|Everyone loves to update their
homes, and if you live in an older home in an appreciating
neighborhood, it can be a fantastic investment. There are
some pitfalls to avoid, which can cost a homeowner quite a
bit of money because of no return on investment. However,
it's better to focus on what TO do and stay the course.
1. Raise the Roof!!!
Not literally, but gut the attic, and raise the ceiling
in, at least, the living room. Older homes typically have 8
foot ceilings, and it's one of the first characteristics
that buyers notice. It's relatively inexpensive, when you
compare your return on investment, to demolish the ceilings
of your older home and sheetrock over your new, vaulted
ceiling. It's amazing how much larger and lighter your home
2. Knock Down Walls
Literally, knock down as many walls as you can and still
retain the integrity of the home, and the NECESSARY
separation of rooms. If you compare older homes to newer
homes, you'll notice that older homes are typically "choppy"
while newer homes feel "open and flow well." This is due to
"line of sight." Newer homes opt for less separation in
rooms. You can create this same feeling by demolishing a
half-wall that separates your kitchen from the living room
or knocking down the wall between the living room and dining
room to create one grand room. You'll be AMAZED at the
difference it makes.
3. Overhaul Your Kitchen and/or Master Bathroom
These are the two rooms in the house that you can ALMOST
go overboard and still get your money back when you sell the
home. Refinish or replace the cabinetry, put in new tile and
sinks - even install a new, stand-up shower! When (or if)
you put your home on the market, you should see a GREAT
return on investment.
4. Add a Master Bathroom
The 1-Bathroom houses from the 1970's and earlier are now
obsolete. Canadians have decided that we like a private
bathroom for ourselves and another bathroom for our guests
and children. While 90% of the house additions are bad ideas
because they don't flow well or create poorly usable space,
a master bathroom addition is a fantastic way to add more
square footage, and more value to your home. Make SURE that
your builder ties in the new slab to the old, and make sure
that the addition is done properly. A poorly designed or
executed addition never adds value - most buyers immediately
imagine demolishing the work.
5. Xeriscape Your Lawn
It's trendy, it's cheap - it should be a go! Your homes
curb appeal is the first thing that buyers notice, and it's
how buyers decide whether or not they'll "click on your
house" online to further investigate the interior. You can
xeriscape a ¼ acre lot for around $3000, and you'll more
than make up for that when your home goes on the market.
Furthermore, it's environmentally & fiscally responsible.
Stop wasting water!
It's fairly obvious, but painting your home modern,
neutral colors makes a HUGE difference in the appearance of
the home. And when you factor in the cost - it would be a
HUGE mistake to forego painting your home when you decide
it's time to modernize it. If you're planning on staying in
the home for some time, paint it whatever colors you wish,
but plan on repainting right before it's time to put it up
for sale. If you plan on updating your home in order to sell
it, go with neutral colors so that it will appeal to the
7. Put in Wood Floors
You won't ALWAYS get your money out of installing wood
floors. If you're in a great area, and it's time to replace
the floors, look at the cost difference between tile,
laminate, and wood. If the cost difference between wood and
your other options is negligible, then go with wood - it
appeals to the most buyers.
Updating your older home can be very fun, very rewarding,
and potentially very lucrative. Older homes in established
neighborhoods are ripe for updating and can draw a premium
on the marketplace. Make sure and follow these guidelines,
and you should see a great return on your investment.