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6 Upgrades That Add Big Value to Your Condo

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Whether you’re getting ready to put your condo on the market or just looking for ways to add value to your home investment, it’s important to consider upgrades. As you probably know by now, not all upgrades, renovations, and remodels are created equal — some will offer great returns (sometimes you can even recuperate more than 100% of what you spent) while others will ultimately cost you more money in the long run. So, which upgrades actually do add big value to your condo? We did a little digging, and the pros all say that these 5 are your best bet if you want to see your money well spent.

Bathroom Renovation

Nothing can turn away a potential buyer or lower the value of your condo faster than an out-of-date bathroom that needs some serious TLC. In fact, the professionals recommend (if you’ve got the money to spend) focusing on the bathroom and kitchen and over all house maintenance above all else. (If the walls need painting, paint. If the floor is cracked, fix it, and so on.) The return is usually rock solid, usually 100% in solid real estate markets and more in competitive buyer markets.

But, a note of caution: don’t go over the top. The tendency for condo owners who can afford to do a total overhaul is to go for luxury. But, professionals warn it’s a mistake. If you’re selling, keeping the design more neutral is preferable to installing finishes that a potential buyer may not personally like as much as you do. If you’re planning on staying, there’s some wiggle room, but think twice about your future selling risk if you end up going with those top-end fixtures and that custom, Tuscan-inspired tile. They could end up hurting your wallet more than helping it.

Hardwood Floors

Although often overlooked, floors are a major selling point for your condo. It’s a less costly investment, but the return is usually positive, typically falling between 80-100%, and realtors say that homes with hardwood floors not only sell faster, but for more money. If you’re looking for a small upgrade that’s beneficial whether you’re staying or going, you can’t go wrong with installing a classic hardwood throughout your condo! Hardwood floors are much easier to deal with than pesky carpet, and better for allergies, too.


The trend now is plank flooring, so if you already have hardwood floors but they are the dated, brown parquet kind, do you need to  replace the floors? Our experts say no. They recommend that you upgrade the look by refinishing the floor and staining it with a more modern dark ebony stain.

Kitchen Remodel

Like we mentioned above, bathrooms and the kitchen are major considerations when you’re trying to sell or add a little value to your condo. If your kitchen needs some work and you’ve only got a little to spend, focus mainly on giving the room a facelift — paint the cabinets, install new fixtures, replace the faucet and sink, and update the appliances if you can. If you can afford a major renovation (and the kitchen needs it), again remember that it’s key to keep things simple and stylish, not tailored to your personal taste and your taste alone. If done right, it’s likely you’ll make up all that you’ve spent (sometimes more) if /when you sell in the future.


Be careful and don’t get carried away with the upgrades. If you improve beyond your location and the type of condo you have, the buyers are not going to reward you.

New Appliances

Since most people don’t want to have to buy new appliances when they move into their new condo, purchasing a place that has matching, modern appliances is a big deal in the buyer’s mind. If you have old, worn out appliances, replacing them will help add value and increase future sale potential. If they’re a decent age, but don’t all match or need sprucing up on the outside, contact the manufacturer about purchasing new, matching panels. Keep in mind that with dishwashers, the panels are often white on one side and black on the other, so you may already have a matching panel to turn over.

Added Storage

Storage is an important part of your condo’s desirability in the eyes of buyers, and adding some definitely is an added bonus for you too, if you stay. So, whenever and wherever possible, the professionals in the buying and selling market suggest that you add storage where you can — expanding a closet, adding a closet where one is clearly needed, and remodeling a space that’s awkward (like a reading nook that’s too small for use) are all good ideas that bump up the value of your condo and make it more likely to sell.


Lighting

People tend to choose their lighting based on affection for a particular light fixture. This will not help you to boost your asset value. Rather, remember the purpose of the light, and how it can transform the sense of a space - from wide open to boxed in. Make sure that light fixtures match the rest of the décor, including hardware. Pot lights and recessed lighting, although more expensive to install, are valued by buyers.


~ Robert M Lordlund, PE, RS, Audra Jones Author My First Apartment, Steven Fudge, Sales Representative at The Urbaneer Team - Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage • (416) 322-8000 - http://www.urbaneer.com • [email protected]