I don’t know where you are, but the housing market in Canada is red hot. Most would agree that its even inflated, but never the less its a hot buyers and sellers market. While in United States, home prices are recovering from the financial crisis, here in Canada they’ve enjoyed a much welcomed growth.
Just looking at the recent municipal home assessment my parents received, in 2006 their home was valued at $290,000. This year’s municipal assessment values the home at $410,000 – an increase of $120,000 or $20,000 per year.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the sellers market and want to sell your home in 2013, or at least want to see its value increase, here are a few resolutions to set for the new year. Focus on aesthetic changes such as curb appeal and then move to kitchens and bathrooms, where buyers tend to pay the most attention. Although you may not want to get into heavy landscaping and other yard work until you’re ready to sell, think about what your house looks like from the street. Does it look like a warm and inviting place to live? Or is your home dominated by overgrown shrubbery, stagnant colors and yellowed grass?
While a major kitchen overhaul may net you 70 percent return on investment, minor kitchen improvements such as adding new cabinet hardware, installing a new faucet and reorganizing your kitchen items to keep appliances off the counter tops can make a big difference — and cost a lot less than a major overhaul. So, baring that in mind, here are 5 ways to increase the value of your home:
1. Pick the Right Neighborhood
It’s hard to be the good guy when you’re surrounded by bad guys. The same goes for your home. It’s very hard to sell your home for it’s true value when homes on your street are in foreclosure or you live a sub-par neighborhood that consist of government housing homes. If you live in a desirable area, you can expect your home to be worth a lot more than if you live in an area where homes are sub-par.
The lesson here is simple: If you live in a neighborhood that’s not truly yet desirable, it may be worth waiting until property values in the area increase before putting your home on the market. That’s the beautiful part about Real Estate – it always bounces back up. Finally, your mortgage will likely be more affordable when in the right neighborhood – fancier neighborhoods generally means more expensive mortgages. Certainly nobody ever dreams of having their home repossessed due to faulty mortgage payments. But even knowing this, far too many buys buy more home or in neighborhoods that they can’t afford. Leeds Building Society Mortgage Guide graphic illustrates the right way to go about purchasing, selling and getting the right mortgage for your home.
2. Focus on Aesthetic Changes
Certain parts of your home will net you more in return than others. Most difficult areas and the one most desired by buyers are the bathroom and kitchen. They’re difficult to renovate and require the most capital. But you don’t need to spend thousands in upgrades in order to gain the most buck on the sale of your home. It’s all about aesthetic changes such as:
- Exterior of your home and basic landscaping
- Basic upgrades such as new faucet, cabinet hardware and basic cosmetic touch-ups
- Clean appliances and clean everything else
3. Address Buyer Expectations
All buyers have very basic expectations for a home they are interested in purchased. I can confidently say that every single home buyer looks for the following:
- Efficient plumbing
- Newer roof
- Clean siding
- Clean and clutter free home
- Less carpet and more bare floor such as tile or hardwood floor
- Stainless steel appliances over basic white or black appliances
- Granite counter tops
- Newer or at least newer looking garage doors
So if you’re still relying on your old white stove and chipping laminate counter tops, your property probably won’t fetch as much in price as that of your neighbors even though your home may be nicer overall.
4. Consider How to Make Living in Your Home Cheaper
People tend to be more interested in quality, practicality and efficiency. So if you’re looking to make changes in your home, consider ones that would bring down the cost of heating and cooling your home or creating more usable storage space. For example, replace your old door with a steel door or your kitchen cabinets with high-quality, durable materials. Adding a walk-in closet or large pantry also helps increase efficiency.
There are many other ways to increase the value of your home, but I’d say the above list sums it up pretty well. One other thing I’d advise is to talk to your Realtor. Find out how other homes in your neighborhood are selling, and what some other desirable upgrades buyers are looking for when purchasing a home. For instance, a finished basement is almost always going to increase the value of your home by some degree, but it may not be worth the investment if buyers don’t expect or care about a finished basement. A real estate agent or broker can also point out specific areas of your home that you should focus on. Anytime you do any upgrades to your home, think of the value that upgrade may bring and whether it’s worth it to go all out.
Readers, could you recommend any other ways to increase the value of your home?
Cheers and thanks for reading!