3 Improvements NOT To Do Before Selling Your Home

By: Thomas Cook

3 Improvements NOT To Do Before Selling Your Home

It’s tempting… install new hardwood floors, add in a new granite countertop, build in new closet organizers, hang new window coverings… all the things you’ve always wanted to do to your suite.

A typical buyer often has three problems when it comes to doing renovations, and this especially applies to first-time buyers who have no experience whatsoever.  

First, the thought of doing any renos scares them because they have no idea what things cost and they almost always estimate the expense as twice as much as it really is.  Second, they’re often busy, busy people and have no time to do things themselves and third, after paying their down payment and closing costs, they’re totally out of money.

So how do you get past these problems when there are some deficiencies in your home?  Is it to just swallow a bullet and go ahead and do them regardless of cost?

BUT, hold on, it’s not uncommon that those upgrades are too expensive and won’t give you a positive return on your investment.  AND, maybe they won’t appeal to the buyers anyway!

Sometimes things are better left as they are.  Once client, before he called us, thought he had a great deal on price so he went ahead and installed new hardwood flooring throughout his 1 + den condo suite.  All would be good maybe except the colour he chose was not a good one.  

Turns out it was end-of-the-line stock at a cheap price.  It actually turned buyers off of the suite and we ended up having to discount the price so a new buyer could install their own.

That’s always the danger with more costly fix-ups… the buyer may not like what you’ve chosen.

Flooring No-No - What we’ve done successfully in the past with less-than-perfect floors is to get a quote from a couple of hardwood floor suppliers for the cost to supply and install new flooring.  Don’t do the work… just get a quote.  Then we’d market the home with those quotes in hand to demonstrate to buyers what it would actually cost to finish the job.

Sometimes that’s enough to get the deal done.  Other times we’ve said… pay us $XXX more for the condo suite and we’ll replace the hardwood floors before closing and the buyer gets to pick the colour themselves.  This way the purchaser gets the improvement rolled in to their mortgage for only an additional $4.20 per thousand of that cost per month.

Kitchen No-No - It will never give you a $+ return on investment to completely replace kitchen cabinets or install granite counters everywhere to get rid of the laminate version UNLESS your kitchen is one of only a few left in your condominium building that still have the old originals left in them.

As part of our market pricing analysis we’d do for you, we would discuss the features other sold suites had compared to yours.  It’s only AFTER completing this analysis that we would suggest remedies for your kitchen situation based on your competition.

Closet No-No - Let’s say your closets were last upgraded back in the stone age when all people had were a couple of loincloths and storage space is miniscule.  Should you invest in improving them before listing?

There are some terrific companies in TO such as California Closets or Organized Interiors who will do a fantastic job with redoing closets but they’re not cheap.  Costs will range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more and the results will be spectacular.

So we have to ask ourselves… would a typical buyer pay that much extra for the enhanced closet space?  The practical, cost-effective solution to crappy closet storage would probably be either a Home Depot or Ikea choice of closet organizer which will improve what you have but not cost a whole lot.

Bottom Line - Although improvements like these would certainly make your condo suite more saleable, they probably would not positively influence your bottom line very much and they might hurt it.

IF you were asking me if you should do these kinds of work just after you moved in or when you still had a few years left before you planned to upgrade to a new home, and you would have an opportunity to enjoy these types of improvements yourself, my answer would probably, but not for sure, be totally different.  

In those situations, you’re not strictly looking at return-on-investment numbers but at personal enjoyment!

Whenever you even just start to have a passing thought about selling, call us over to do a Room-By-Room review for you.  It will take 20-30 minutes to do a walk-through and have a coffee and you might end up saving a lot of money.