Sell Your Property for More with These Upgrades

The Strategic Improvements Used by Savvy Sellers

Photo by Petra Keßler on Unsplash

When you sell a car, you don’t take photos before cleaning the old receipts out of the console. You don’t let someone come see it before you’ve wiped the dust off the dash and taken it through a carwash.

By spending $10 on the wash and an hour of your time cleaning it up, you might get another $1000 on the sale price of the car. Totally worth it. But would you pay to have new tires put on? Replace the brakes? Rebuild the engine?

There’s obviously a limit to what you ought to invest in something before you sell it and that limit lives right on the line of expense vs return. You wouldn’t spend $10,000 to rebuild the engine of a clapped out 1993 Honda Civic because no one would pay that extra $10,000 in light of the repair. You would lose money.

The same question can be asked of a piece of Real Estate: What investments are likely to increase the sale price by more than their own cost?

Start with the Kitchen

According to a Canada-wide survey of Real Estate Agents, the kitchen is the best place to start, with respondents reporting that a new kitchen can increase the sale price by up to 12%. Both ranking second, a finished basement or a new bathroom has the potential to increase a property’s value between 2.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, depending on the property and the level of improvement.

Pools and decks offer the lowest return at around 2.5%, or worse. Pools may even deter some potential buyers. It should come as no surprise, then, that most experts recommend focusing on the interior for the majority of your renovations. With that said, I would still encourage sellers to assess their curb appeal. A big difference can be made with an afternoon and a couple of shrubs.

Protip: You might not even have to buy new plants, just transplant them from the back yard to the front to add some character.

Boring is Better

Apart from deciding where to spend your money, it is important to consider how to implement the changes you embark upon. Choosing neutral colors and de-personalizing the space will help with the most important factor to a residential property: imagination. Home buyers need to be able to see themselves in the space. It’s intangible and often elusive to nail down but anything you can do to make the place into a blank canvas will help buyers project their own life onto it.

You really have to nail it when it comes to decor. It’s easily the best way to mobilize your capital before a sale. That’s why I always bring in a professional stager before the photographer for my seller clients’ properties. A great stager will help pick out colors, re-arrange furniture, and maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Check out this article we wrote with our stager for some quick fixes that will improve the look of your home for virtually no cost.

TL;DR? Here’s a rundown of the top renovation projects and their estimated price improvements:

Andrew Baker is a Registered Realtor and Real Estate Investment coach with a proven track record of leveraging the four unfair advantages of Real Estate for his clients. Connect with his team on Facebook and for more investing protips and 1-on-1 consulting.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker


Real Estate Salesperson & Investment Analyst 📍Kitchener, ON