Monday, February 4, 2019

Staying put or pulling up stakes? Here’s how to improve your home’s current value

To sell, or not to sell —that is the question in today’s shifting real estate market.

From rising interest rates, to mortgage stress tests, to the speculation tax, predicting what’s next for B.C.’s housing market is a complex task at best. The federal government has moved seven times since 2008 to tighten rules surrounding real estate transactions, including capping maximum debt loads and reducing amortization periods.
With a 25 per cent downturn in sales activity across the province in 2018 and a modest rise in 2019 property assessments (with a possible corresponding surge in listings), many homeowners are opting to invest in their current home rather than sell at this time.

A recent poll by CIBC showed that last year, nearly half of homeowners preferred to stay in their residences and renovate rather than list them. That number rose to 71 per cent for homeowners aged 55 and over. The poll also revealed that the most popular renos are basic maintenance (52 per cent); landscaping (39 per cent); and bathroom upgrades (39 per cent).

We consulted with the experts and came back with these top picks for adding the best value to your home in 2019.
Back to basics
Take care of basic maintenance and repairs, such as clearing gutters and ensuring drains are functioning properly and consider performing some utility upgrades. The lives of the furnace and hot water tank are often top of mind in a tight market. You could also install energy-efficient items like LED lightbulbs and low-flow shower heads, taps and toilets. While they seem like small changes, these kinds of thoughtful upgrades will save homeowners money in the long run.
Tried and true
No matter what kind of housing market we’re heading into this year, new kitchens and bathrooms never go out of style. A kitchen remodel can cost upwards of $25,000, and a bathroom makeover hovers around $10,000. But the return on investment on these rooms alone is among the highest of all home improvements, with an average recovery rate of 75-100 per cent, according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada.
Home suite home
Whether it’s for extra income or extra space, home expansions are becoming a priority. You can modify your home’s floor plan, remove walls to modernize and open up space or add more square footage by finishing a basement, building a sunroom or converting an attic. A basement renovation offers an enormous opportunity for added value, and depending on zoning and bylaws in your area, you could earn even more money by renting out the new space as a suite. This could help offset the impact of rising interest rates.
Get grounded
For a fresh look, nothing beats new flooring. Removing old carpeting and installing hardwood, laminate or tile can reap rewards when it comes time to sell. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of removing old flooring, and make sure the subfloors are in solid condition.
Curb appeal
The outside of your home is the first thing people see, and prospective buyers are more likely to want to purchase your home if it looks inviting. This could include tidying up and landscaping your yard, planting shrubs and trees, repainting the outside of your home and adding outdoor lighting. Never underestimate seemingly small renovation jobs. A fresh coat of paint commands up to a 165 per cent ROI, the best return of any home improvement project.
If you have questions about your home’s current value or whether you should stay or sell, contact a RE/MAX agent. You can also find out what your home is worth in today’s market using the RE/MAX Home Estimate Tool.Note that the tool is not an official appraisal of a home, nor can it be used to obtain a loan; to have your home legally appraised, contact a RE/MAX agent.
The bottom line? Spending money on your home can increase its value, regardless of whether you decide to stay or sell. If renovations are a goal of yours this year, be sure to keep the projects on track. Be clear about what will (and won't) be part of your renovation, spend time researching costs, stick to your budget and never be afraid to consult the experts.

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