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My Mortgage Blog
A renovation is probably the last thing on your mind right before you plan to sell your home. 

However, there are some key areas where a little bit of TLC can go a long way to impressing potential homebuyers—and increasing your sale price. 

The following are some of the top home improvement tips to help leave a lasting impression on potential homebuyers while having as little impact as possible on your bank account. 

What to focus on

Declutter

One of the easiest and cheapest improvements you can make to increase your home’s appeal is to declutter and give it a deep clean. 

This includes cleaning out closets and other storage areas, which will help make your home feel more spacious and easier for potential buyers to see themselves living in. 
Avoid the temptation of throwing all of the clutter into the basement or garage since prospective buyers will see those areas too. 

All rooms should also be thoroughly cleaned, particularly bathrooms and the kitchen, to give the home a sense of freshness and to make it feel as new as possible. 

A fresh paint job and other minor repairs

A fresh coat of paint will help give your home a sense of cleanliness, particularly if any of the existing colours are dated. 

This is also the time to replace that leaky shower head, patch up dented drywall or update any light fixtures left over from the 1990s. 

Improved landscaping

Sprucing up your home’s exterior is another low-cost and effective improvement that can heighten its curb appeal. 

It can be as simple as trimming the lawn and shrubs, weeding the flower beds a fertilizing your yard. 

But avoid overspending on new shrubbery, trees or high-maintenance assets such as topiaries, which could clash with potential homebuyers’ tastes. 

A bathroom or kitchen update

Updating at least one bathroom should be a priority since bathrooms always rank high on potential buyers’ lists. This could mean replacing vinyl flooring with tiles or upgrading an old tub, to replacing the vanity or simply switching out the faucets and updating the bathroom hardware. 

Optional: finish the basement

This is no small job, but investing in completing an unfinished basement could have a significant impact on the resale value. Not to mention, it can make your home more desirable compared to others on the market and add to its living space.

Be sure to obtain any necessary building permits and ensure a full inspection once the work is complete. 

What to avoid

The key is to be smart about where you invest your time and money in order to maximize your return. 

This doesn’t include the exorbitant cost of installing an inground pool, for example, since it can just as easily be a turn-off to potential buyers. 

You should also be mindful not to overdo any renovations, particularly when it comes to bathrooms and the kitchen. The renovation costs can easily run over budget, and there’s no guarantee that the style you choose will be shared by the future homeowners. 

Avoid any other big-ticket repairs where the investment risks being bigger than the return. Rather than re-doing the driveway professionally, for example, considering re-sealing it yourself for a fraction of the cost. 

Highly customized features should also be skipped, since tastes are highly subjective. There’s no guarantee that prospective buyers will share your enthusiasm for a built-in espresso machine or steam oven. 

All of the above tips are of course dependent on your specific home, your budget and your timeline. But there’s no doubt that a little bit of care and effort put into your home prior to selling can go a long way in increasing your return, particularly in a challenging resale market.