Whether you’re a homeowner considering a renovation or you’re in the market looking at fixer uppers, rest assured that updating your home can lead to increased value when you eventually sell the home.
However, not all renovations will have the same impact. The extent to which an update increases your home’s value depends on a range of factors including the type of renovation, the quality of the work, your local real estate market, and the preferences of potential buyers. For valuable insight on this topic, NOVERO Homes & Renovations spoke with Greater Vancouver area realtor Russ Macnab of The Macnabs Team.
Tell us about your background. Have you personally renovated any homes to consider their future resale value?
My background is in construction and renovations. Growing up, my family was involved in the building industry, with my dad as a builder and my mom as a designer. This upbringing provided me with comprehensive knowledge about houses.
While I have renovated numerous homes throughout my career, when I entered the real estate field, I decided to purchase a brand new house. I wanted a break from renovations, and I happily resided in that home for 12 years without making any changes.
What updates increase the value of the home the most including indoor and outdoor spaces? Which ones offer the best ROI (return on investment), or how do you recommend them to clients?
In terms of increasing a home’s value, I believe kitchen and bathroom updates are the most impactful. These areas have a significant “wow” factor and often discourage buyers from taking on the renovations themselves due to potential costs. When these spaces are already renovated, buyers know exactly what they’re paying for.
Since kitchen renovations can be costly, what aspects do you recommend prioritizing?
When it comes to kitchen renovations, I recommend prioritizing cabinets and countertops over newer appliances. Many people overspend on appliances, but I believe they can be purchased used at a fraction of the cost. Similar to cars, brand new appliances come with a premium price tag. So, if you’re looking to save money during a kitchen renovation, opting for used appliances can be a wise choice.
What updates and decor should be avoided if homeowners know their housing is for the short-term or temporary?
For homeowners with short-term/temporary housing, I suggest avoiding extensive landscaping projects. Landscaping expenses can quickly add up, but they often don’t yield a full return on investment when selling. Instead, focus on updating the interior of the house, such as countertops, bathrooms, lighting, and door hardware. These smaller updates can significantly modernize and enhance your home’s appeal.
What are three ‘easy’ or lower cost updates that owners could consider if budget is an issue?
If budget is a concern, here are three relatively easy and cost-effective updates to consider: first, replace outdated door hardware to give your home a more contemporary look; second, upgrade mouldings and baseboards, as they can make a noticeable difference when someone enters the space; third, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders, instantly transforming and revitalizing the overall appearance.
When is the best time to update your home?
The best time to update your home is generally in the beginning, so you can enjoy the renovations while living there. However, before selling, it’s crucial to freshen up the property with new paint, lighting fixtures, minor landscaping, and any necessary touch-ups. Creating a positive first impression with a clean and well-maintained house can have a significant impact on the selling price.
If a homeowner feels overwhelmed by the idea of renovating their dated home, where do you recommend that they start?
I recommend starting with paint. A fresh coat of paint can completely transform the look and feel of a space. Additionally, consider updating smaller details like door hardware, door casings, and countertops. Painting the kitchen and bathroom cabinets yourself can also be a game changer, instantly increasing the value of your home.
Do you have any recent relevant stories to share?
Recently, I had a client whose outdated home was struggling to sell. After a couple of months on the market with lowball offers and feedback about the need for renovations, I suggested updating the kitchen and bathrooms. We decided to paint the cabinets white and change the countertops, which cost around $8000 in total. Two weeks later, we relisted the property at the same price, and it ended up selling for $50,000 more. My client was thrilled with the outcome and the substantial return on investment from those updates.
As renovation experts, our team at NOVERO has seen shifts in types of remodels before, during, and after the pandemic.
During the pandemic more than half of Canadians renovated our homes to improve the quality of living there.* This took priority over the potential return on investment. Think work-from-home office spaces, converting extra space to hobby or music rooms, creating attractive laundry rooms, and improving our outdoor living spaces by adding a seating area, pool, and/or hot tub.
Without a doubt, kitchens are one of the most popular renovations throughout the years—not only for the ROI, but simply because kitchens are the heart of the home and a large amount of our time is spent in that space. We recommend focussing on high-quality materials, updated appliances, functional layout, and appealing aesthetics. Kitchen renovations typically yield the highest ROI for sellers somewhere “between 75 and 100 percent.”*
Similarly, bathrooms have shifted from being purely practical to offering a spa-like atmosphere for homeowners to relax in. In our recent bathroom renovation projects we’ve seen a move towards investing in luxurious features like a spacious walk-in shower or a soaking tub and higher-end fixtures.
If the budget is limited – as Russ notes above – even minor upgrades like improving lighting, painting, enhancing storage, and updating hardware, will make a difference to the perceived value—and your enjoyment of the space.