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Oh, we love a good renovation and we definitely love home renovation shows – Studio McGee binge session anyone? Seeing home transformations makes us want to roll up our sleeves and dive into some home improvements of our own, especially because we know how quickly simple updates can increase the value of a home. Thankfully, since home transformations are our specialty during the selling process, we can fulfill these urges often while preparing our new home listings for sale.

As enticing as this process can be, we’re not builders. We’re real estate agents. And sometimes, the changes that excite us most aren’t dramatic overhauls—they’re strategic upgrades that will always positively impact the value and appeal of any home. The best part is that all of these updates can be handled by the home owner themselves, or by simply hiring the right trade for that particular project.

If you’re thinking of renovating, you might want to focus on improvements that not only enhance the look and feel of your home, but increase its value on a larger scale.

Here are 5 cheap ways and upgrades that offer major returns on investment.

1) Refinish your kitchen cabinets

A kitchen can make or break a buyer’s decision to purchase a home. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend a fortune to gut and remodel this all-important room. In many cases, focusing on the areas that are most in need updating is your best bet.

In our experience, if you have to refresh just one out-of-date feature, it should be your kitchen cabinets. Because they’re highly visible, unattractive cabinets can make an instant, negative impression on homebuyers.  The good news is, you don’t have to go the full replacement route. We’ve seen fantastic results from refinishing alone.

Recently, we even discovered a secret weapon: spray painting. Spraying your kitchen cabinets will provide a smooth, glossy or matte finish—even on raised panels. There are a number of great companies in the GTA that will pick up your cabinets doors and spray paint them for you. Check out Sharrard Painting, Diamond Spray Finishers, or Awesomewood.

With freshly painted cabinet doors, using the old door handles or pulls will almost always be a mistake. Spend the extra money and source nice new handles. For any style kitchen, our go to is usually a matte black or gold low profile handle – this way it appeals to everyone.

2) Restore your hardwood floors

It’s gorgeous, resilient, and easy to clean. Is it any wonder that home hunters love hardwood flooring?

For many of the buyers we work with, this in-demand feature is more than just nice to have. It’s absolutely necessary. To increase the appeal and overall value of your home, consider replacing less popular flooring types (like linoleum or carpeting) with high-quality hardwood.

Of course, materials and installation can be pricey. While estimates vary, one local flooring shop puts the average total cost for a 1,200-square foot space between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the flooring that is selected.

If you have an older home, you just might be in luck. Houses built prior to 1960 often have hardwood hiding beneath their carpets. To check, try gently loosening and pulling up the carpet in the corner of one of your rooms.  Just be aware that while it’s usually cheaper than installing brand new flooring, the costs of refinishing old hardwood can still add up.

3) Improve your curb appeal

We always tell sellers that first impressions are important. To help buyers see the potential of your home as soon as they lay eyes on it, try upping your curb appeal.

Start with a general clean-up. For a brighter appearance, we suggest pressure washing. You’ll be amazed by how much dust and grime you can lift off of your walkway, front steps, and home exterior. But be forewarned: pressure washers can damage some surfaces. When in doubt, consult with a professional.

To provide a significant boost to your home’s value, you might want to consider replacing your front door as well as any old windows. We recently read that steel-entry doors can provide an incredible 96 per cent return on investment. That said, if you don’t want to do a full replacement, you can still freshen up the appearance of your front door by painting it a memorable colour (like periwinkle blue or fire engine red).

Lastly, whatever you do, don’t neglect your outdoor sitting areas. If you have a front porch that’s looking worse for wear, we suggest sanding and painting it. You’ll probably need an orbital sander. But don’t worry, you won’t have to spend a small fortune to buy one—many home improvement stores rent them out.

4) Do some painting

Although the cost of paining has increased over the years, it’s an incredibly impactful investment that always pays off in the sale price and length of time on the market.  At Nested, we’ve always believed that the right colour can rejuvenate a space, highlighting its best features and create the perfect starting point for staging. Neutral paint walls can instantly freshen up a tired looking room and feature walls of paint or even wallpaper can instantly modernize a space. One of our favourite neutral paint colours is Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White, pair this up with Sherwin Williams Naval for a burst of bold colour and you have a stunning transformation.

In general, we suggest sticking with warm neutrals, such as blueish-greys, beiges, and off-whites. These shades will appeal to most home hunters, making them safe bets.

Recently, we’ve also started sourcing wall paper for accent walls during our home staging process and the results have been amazing. You can also find some great wallpaper deals on Amazon! Yup… Amazon!


5) Optimize your lighting

To say that light matters to homebuyers would be an understatement. Poor lighting conditions can give a home a dingy appearance, and outdated fixtures make an immediate bad impression.

While there’s not much you can do to increase your natural light (short of installing a skylight), you can optimize your interior lighting to improve the overall look of your home. The right designer can help you create an appealing ambiance—a definite selling point if you’re putting your home on the market.

Of course, investing in professional design can be expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of do-it-yourself options. Specifically, we recommend replacing any dim bulbs in your home with brighter versions that cast white light.

When it comes to fixtures, light conversion kits can help you upgrade quickly and inexpensively (enabling you to convert recessed lighting to pendant fixtures, for example). The best part? You can find these kits at most home improvement stores.

Thinking of putting your home on the market? Get in touch, and we can help! Ask us about the value of your home—and how to get it show-ready!

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