landscaping can include cutting the grass, trimming hedges, tidying pathways, or planting flowers for pops of colour.  

Showrooms can be a great source of inspiration for condo updates. Developers are budget conscious and create the best space for the lowest price they can.

Location is key! Suppose your condo is in places like Kitsilano, downtown Vancouver, or the west end of Vancouver. In that case, luxurious renovations could get you a higher return on your investment because that is what buyers are looking for in these places. Knowing who the potential buyers will be can help direct you towards the renovation projects you should focus on.

Finding a good contractor that you trust to do the renovation work can also be a challenge. Most contractors are booked 3-6 months in advance, and some of the larger projects can take a long time to complete. Keep this in mind when you are planning any work on your home. Always remember that timing is crucial in real estate.

What are some of the things you should stay away from when planning to renovate your home before selling?

Bathroom renovations:

  • Always keep in mind that tile can be costly. When renovating a bathroom, opt to insert a fiberglass shower base instead of a tile base. This alternative will lower the total cost of renovations.
  • Furthermore, choose a neutral tile that the majority of people will like. Remember – you are renovating your home for the potential buyer. Do not choose something expensive and flashy that only caters to a specific taste.  
  • Installing a fancy shower with many different showerheads and extravagant features can be a turn-off for some buyers. Focus on the type of clientele interested in your home and try to cater to them.

Condos:

  • Making extensive and luxurious renovations in a condo can be a risky situation. Many homebuyers are budget conscious when looking to buy this type of property.
  • It is common for many homeowners to overspend on condo renovations. Please speak with a Realtor before making any extensive changes to increase sale value. It is common for many homeowners to overspend on condo renovations and then just break even or lose money on the project.

Lighting:

  • More lighting is not always better! Try to be strategic with placement and tasteful with the choice of light fixtures. Keep in mind that many buyers may not want multiple chandeliers or a living room ceiling full of pot lights.

Appliances:

  • Appliances are hard to get more than a one-to-one return on your investment. As a seller, try to be brand conscious and always keep in mind what your buyer would prefer. For example, do not splurge on an expensive fridge with a TV screen when your buyer may not be looking to spend the extra dollars for that type of luxury.

Deciding when and how to renovate depends entirely on the situation

If it is the spring and the market is hot, the best decision is most likely to get your home on the market as soon as possible. If it is later in the year and the market has cooled down, turn your attention to what you can renovate to increase the value of your home for the next busy season.

Keep in mind that renovations can be expensive and take time. If you feel comfortable with construction, you can do a lot of the work yourself and save some money. Take into account that if you are waiting for a contractor, it could take up to 6 months.

Consider these factors before planning to remodel your home. Please consult your local Realtor for more guidance on whether or not you should renovate your home before selling.