Blog by Mary Cleaver

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Ask Your REALTOR® - Renovate to Sell?

Q: I’m thinking of selling my two bedroom condo on West Broadway. It’s about 30 years old and showing its age. How much renovation should I do? Can I make a lot more money if it looks ultra modern?

  A: I’m so glad you asked! People often think they have to install new floors and appliances, and renovate kitchens and bathrooms to put their home on the market and really, it doesn’t always make sense.  Many times, sellers will not get back in the purchase price the money spent when it comes to these kinds of improvements. I’m not saying there is no value to doing some updates. The message is proceed with caution.

Sit down with your REALTOR® and have a conversation about your home, your timeline and your expectations. If she specializes in the strata market in your neighbourhood, she will have seen many of the units that have recently sold as well as those currently for sale that will compete with your home for potential buyers. Taking into account current market conditions and your personal circumstances, she can help you develop a marketing strategy which may include a couple of renovations you can do to give your home a facelift. New carpet and a coat of paint for example are some relatively quick and inexpensive updates that can make a big impact.

What should you do to show your home in the best possible light?

          Clean it. So simple but your home should be spotless. If you’re like me and cleaning isn’t your strong suit, hire a maid service. Have professional carpet cleaners come in rather than renting a Rug Doctor and have it done right.  Nothing turns off a potential buyer like dirty window sills, dead bugs in the light fixtures and dingy carpet.
          Fix it. If you’re missing baseboards, have burnt out lightbulbs,  a broken doorknob, closet doors that don’t close properly or you’ve done a partial renovation that looks unfinished – these things do need to be  addressed if you want your home to sell quickly and for the highest possible price.  Do as much as you can yourself and hire a handy man or finishing carpenter at an hourly rate.
          Store it. You want your rooms and closets to appear spacious and that usually means stashing furniture and boxing up books and extra clothing. You don’t have a basement in your condo of course, but fill your storage locker and ask friends or family to let you keep some things at their place if you need to.
          Hide it. Little things we all use on a daily basis like toothbrushes at the sink, shampoo in the shower, containers for recycling/composting, and the change jar – all should be out of sight for showings. Contrary to popular belief, personal photographs and decorative pieces can be displayed but within reason. A few nicely framed photos from your destination wedding can be lovely. Your collections of decorative spoons and cherished teddies will probably look like clutter to many home shoppers and should be put away.
          Stage it. You can use a company for a really high-end result but it may cost $2000-$3000 for your two bedroom condo. You can do it yourself with a little effort and far less money.  If you have a big table for your family and friends but it doesn’t fit the space well, change it for a smaller one.  If you use your second bedroom as an office, you might want to put a bedroom suite in to show that it is indeed a full bedroom. Borrow or buy some used patio furniture for your outdoor space if you don’t have it. Show potential buyers the lifestyle they could enjoy in your home.

Do spend a little bit of time and money to make your home as clean, bright, spacious and inviting as it can be. Do not start a huge renovation project that could go over time and over budget. More likely than not, it will not pay off in the end.