How to make the best of your home improvements

You’ve owned your home for a few years and perhaps it is starting to look a little outdated. Maybe you are going into a home that needs a little TLC and some good renovations to make it more current and functional.

Whatever the required or wanted changes, it is important to keep in mind that just because you put in the money to renovate, it doesn’t mean that you would get it back. Instead of making a home YOUR dream home to increase value, focus on what buyers are looking for. You don’t want to over improve your home and be the most expensive home in the neighborhood. Here are some tips to get you started.

Essential repairs and improvements are expected by buyers and will not add value to the buyer as they expect it to be there already. For example, if your house needs a new roof or new plumbing it would not increase the value of your home; those are expected to already be there for buyers.

After the necessary has been tackled, focus on one or a few of the below projects that have proven to have a good return.

SPACE/ LIGHT/ FLOW – In general more space & light are positive changes to a home. People tend to like open floor plans as it creates the illusion of bigger spaces. It is also a great for parents with young kids as they can watch their families while preparing meals in the kitchen. In older houses where it is common to see a lot of small, cramped rooms, it would be a good idea to create a master bedroom or even add ensuites and making the space more efficient.

HOME OFFICE – Another smart idea is creating a home office. More and more companies are going towards being green and telecommuting is becoming a necessary for many people. If you have an unused den or a small bedroom, add lots of cabinets and shelving and make it into a home office. You would even benefit from tax advantages.  Remember ergonomics when inputting built in desks. Also remember to include anything that would be needed in an office. ie. Electrical outlets, phone jack and even an Internet data port.

CURB APPEAL/ LANDSCAPING – If you are in a house, don’t forget your “curb appeal” It is important to make your house look good before people come in. Painting your home is a good place to start, as it is affordable and quick! Landscape your front yard by keeping the grass green and routinely cut; add some perennials and greenery to the garden.  Low maintenance plants are great as not everyone has a green thumb or the time to maintain a beautiful garden.

OUTDOOR SPACES – Outdoor spaces are being used more now than ever before. With busy schedules, it is nice to unwind in the patio and even entertain.  Adding or improving your deck will add great value to your home and it is an affordable project. With unique shapes to choose from, let yourself get creative with your outdoor space. Add benches along the sides and pretty it up with some built in planters. People want outdoor space, and having an outdoor space that you don’t’ have to maintain scores brownie points on many buyers wish list.

RENOVATED BASEMENT/ MORTGAGE HELPER – If you have a basement, remodel it so that it’s sufficient as its own suite. Make it cozy by adding a fireplace, and keep it open to avoid the dark, dungeoun, basement feel. With a separate entrance, you have a mortgage helper and maintain your family’s privacy.  Especially in larger cities, homes with rental suites are very common.  This is particularly common in Vancouver as prices are generally too high for families to maintain on their own.

BATHROOMS/ KITCHEN – Last but definitely not least on the improvement list is updating bathrooms and kitchens. If done efficiently and to good taste, you would cover close to if not 100% of your money that you put it.


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