Do you want to sell your condo or your house? How to seduce a potential buyer? Beyond the inevitable staging (home staging) recommended by real estate agents, many works, large and small, economical or expensive, will greatly boost the value of your property. It matters in today’s market, where buyers have the big end. Beyond the traditional renovation of the kitchen or the bathroom, several strategic improvements make a real difference! Others are to be avoided, because they bring in little or nothing, despite the money invested. Make a budget by reading our file: 15 tips to increase the value of your home.
A logical budget
All the experts will tell you: your renovation budget must stick to reality.
Expect to spend money. But if you have oversized projects, you will never get your investment back. Above all, you have to judge the extent of the work based on the value of the house and its market price.
For example, if your condo is worth $ 300,000 and your new kitchen cost $ 60,000, the buyer will simply not agree to pay more for all this luxury. Same thing if you remodel the two bathrooms in your house for $ 450,000 at a cost of $ 80,000. “The middle class is not looking for high-end materials and accessories. Quality products purchased from RONA will do the job, “said Nathalie Clément, director of the Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal real estate agency.
“Usually, renovations to a kitchen account for about 10% of the sale price of the home. For the bathroom, it’s 5%, ”she adds.
She should not, according to her, get carried away by fashions and bet on classic looks and materials. And avoid spending too much. “The places where there is water are the most expensive to renovate,” she adds.
First for you
When you renovate, you do it above all for yourself. For his own quality of life. Unless you do it specifically to boost the value of a property you plan to sell soon. In the first case, we can afford small follies. Especially if we are going to live there for several decades. In the case of preparation for resale, one must carefully monitor (and limit) one’s budget.
Especially since a good part of the value of your property is set by the market, that is to say the other properties similar to yours in your neighborhood, which are for sale or have been sold recently. “Making investments in an expensive project can lead to an over-improvement of your house in a given market. The investment may not be appreciated at fair value by buyers, “said the Canadian Institute of Appraisers (ICE) in a recent report on the most profitable renovations.
Focus on budget improvements, suggests the ICE. “A coat of paint, modern light fixtures, a small landscaping or gardening project, or the fitting of new door handles can make your home look great,” adds ICE.
Finally, a large landscaping budget will not necessarily result in a crush on a buyer, especially … in winter, when snow covers even the most beautiful flower beds.
Quality and maintenance pay off
Buyers are looking for well maintained properties. And carefully renovated. When buyers multiply the visits, they quickly detect the indices of properties which have been badly or not maintained. Since a majority of them do not want to have costly repairs, with all the contingencies that this entails, they quickly move to another property. And in a buyer’s market like today, it makes a big difference! “Between two identical 50-year-old houses on the same street, buyers will prefer the one that is well maintained,” says Nathalie Clément, director of the real estate agency Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal. In a seller’s market, as has been the case for ten years, buyers were less concerned with the condition of a property. They ignored chipped plaster or damaged ceramic. This is no longer the case today. If the gutters, windows, earthworks, roof are clean, there is no sign of water infiltration, the foundations or the joints of the bricks do not crumble, these details will be retained by the building inspector hired by the buyers. They will not have to carry out work that will cost them thousands of dollars. »Keep a record of all important work and its value. And keep contracts, invoices and guarantees, which will be required by the buyers and their building inspector. Do business with recognized renovators, who have a permit from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec. In addition, obtain and keep a building / renovation permit issued by your municipality for each major project, suggests the Canadian Institute of Appraisers (ICE). “It’s a good way to make sure that your renovations comply with the building code,” added the organization. Consult the Renovation section of the Consumer Protection Office website (www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/renovation). Professional look You can choose to do your renovations yourself, but the final look must be professional. Otherwise, do not entrust your work to amateurs. “Buyers will quickly see all the flaws. Remember, they are visiting chain properties. They compare, ”explains Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. For work, rely on quality materials, such as hardwood instead of floating floors. “The materials bought for sale, it looks cheap. Buyers see it right away. And they too frequent renovation centers, ”adds Philippe Pothier.
The Wow effect!
Why renovate? To create a wow effect! with the potential buyer.
Real estate agents with experience will tell you: as soon as the potential buyer opens the door to your property, they have their idea in less than two minutes.
The renovations must therefore be undertaken with a specific goal: “We have to feel that there is space, light, wherever it counts”, says Nathalie Clément, director of the real estate agency Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal.
In other words, your work must result in an intelligent arrangement of space, open and airy rooms. An example: “If there is a heap of boots and hooks overflowing with coats in the entrance, it will be off-putting. Use hidden storage spaces, even in the hall, ”adds Clément.
In fact, smart storage all over the place, especially for condo buyers, but also in suburban homes, will make a huge difference. You have to feel that you have space to live, that the important rooms are ventilated and uncluttered. Storage spaces built into the walls, especially in the main bedrooms or halls, and compartmentalized walk-in closets, are among the most judicious works to carry out in terms of renovation. “People are literally buying your closets,” says
Mrs. Clément. Also get rid of some furniture and trinkets, especially those that are out of fashion: the majority of homes are too busy.
“It is perfectly possible to create a wow effect!” with accessories purchased from RONA, continues Ms. Clément. But we must favor a classic look. And read the renovation or architectural magazines found in hardware stores. Many offer the looks of millionaire homes, but with middle class budgets. They have lots of great ideas for cheap! ”
In a word, you have to create a wow effect! without spending a fortune. “Above all, you have to seduce the buyer, who plans to settle immediately in his new home. Most want to open their boxes the same day they move. They don’t want to plan work, explains Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie, in Rosemont. The more turnkey, the more likely it is to sell quickly. “
Painting pays off
Of all the renovations, painting generates the best value for money. “We don’t paint beautiful walls. But it often makes all the difference when they are tired, comments Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. The same goes for floors. Sanding and a new coat of varnish on a hardwood floor in good condition will transfigure a property. ”Painting is all the more interesting as one can do the work oneself, provided that they are well done . Amateur cutting is easily spotted. Most people overestimate their talents: hire a professional painter, who will do a better job in record time. Inside, choose very clear neutral colors or tones. White and its derivatives constitute a universal value. And matte paint can flatten or flatten out most of the plaster’s flaws. This is how we deliver brand new properties. Even a coat of paint on the exterior surfaces will make a difference. Especially on brick walls that have already been painted, wooden surfaces, doors or window towers. “Repainting the exterior is essential,” says Nathalie Clément, director of the Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal real estate agency. It signals buyers that the property has been carefully maintained. Especially since the exterior walls are subject to the weather. We should not therefore limit ourselves to suitable exterior coatings. They must be attractive and in perfect condition. Including cornices and gutters. ”Red Ms. Clément retains certain cultural traits concerning the red of front doors. “In the UK, that means the house’s mortgage has been fully paid off. It’s a sign of wealth. Among the Chinese, red allows chi, the vital energy of a home, to enter it. Universally, an impeccable front door often reflects a pampered property. A coat of paint all over the house will pay 75% to 100% of the amount invested, according to the Canadian Institute of Evaluators (ICE). Repainting cornices, balconies, fencing, even the facade, pays off depending on the effort and budget. Bathroom and kitchen remain important Everyone says it: renovating the bathroom and the kitchen pays big. It is not cliché. The more sparkling the pieces, the more likely you are to win over the buyer. A bathroom renovation will bring in between 50% and 100% of the amount you invest in it, according to the Canadian Institute of Evaluators (ICE). For cooking, it pays even more: from 75% to 100%. That’s a few hundred or thousands of dollars wisely spent. “It is certain that replacing the roof will be important to the buyer, agrees Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. But the kitchen or the bathroom are used every day. It is more noticeable. There is no great pleasure in investing $ 12,000 in a new roof. Especially if you plan to live in the property a few years before reselling it. ”Quality materials One fact remains: the work must be done with care, with quality materials, insists Mr. Pothier. If the buyer considers that they will allow use for several years, this is an undeniable advantage. Betting on quality does not mean opting for luxury. “Buying a toilet bowl for $ 800 for a bathroom with renovations of $ 7,000 is a lot. The average buyer is not looking for high-end toilets, “said Nathalie Clément, director of the Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal real estate agency. Without falling into the fashion of the day, certain trends are undeniable. If the bathroom is large enough, choose a freestanding bath and install a separate shower. It has become a standard, both for condos and for suburban homes. The appliances chosen must be linked to the value of the property. No need to slam a fortune in a bathtub, toilet or sink to create a wow effect! Except for properties of $ 500,000 and more. In these cases, buyers are betting more on the slightly more expensive extras. Even if some renovations can cost a fortune, for an amount of $ 15,000 to $ 25,000, you will have a modern kitchen with new stainless steel appliances. With a budget of $ 7,000 to $ 10,000, your bathroom has nothing to envy of a spa frequented by movie stars. Otherwise, limit yourself to new granite, Corian or quartz countertops in the kitchen or bathroom, change the sinks, the bathtub, the ceramic tiles, the kitchen backsplash or the cabinets. If your budget is even more limited, just repaint everywhere, replace the tiles and, if possible, the counters and sinks. Sometimes only new studs do the job.
Roofing is essential
It is often said that a house is a roof. It is more than a figure of speech. The roof is a central part of a property. It protects it from water infiltration, which is the number one cause of insurance claims. When you buy a condo or a house, a good building inspector will systematically check the condition of the roof. On the condos side, require proof from the condominium syndicate confirming the date of the last roof repair work. Also ask for a financial statement from the union including, of course, the level of liquidity of the contingency fund. A well-managed condominium will have a report from an engineering firm that establishes the frequency and that financially assesses all major maintenance work on the building, including the repair of the roof. The provident fund must be sufficiently provisioned to cover this work on the date when it must be carried out. According to the Civil Code, the provident fund must represent 5% of the building’s annual operating expenses. A scale clearly insufficient according to all experts, especially for small condos of 10 units or less. For single family homes, new polymer shingle coverage should last 10 to 15 years. For a sheet metal cover, it’s 75 years. But these lifetimes depend on the environment in which the house is located, and on the quality of the work and materials. Periodic maintenance greatly extends the service life. One fact remains: shingles in poor condition, whose corners curl up, or a chipped paint on embossed sheet metal will put buyers off. Ventilation Also make sure that the cornices and soffits are in good condition, that the attic ventilation is sufficient and that the insulation is adequate. When it comes to ventilation, if you notice a significant accumulation of ice on the roof or the multiplication of ice cubes, you have a problem. For insulation, several building inspectors will identify a vapor barrier that is chipped or has holes, the presence of materials to be prohibited, such as asbestos, or poorly insulated areas, such as structural members or ventilation ducts. It is better to see this kind of problem with your own inspector than with that of the buyer! And have the work done before putting the property up for sale. The essential fenestration Light makes all the difference. And buyers love new or recent windows. Are you selling your property? Make sure that all openings to the outside of the property are in perfect condition. And the perfect word is not too strong. “Buyers are watching poorly insulated or in poor condition doors and windows. They especially do not want to go through this kind of work a few months or years after moving, explains Nathalie Clément, director of the real estate agency Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal. If your home still proudly displays its original sash windows, made of wood, which have been repainted more than thirty times and which require a lot of muscle to handle, if the gas has given way to a film of humidity or dust more or less opaque in your thermos windows, if the putty is fraying and the wooden frame shows signs of advanced rot, it is more than time to take action. Energy efficiency A carefully installed fenestration will last fifteen years and will improve the energy efficiency of the property. If you are considering replacing your windows, why not opt for widening them? Especially if the property is not new. Windows were more than expensive materials over 50 years ago. The design at the time provided for small openings. Today’s fashion is on big windows and technology is helping to prevent energy loss. Bright spaces make a huge difference to buyers. Especially those of properties in the old districts. “Today, many homeowners are replacing the entire back wall of their floor, door and window, with large glazing. They remove the wall, install a steel beam and place a huge window, which covers the entire opening. This $ 10,000 investment easily adds $ 25,000 to your property. Wow effect! guaranteed, ”says Nathalie Clément. Replacing doors and windows will generally bring back 50% to 75% of the money invested, according to the Canadian Institute of Evaluators (ICE). But, for some properties, it makes the difference between finding a buyer quickly or not. Existential debate around skylights Is the skylight necessary? It all depends on the circumstances. They are hated by several insurers. Many home inspectors fear them. Rumor has it that skylights are not suitable for the harshness of our climates. Skylights or solariums represent investments made at a loss, according to many experts. Even the Canadian Institute of Evaluators (ICE) agrees. We have to qualify a little. In fact, if installed properly, skylights cause no heat loss or water infiltration. The author of these lines installed one on the roof of his dining room several years ago; the house is exposed on a mountainside in the Laurentians. Despite this hostile environment, he never faltered. Quality of Life If you plan to install a skylight, do it first to improve your quality of life or the brightness of a strategic room. Most importantly, buy new and hire an experienced installer, who has been recommended by several customers. Do not hesitate to ask him for the contact details of his clients. They will be very good judges of his work. You don’t install a skylight for nothing. We will carefully choose where it should light. “The effect must be spectacular, the lighting must be magnificent. You shouldn’t expect to recoup your investment, but nowadays people are looking for very bright homes. A skylight adds to the wow effect! ”Explains Nathalie Clément, director of the Via Capitale Plateau Mont-Royal real estate agency. Obviously, if we install a skylight near a neighboring building that is several floors higher than our property, or if it overlooks a very small secondary room, even if it is a bathroom, the game is not worth the candle. On the other hand, above a living room, a dining room or a large kitchen, it is worth considering. If we can afford it. Because the price and installation depend on the size and type of ceiling or roof, as well as the thickness of the attic. In addition, it is often necessary to adapt the insulation and the air circulation between the roof and the ceiling, to avoid the formation of ice patches on the roof. The installation of solariums also involves risks. A solid foundation must be provided, which will be resistant to temperature variations and water infiltration. They could, with frost and thaw, damage the foundation and the solarium. More than a skylight, you get a solarium above all for your own quality of life. It is not an addition that will sell a property, except, perhaps, for houses over $ 500,000.
The pool is for you
Does a pool add value to a home for resale? The answer is no. In fact, it can even hurt!
You buy a pool to have fun and give your family a good quality of life. We don’t do it to add value to a property. A minority of buyers are looking for a house with a swimming pool. A majority are indifferent or downright hostile!
Not all buyers who have young children or for whom happiness depends on a dip after a hard day’s work. Others prefer the bicycle or the cinema.
In addition, owning a swimming pool sometimes results in a substantial increase in the family budget. I recently wrote a column for Le Journal where I estimated the annual cost of maintaining and heating a swimming pool from $ 300 to $ 700, depending on the model, before insurance, purchase financing and gadgets. And you have to maintain your pool almost every day in summer. Enough to repel more than one potential buyer.
The inground pool is worse
However, a distinction must be made between an above ground pool and an inground pool. Most buyers will disregard an above ground pool as they can easily remove it after purchasing the property. All they have to do is plant the lawn and, at worst, adjust the terrace.
With the inground pool, it’s something else. “The bill to remove it can go up to $ 10,000,” said Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. You can easily sell an above-ground pool or give it to a family member. It’s the same with a spa. “
In addition, one cannot be satisfied with filling an inground pool with soil and sowing lawn. An ever increasing number of municipalities prohibit this practice. And the machinery necessary to remove it will screw up your landscaping up to the street.
Don’t underestimate the power of floors
If your renovation budget plans to redo your floors, don’t hesitate a minute. In the Mad Men series, the apartment of the main character, Don Draper, proudly displays its floors entirely covered with a sparkling white shag carpet. It was the fashion of the 1960s. In 2016, it was a whole different matter! Finished the carpet “Wall-to-wall rugs are absolutely to be avoided,” comments Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. Buyers are literally running away from them. ”Understandably, they are suspected of being allergens. It is a fact that they harbor many species of mites and that they accumulate dust. And their maintenance is expensive. In addition, people have the impression that wood floors are greener than carpets or other materials. In addition, a hardwood floor, especially maple or bamboo, greatly increases the brightness. If you tear off the existing floor covering and discover old hardwood slats, count yourself lucky! Many buyers are looking for the stamp. That said, entrust the refurbishment work to professionals. Improper sanding, carried out with improper machinery, will damage your floor, and the work will have to be started again. The choice of varnish also depends on the type of wood and … your budget. Laminated floating floor Finally, banish the floating floor of your property. “There should be posters in home improvement centers to warn customers that” buying floating floors lowers the value of your property, “said Philippe Pothier, broker at ReMax Harmonie. For me, the installation of this type of material should be prohibited, even if some floating floors have a very nice appearance. As soon as buyers realize that they are walking on floating floors, they put a cross on your property. It’s like that. Especially since the difference between the price of a floating floor and that of some hardwood species is not huge. We are talking about less than $ 2 per square foot in some cases. That said, wood is not a panacea. Some essences are less harsh than others. A wood floor installer has already shown me the resistance of even dimensioned floor wood by dropping his construction pencil vertically, less than a meter from the ground. He left a mark deeper than the thickness of a loon! A budget of $ 4 to $ 8 per square foot (double for labor) for a hardwood floor will generate a “return” on your investment of approximately 75%, on sale. Which floors to renovate?
Not all floors are created equal. But all of them need a refresh.
Certainly, the floors of the dining room and living room, even those of the bedrooms, are the most “prestigious” of your property. This is where we remove the carpet and lay hardwood.
Some people also love hardwood in the kitchen. But, as with skylights, many buyers fear water damage. It is a matter of perception: in our time, it matters as much as reality.
Vinyl tiles should be avoided to give preference to ceramic in humid places, such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and hall. Here too, you have to be discerning. Because the quality of materials varies greatly. So are their prices.
We will therefore favor classic tones and superior quality in the kitchen, one of the pieces that weighs most heavily on the appreciation of buyers. The same goes for the bathroom. Materials that increase the brightness are essential, especially for small areas. That said, avoid too light or downright white ceramic tiles for kitchen floors. Nobody wants to wash them after each meal! However, go for backsplashes or countertops in bathrooms, which require less maintenance.
For secondary spaces like laundry rooms, ordinary quality but classic looking tiles will do the job.
We may avoid installing hardwood floors in the cellar. But you have to take geography into account. In the suburbs or in certain central districts of big cities, the cellar is popular and constitutes a privileged place of life and an additional room at lower cost. Many suburban families gather there in front of the home theater.
Installing floating floors there may not be the right solution. You have to consider the value of the property. Some laminates, however, will do the job, especially since these products are more moisture resistant than hardwood. But beware of their price, which often comes close to that of hardwood.
So it all depends on your budget: but the cellar is usually no match for the kitchen and bathroom. Which doesn’t mean giving it up. Buyers will consider the condition of all parts of your property before comparing it to others. Ultimately, a very attractive floating floor will prevail over a very damaged cellar floor.