Renovate & Update I

Invest in your comfort and boost your home’s value
It’s a pity that our energy goes into fixing up our property only when we’re about to sell. Renovating and updating your home can make your own lifestyle more enjoyable right now. Smart investments in your home will also help you capitalise on its value when you come to sell. Here is some collected advice on what home improvement projects pay off, whether you are selling now or in the future.

1. Create space
Knock out a non-structural wall, or even remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens the space and creates a sense of flow in the house is generally a good move. For a few hundred dollars, you can transform the feel of the house, making it more attractive to buyers and your family.

2. Landscape and tidy the garden
Tangled trees and messy bushes can darken interiors, promote mould, and block a good view of the house. Landscaping is considered one of the top three investments that bring the biggest returns. Some estimate that just a few hundred dollars in landscaping can bring a return of four times that. Top suggestions: hire a tree removal pro, prune shrubs and small trees, tidy up hedges and refresh your plantings.

3. Let in the light
Lighting noticeably enhances a home’s appeal with dimmer switches, warm lamplight, solar lights and natural sunlight streaming in. But most people forget that lighting is responsible for at least 1/3 of the energy used in the average home. You can reduce your electricity bill by nearly 25% just by switching to energy efficient LEDs and getting creative with natural daylight – it will make a significant difference to your ambience and your savings!

4. Don’t put off maintenance
Before thinking about an expensive upgrade to the kitchen, address the basics: insulate the attic, repair leaks, replace rusty gutters, replace or repair windows, weed the flower beds. Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only money wise; it could also be crucial to a sale.

5. Go green
If maintenance and repairs are in hand, put more dollars into green efficiency. If your heating or air conditioning systems are old, new ones are so much better, with savings of up to 30 to 40%. A solar-powered water heater could save you as much as 80% on your water-heating bills. “A 3.5 kW solar system we installed about 10 years ago has meant we have had NO electricity bills to pay for all that time.”

6. Floor values
Don’t undervalue the materials you’re standing on. Many real estate pros recommend spending some money on floors. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. For an estimated average investment of $600 to $900, brokers report that the return in value comes in at up to $2,000.

7. Easy bath and kitchen upgrades
Smartening up the kitchen and bath is a sure bet for adding value to your home. But it may not be economical to do a major renovation if you are trying to spend as little as possible before putting a house up for sale. Some upgrades however are low cost, easy, and fast. Replace frosted glass for clear glass, clean the grout, remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets. Even buying a new toilet seat can make a difference.

8. Neutral wall colors
If you’re getting ready to put a house on the market, don’t allow walls with chipped paint to go unmaintained. If you need to do more than a touch up, choose neutral colours. You can add colour later with cushions, throws, and artwork.

9. Good advice: your agent
Getting close to selling? Enlist the help of a trusted real estate professional on what changes to make. Your agent will keep you informed of what works in the current marketplace and what are the key selling and sticking points with your property. They should be able to give you sound advice on what’s a wise investment and warn you off over-capitalising.

And then again, once you’ve fixed everything up, why move??

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