Many homeowners can attest to the fact that, once you buy a piece of property, the hard part is not quite over yet. While it still is exciting and fun to decorate, organize and plan for the future, homes require a lot of work and upkeep. Even if you don’t plan on making another move for a long time, here are some easy renovations that can help increase the value when you do decide to sell.

1) If you paint it, they will come

A fresh coat of paint will make a tired kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom look brand new. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to liven up a space, especially if there are noticeable marks on the walls in high-traffic areas. Even if you are just touching up a white wall, or adding a splash of colour, aesthetics matter. Picking a colour – the most fun and challenging part – is a personal preference, but it’s best to consult with an expert on for interior design tips and trends.

2) Landscaping

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Image credit: Pinterest

If you have a front or back yard, consider investing a small amount of money into your green space. You don’t have to hire a professional, but even spending a few hundred dollars can make a noticeable difference. A well-maintained lawn, some trimmed shrubs, or a tree can help make your home more attractive to potential buyers before they step through your front door. If you have a green thumb, odds are you’ll recognize a weed when you see one. Take the time to deweed your garden regularly to avoid it becoming overrun. While it is hard to predict when the housing market will rise or fall, experts at Realtor.ca advise that “winter sales tend to be slower, and spring sales are brisker”. If you are aiming to put your house on the market in the warmer months, having a pretty yard is a sure way to garner attention.

3) Give the illusion of space

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Mirrors: incredibly useful when checking your appearance before heading out the door, but did you know they can serve a dual purpose in other spaces? Great for smaller rooms, a mirror creates the perception of depth by increasing the size of the space in its reflection. While this is a simple aesthetic addition to a room, it’s worth cleaning up any clutter before adding a mirror. You don’t want buyers seeing double the mess – just double the space.

4) Room of Thrones

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Bathrooms are high up on a list of small spaces to upgrade. The good news is you can get pretty creative when it comes to fixing this space. Don’t have the finances yet for a luxury spa washroom? No problem – you can easily make small changes by replacing your fixtures (towel racks, drawer handles, shower rod, etc.), swapping a trendy shower curtain, and updating your lights. Redoing the caulking and grout is another great way to save on money while keeping up appearances. And, when you take the plunge to replace your toilet, look for low-flush models: they use significantly less water than full-flush toilets, and will help reduce your energy bill.

5) Get cooking with new appliances

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The kitchen is arguably a top contender when considering what to renovate first, and often comes with a high price tag. However, you don’t have to completely gut your dining space in order to achieve a nicer look. Updating your appliances to stainless steel, energy efficient models not only looks attractive, but will also appeal to buyers who are conscious of cutting down costs on their electricity bills. Adding a new coat of paint, replacing the backsplash behind the sink, and de-cluttering your countertops are smaller ways to brighten up one of the most commonly used areas in a house.

6) Set up your basement

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Image credit: The Reno Pros

Your basement can often be neglected and become a place for storage (and in extreme cases, monsters). Many expecting parents or new families will want a space for their kids to play, relax, or just entertain. If you work from home, it’s also a great use of space to set up a home office. Focus on keeping your basement dry, insulated, and if you have low ceilings, perhaps switch to recessed lighting fixtures to create more overhead space. Either way, having a finished basement in your house will take some stress away from younger couples planning on growing their family.

7) Floors

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Replacing carpets and rugs, or installing hardwood flooring can get expensive. Carpets are pretty high-maintenance, attract dust, stains, and also look worn down with time and tread. Start small by scoping out which room(s) you think require the most attention. Replace that shaggy, dusty carpet with something a bit more up-to-date, or consider opting for hardwood floors and an area rug.

Hardwood floors are beautiful, and very modern, but do require sanding and refinishing as they age. Depending on your budget, you can turn this into a DIY project with friends by doing some research, and consulting an expert about which stains and tools you need. A new carpet, area rug, or brand new floors can work wonders when showing off your home in an open house.

8) Let there be light

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From switching your light bulbs to LEDs, to updating your blinds, you’ll want to show off your home in a favourable way by letting some light in. Automated lighting, complete with dimmer switches, is becoming popular in North America. This “smart home” update will also help you save on energy costs, and will directly benefit whoever moves in next. As for natural lighting, if you still have heavy fabric drapes, it’s time to make the switch to shades or Venetian blinds. Opt for a lighter material, and a trendier style, to help brighten the space and rid your living room or den of unnecessary dust.

9) Is it accessible?

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Image credit: Homedit

Accessibility can also be overlooked when you are renovating. Your house is a long-term investment, and even if you don’t plan on retiring in the same space, it’s a good idea to help ensure the next owners don’t have to completely gut your perfectly stained, but narrow, wooden stairs. Consider installing a walk-in shower instead of a step-in tub – this will help elderly family members, and is also wheelchair friendly. If the stairs will become a challenge, perhaps create a bedroom on the main floor of your house. Inspect your doorways and walkways to check if they are wide enough, and make sure your stairs are up to code and not too steep or slippery.

10) Going green

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Regardless of what you decide to renovate first, it’s important to consider the environmental impact and energy footprint of your home. Many households are making the switch to greener appliances, energy efficient home systems (such as learning thermostats), better-insulated windows, solar panels – you name it. Going green will not only help you save money while you are living in your home, but it is a major bonus for potential buyers.

You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles – starting with small upgrades will still lead to big savings and a wider interest from buyers in the future.

Posted by Ayla Lefkowich