Add Resale Value to Your House

Toronto Real Estate News

Selling a house is a daunting task — especially when the competition is tight. Sellers are looking for ways to make their homes more attractive to potential buyers as well as increase their resale value, so they often take on costly home improvement projects. Of course, home improvements can increase the value of your house and make it stand out from the competition. But you should keep in mind that not all home improvement projects will add resale value to your house. On the contrary, in some cases, you might even discourage potential buyers with your high-end upgrades and a house that's obviously overbuilt for the neighbourhood. Still, there are improvements that could increase your home's resale value. Here are some tips.

Exterior: Siding, Doors, Deck, and Windows

Potential buyers don’t want houses that need expensive repairs. The outside of your house gives the first sign about the overall health and condition of your home. A positive first impression is the key to success. Replacing the worn exterior features of your house — such as siding, front doors, and a new deck — doesn't have to be expensive, but it definitely pays off. Sal Alfano is the editorial director of Remodelling Magazine. Every year, the magazine releases a "Cost vs. Value Report," an assessment of the returns on investment of different home renovation projects. He suggested for MSN Real Estate,

Replacement projects are really strong because they’re cheap and they make the house look good immediately. If you get new windows, new siding and replace the front door, the house looks great. It sells faster and for more money.

Front door by Casey Konstantin
Front door by Casey Konstantin

According to the 2013 "Cost vs. Value Report," replacing an entry door with a mid-level 20-gauge steel door pays back 85.6 per cent of the job cost. Replacing exterior siding with upscale fibre cement recoups 79.3 per cent of the cost, and adding a wooden deck pays back 77.3 per cent. An upscale vinyl window replacement will return 71.2 per cent. Plus, all of these improvements will significantly increase your home's curb appeal and your chances of getting a good deal. The report added,

The use of durable, low-maintenance materials in replacement products appeals to home buyers who increasingly are looking to reduce both the operational cost and maintenance cost in their homes.

Remodelling the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home and an important factor influencing potential buyers. A kitchen renovation is one of the best ways to increase your home's resale value. The 2013 "Cost vs. Value Report" suggested that a minor kitchen renovation pays back 75.4 per cent of the job cost, while a major kitchen renovation recoups 59.7 per cent of the cost. As we can see, minor kitchen upgrades pay off more than major projects.  

Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient stainless steel appliances. Install new cabinets, sinks, and counter tops if needed. Save money by addressing only the basics and keeping the renovation neutral in colour and style for the widest appeal.

Kitchen by Chalon Handmade 1
Kitchen by Chalon Handmade

So which minor kitchen improvements will increase your house's resale value? Well, to start, you can replace the kitchen faucet, add new cabinet door handles, and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient options. Plus, you can replace outdated appliances with new energy-efficient models. Giving the cabinets a face-lift might be a good idea as well. Gwen Moran, serial remodeller and the co-author of Build Your Own Home on a Shoestring, remarked for,

Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company. Many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes, then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.

You should keep in mind that your kitchen shouldn't look fancier than the rest of the house or the rest of the neighbourhood. An overpriced and overbuilt kitchen won’t pay back as much as you would like. Potential buyers might not want to pay extra for a high-end kitchen if the rest of the house doesn't follow suit.  


Just like the kitchen, the bathroom is often a deal-breaker. Buyers pay a lot of attention to the condition and design of the bathroom. It’s very important that the room look new and pristine. Nothing discourages buyers more than a poorly maintained bathroom.  

Plus, many homebuyers are looking for an upscale bathroom with two sinks, custom showers, and perfect lighting. If your tub and shower look a bit shabby, you should consider re-grouting the tile, replacing any chipped tiles, and refinishing the tub. Update the lighting, flooring, and fixtures. According to the "Cost vs. Value Report," a major investment in a bathroom pays 56.7 per cent back, on average.  

Important details in bathroom by
Important details in bathroom by Polygon Homes

Remodelling a bathroom usually requires lots of work and a bigger budget. But Dennis Gehman of Gehman Design Remodeling in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, pointed out for that sometimes you don't need an extensive budget. He explained,

Giving it new paint, a new toilet, a new shower faucet, and a new shower head is probably the best bang for your buck. But that’s assuming the flooring is nice and the walls around the tub and shower are in good standing condition.

Of course, your bathroom has to be in decent condition, but then you don’t have to invest in costly renovations. Add resale value through several minor improvements.

Attic Bedroom

Turning the attic into a bedroom will pay you back 72.9 per cent, according to the "Cost vs. Value Report." Adding another bedroom means increasing the living space as well as the overall value of your home. Paul Wyman, a real estate agent with Wyman Group in Kokomo, Indiana, pointed out for,

Any time you add additional square footage like that can have a very positive effect on the selling price.

Making a four-bedroom house from a three-bedroom house will reflect on the resale value, so if your attic’s dimensions and your budget allow you to turn it to a bedroom, then you should seriously consider this investment.

Attic Bedroom
Attic Bedroom

Basement Renovations

A basement that isn't taken care of can be an eyesore as well as a waste of space that could turn off potential buyers. Remodelling and finishing a basement offers a 70.3 per cent return on investment and a higher list price. A basement project will add new functionality to your home, increasing storage as well as entertainment and sleeping space. Moreover, it will also cut your heating and cooling costs.

As we can see, investing in home renovation can add resale value to your property — but it's important to consider how much is worth spending. Overpriced home renovation projects won't produce the best return for your time and money. When planning home improvements, keep in mind the overall setting of your home as well as the neighbourhood and try to reflect the needs of potential buyers. Make sure you work with a licensed contractor with a good reputation, and check your home insurance policy before taking on any upgrades.


One thought on “Add Resale Value to Your House

February 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm

This is some great advice, Jamie! Thanks for sharing. So many people are focused on trying to improve their homes in the wrong ways, and end up spending money that they will never recover through the sale. I see that a lot with “flips” as well.

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