Renovating Your Home to Sell?
A question asked by Comox Valley home sellers is “Do I renovate my Comox Valley home to sell?”. In today’s competitive buyers’ market home buyers are often looking for value and a “move in ready” home. In addition, many home buyers are looking for a home that has been updated in at least some of the key areas. As a home seller do you place your home on the market if it has not been updated? What are these key areas? What difference will it make? All are good real estate questions to explore in this blog.
A person’s home continues to be the most important investment for most people. On a scale of 1 to 100 recent surveys indicate that a person’s home is perceived to represent a value of about 77% compared to a rental property of about 57%, vacant land of about 56% and the stock market of about 42%. More than 60% of Canadians own homes. When homes are renovated, if selling is the motivation, it is important to understand what home buyers want and which renovations are likely to add the most real estate value.
Comox Valley home buyers can roughly be grouped into four different categories. Some home buyers are social. They enjoy spending time with friends and family, and having a park or community close by. They enjoy hanging around the kitchen while entertaining or sitting out on the back deck with friends. Other buyers are more traditional and they enjoy bright and sunny homes with lots of open space. Pleasure seekers enjoy things such as hot tubs, home theatre rooms, and recreation rooms. Urban dwellers want amenities nearby and they are often willing to sacrifice space for convenience.
Clearly it is impossible to appeal to all types of real estate buyers but it is possible to understand home buying tendencies in Canada. Overall, upgrades to the kitchen and appliances generally resulted in the greatest return on investment. An updated roof, paint and windows and bathroom were next most important. Flooring was also important to many buyers. Besides understanding what type of upgrades are important to most buyers, it is also important to realize that buyers are looking at specific price ranges.
Why is price range important? It generally establishes the quality of the upgrade that will result in the best return on investment. For example, people who are looking for Courtenay heart of the market homes for sale up to about 350K may be looking for kitchens with a fresh, clean and homey look. As a result, granite or quartz counter tops would not bring a substantial return on investment in these homes while these types of upgrades are almost expected in a home that sells for more than a half of a million dollars. Upgrade yes, but choose the quality of the upgrade based on the price range of your home.
In contrast, upgrades such as the removal of interior walls and the installation of hot tubs and pools may be more of a gamble. If you are planning to move an interior wall ensure that you know whether or not it is load bearing or not. It is also good to know whether or not it contains ducting, venting, plumbing and wiring. Pools may even result in a decrease in value in the eyes of many buyers because they do not want to loose the backyard space and have to deal with the increased maintenance. Other upgrades such a home theatre room may make no sense in a lower priced home but they may even be expected in a higher end home.
Some other homeowner real estate considerations are also be important. The first is: who will do the work? Will you hire a contractor or attempt to do the work yourself? Many buyers can spot poor workmanship so if you are going to do it yourself make sure that you have the right tools and ability to do it well. Your will also require a knowledge of local building codes to ensure that you do not violate any of them. Finally, obtain the required permits.
Painting can be a cost effective way to add value to a home. If you are planning to paint over existing paint, know what type of paint is currently on the walls and prepare it properly for the application of the fresh coat of paint. Flooring is a bit more complicated. The type of flooring and installation materials may affect the health of your family. Off-gassing (the release of chemical odours) can occur with some types of flooring, glues and sealers. It can take weeks or even months for this chemical release process to end. If this occurs and you list your home immediately afterwords, the effect on buyers could be quite negative even through the renovation may be aesthetically appealing. Bad odours in a home will turn off many buyers as soon as they walk in the door.
These are but a few of the many things to think about before planning to renovate your home. If you are considering renovating before selling your Comox Valley home and want to know more about what types of renovations can add value, contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty for some insights on our local Comox Valley real estate market and the home buyers that are active within it.