Home improvements can lead to big payoffs

You don’t have to spend a lot to reap the benefits of simple home updates

Home renovation may seem financially daunting, but making certain improvements to your property can be rewarding – especially when it comes time to put your home on the market. “If your house shows extremely well, it’s going to be a lot easier to sell,” explains Dan Cooper, a real estate agent with more than 20 years of experience selling homes in Oakville and Burlington, Ont. “For every dollar you spend on home improvements, you’re bound to get two dollars back when you sell.”

But you don’t have to invest a lot of time and money to see that return – making some small updates to your home can help increase its value in the long run. Here are six ways to get the most out of simple home improvements.

Lighting

“Lighting is one of the first things people notice when they walk into your house,” Cooper says. Swapping out older light fixtures for newer modern ones can refresh the look of your home and add value to the property. But you don’t have to drop a lot of cash to make a big impact – Cooper says spending $150 on a contemporary fixture can make a big impact.

Counter tops

A whole-kitchen renovation can be costly and time-consuming, but doing something as simple as updating your countertops can increase the value of your home. “It’s harder than you think to sell homes these days that don’t have beautiful countertops,” Cooper explains, adding that granite is what most purchasers look for. “Granite is very affordable right now, adds huge value to your home and makes it much easier to sell.”

Hardwood flooring

Homes with hardwood flooring tend to be easier to sell in today’s market, Cooper says. Some varieties of hardwood are available for as low as $2-3 per square foot, which can make this a good investment. If you want to install hardwood floors yourself, look for prefinished boards to save on time and effort.

Windows

“From a long-term perspective, it makes great sense to spend the money to install really good windows in your property,” Cooper says. Not only can quality windows increase the resale value of your property, they’ll also help you save on energy costs while you’re still living in your home. To get the most out of your investment, look for windows with energy efficient, low-emission, argon-filled glass, and make sure they have a long-term warranty.

Paint

A new coat of paint can be the most affordable way to improve the look of your home. It’s easy to do yourself over a weekend or two, and it’s time well spent – fresh paint can help make your home feel modern and updated. Cooper says that taupes and earth tones are popular, especially if you want to put your home on the market. Whatever colour you choose, make sure to select a finish that’s appropriate for your room and lifestyle. An eggshell finish might be best for low-traffic living rooms, whereas an easy-to-clean satin finish could be more appropriate for a playroom or bathroom.

Genworth Canada’s Purchase Plus Improvements Program

Genworth Canada makes it easy to make improvements to your new home as soon as you take possession of the property. Qualified home owners can add up to $40,000 to their mortgage to use for renovations, while taking advantage of low interest rates. Plus, you’ll enjoy the convenience of making one monthly mortgage payment.

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