From A Woman's Perspective: January 20th, 2024

Friday Jan 19th, 2024


To renovate or not to renovate…’Tis the question

Good morning, Marilyn. After the topic of decluttering, the next most common question I am asked is whether potential home sellers should renovate their homes before selling.

I’ll give you the politician's answer: “It depends.” 

Deciding whether to renovate depends on your priorities: do you want convenience or money?

If you want to push the “easy button,” I assure you that every home, no matter what condition, eventually sells…but the question is, “At what price?” There are lots of investors, contractors and new buyers who are looking for a “fixer upper” if they can get it at a discounted price. 

But the majority of my downsizing clients want to maximize their financial outcome when it comes time to sell their home. They’re counting on the equity they have accrued to fund their retirement lifestyle and provide for the future costs of aging. They ask me about installing hardwood floors, taking down the ducky wallpaper border in the den, and if shiny new granite countertops will turn their homes into a cash cow or into a money pit!

In providing counsel, I advise them to think like a buyer. Who is moving into their neighbourhood? It’s not them! Their buyers are likely young professionals with children, too little time and too much debt to take on huge renovation projects. Like everyone, they are looking for the biggest bang for their buck. In the buyer’s world, this means the biggest home in the best condition at the lowest price. By the way, if you see a home for sale in your neighbourhood that isn’t selling

, it’s likely because the buyer public has voted with their feet. They have said, not this home in this condition at this price.

My advice to downsizing clients is to skip the granite countertops in favour of more basic improvements that will pay off big time when it’s time to sell. Here are my top 3 things, from least to most important, that homeowners should do to increase their resale value:


3. Cosmetic improvements: Things like refreshing interior and exterior paint; updating light fixtures and flooring. This is the time to neutralize decor, refreshen and broaden the visual appeal of your home to attract buyers who will be seeing your home for the first time online.

2. Taking care of known defects and repairs: If you know something is broken, it needs to be repaired. If it leaks, squeaks or has stopped working - remember, I am talking about your house, not your spouse! - now is the time to address it, before it costs you buyers who vote with their feet, or at the negotiating table when all is revealed after the buyer’s home inspector’s report. 

1. Decluttering! No surprise here, for your listeners, Marilyn. I’m going to fib and tell you that every bag or box that is taken out of the house before listing it for sale is worth $100. I don’t actually know the value, but my experience tells me that decluttering is the #1 thing homeowners can do to increase resale value. Properties look and feel bigger, brighter and buyers can actually appreciate the unchanging features they are buying. 

If you’re wondering what improvements will bring the biggest payoff at sale time, I have two offers for your listeners, Marilyn.

First, we have a wonderful webinar this Wednesday that is chock-full of practical suggestions, before and after pictures, budget models and checklists. It’s called, “Best Renos for ROI.” There is a link on our website, to register, or anyone interested can call me at 416-460-5636 for more information. We’ll send you the workbook that goes with it too, when people register.

The second offer is for a downsizing consultation. This is a 30-minute in-home visit in which I provide downsizers with an individual assessment of what changes, if any, I recommend to improve sale price. I’ll follow up with a custom report with suggestions conveniently organized into MUST DO, SHOULD DO and COULD DO, along with a list of contractors who I have personally vetted to carry out the work in a timely, professional and reasonable manner.

Again, reach out to me at 416-460-5636 and we can set up a time for me to pop by. I’ll even bring coffee!

Visit for more information. Like everything at SMART Realty Solutions, it’s free of cost or obligation.

Sign Up For Our Best Renos For ROI Webinar Here!


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