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Your home is your biggest investment. Don’t enter renovations without considering whether it will add value to your home when you sell it one day.

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If you’re renovating your home, it’s important to not just think about what you want, but how you can achieve that while adding value to your future selling price.

After all, what’s the point of renovating and spending thousands of dollars if it’s work that won’t be appreciated by future buyers? This is a big investment in the biggest investment of your life, so taking the time to really consider the consequences is just good business.

Here are some areas where adding value is a big bonus to the added convenience:

The kitchen

The kitchen is a heart of the modern home. We eat, cook, chat, entertain, and do so much more. By adding space, function, and/or flow to the kitchen, along with cosmetic upgrades and new appliances, you’re assured of high return on your investment. Think about counters, cupboards, new layouts, and flooring. They’ll all have a good return when it comes to selling at a not-too-distant date.

Basic maintenance

Curb appeal can’t be ignored. If your home isn’t attracting people before they even walk in, you’re likely to suffer delays in selling it. Your landscaping should include well-tended to gardens with pruned trees, mowed lawn, and if you can get some seasonal flowers happening, that’s even better.

If they can see it, deal with it. This means fasten loose gutters and rails, clean what can be cleaned, and get rid of any unneeded clutter in the yards.

Just don’t get nutty with landscaping, because it typically doesn’t add value if you’re sticking fancy trees in. Just maintain it well.

Consider an addition

If there’s a way to add a sunroom, work studio, or convert any unused space to living space, then this is the kind of remodeling that’s gold in the reselling phase.

Some realtors will tell you that the cost of converting an unused basement to a functioning place can pay off at almost 3:1 for the investment. Add-ons also bring quite a bit of return, but not at that level usually. If you’re taking living space from 1,800 square feet up to 2,800 or something, think about just how many more potential buyers that gives you.

Cosmetic improvements

Bedrooms are pretty much a waste of your money in the resale era, except when it comes to having flooring and paint in good condition. Paint throughout the house, especially outside, does a lot to raise your value. Some say it’s a 5:1 return on any money spent if you’ve repainted the whole place. After all, everyone likes a pretty place.

If you’re planning to sell in the next couple of years, buy an extra gallon of every paint color you use, just to make sure you’ll have enough for future touch-ups, and invest in better quality paint with a hardy cleaning rating.

happy at home couple front door open

Other things, like replacing door handles and drawer pulls and even lightswitches, can do a lot to update the appeal of your home without requiring a huge investment of time or money. These are the little things that make it look like you’ve done more than you have and can bring your whole space into a new decade.

Bathrooms: vanity counts

Next to the kitchen, this is a spot that people will really judge your home for. No one likes a crappy bathroom, am I right? The problem is, people are so picky about bathrooms that the only way you get a huge return is if it’s an amazing space. Typically, there’s a modest return on bathroom investments.

The good news is, it’s the details people will look harder at. If the toilet and bathing facilities are in good shape, then it’s lighting, heated towel racks, and other little details that will sell them. If there are any trouble spots, fix them. If you can do cosmetic fixes like paint, hardware, a new mirror, and such, go for it. If it’s possible to update other fixtures, it might be worth the money, and will likely make your place an easier sell when it lands on the market.

Knocking down walls

There’s a push-back on open-plan living as people realize it’s sometimes an intimidating way to live and leaves life at home with fewer defining spaces, so I’d argue that knocking down a bunch of walls isn’t as appealing as it once was. Still, there are a lot of badly-planned homes out there with more walls than they need, and when there’s an option to get rid of a non-load-bearing wall or two, you should strongly consider going for it because it does give the illusion of a bigger home.

Outdoor living space

A terrific way to add value and quality of life at the same time is to make an outdoor living space complete with a kitchen/grill area. If it can seat a few people, have built-in lighting, nice landscaping, and more, you’ll not just be selling a nice yard to the future buyers — you’ll be selling them a lifestyle. Meanwhile, you can enjoy it yourself for months and months every year until that day.

Adding value is about convenience first

Things like pools, hot tubs, they’re not big value-adders, as much as some people might think. It limits your market more because often these are time-consuming, expensive items to be responsible for, and many people don’t want either the cost or hassle.

In the end, it’s all about you for now. No sense doing a remodel you don’t love just because you’re obsessed over the bottom line. If you create a space you love, odds are there’s someone else out there who’ll love it too.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.