How to Help Sellers Increase the Value of Their Home

When Canadians are ready to sell their homes, they turn to REALTORS® for expert advice, negotiation skills and market knowledge—all in the pursuit of selling their property at a good price.

As REALTORS®, we know how to market a property to get top dollar, but there are things clients can do before they list to help increase the value of their home.

Couple working on home

Do renovations increase home value?

For the average homeowner, it can be risky to undertake renovations or home improvements solely to increase their home’s resale value. The return on investment from renovations can be negative, even after a big, beautiful remodel.

The thing is, prospective buyers may not like certain styles and designs, so a renovation could actually backfire and deter people from buying the property. If your client owns an older property that needs work, it might be better to just get it up to the original spec and leave it as a blank slate. That way, a new owner can come in and decorate, renovate, or otherwise make the place their own.

For example, we had a prospective seller renovate and added new, very dark and bold floors. Potential buyers said they loved the apartment but dislike the floors. The seller could have left the floors as is—clean and in good condition—and a buyer would have simply replaced them if they’d wanted to.

Family painting home

Ways to possibly increase home value

A great way to increase the value of a home is to maintain or repair it to its original, new condition. Be sure to remove any nicks or scratches from the walls, and clean and paint them so they look fresh and new.

You want to achieve a look that avoids attracting just a small group of people. Cross-culture appeal is criticalso, when decorating or preparing a property for sale, focus on that wide audience and not just one niche group or market.

To appeal to a broad audience and increase your client’s property value, consider the following:

  • Paint – The walls should look fresh and new. Neutral, light colours appeal to the broadest possible audience, which is the goal. Bright or dark colours aren’t great for the average buyer.
  • Flooring – If they have carpet, consider upgrading to hardwood or high-end engineered flooring. High-quality laminate might work, but it can often look cheap and worse than carpet. If your clients don’t want to replace the flooring, ensure it’s in good repair and clean.
  • Furniture – Avoid overstuffed, large pieces of furniture. Instead, go with smaller pieces with right angles. Light coloured glass or chrome is ideal: they make pieces look smaller and spaces look larger, creating a greater perception of value.
  • New appliances – If your client’s place is older, adding new appliances can make it so much more attractive to buyers. Appliances must look good and present well. They should not only be functional but, to minimize clutter, they should actually replace décor in the kitchen. Though more expensive, stainless steel is the best option, since white appliances don’t look as high-end.
  • Window coverings – Often, smaller homes or condos look best for resale with a clean, minimalist, modern lookroller blinds or Venetians are best. Traditionalism today is usually ideal only for older markets, which aren’t necessarily the target for urban dwellings. Remember, even if your clients think the neutral, modern look is boring, others may not.
Steam clean carpets

Sometime the simplest things can have the greatest return on investment, as does making a property appeal to the broadest possible audience. Luckily, simple often means inexpensive.

Your clients don’t have to invest in a full renovation or remodel to help increase the value of a home. One way to help increase home value is to get the place in good condition. Do this by making basic repairs and getting the place as clean as possible. Or, as mentioned above, simply adding a fresh coat of paint and steam cleaning the carpets can make all the difference.

When your clients are ready to list their home, don’t underestimate the importance of staging. Virtual staging platforms or an online staging consultation can help present the home in a pleasant, neutral way while following COVID-19 guidelines.

Buyers can then see the home as move-in ready without having to make any repairs and still have that blank slate to make updates in the future that will suit their style and make the place their own.

View more tips for sellers on REALTOR.ca and be sure to share them with your clients.

Mike Stewart is a REALTOR® and an award-winning real estate professional in Vancouver, British Columbia. His focus is on the condos, townhouses, and houses in and around Downtown Vancouver. As a born and bred Vancouverite, he has lived in many areas of the city and is passionate about Vancouver and real estate in the city. His professional service, detailed knowledge of Vancouver’s property market, and strong real estate marketing skills get his clients the best deal possible whether buying or selling real estate in Vancouver.


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