Home Renovations That Add Lasting Value

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As the Toronto market softens in light of the most recent interest rate hike, homeowners need not worry. Real estate is always a solid investment in spite of fluctuations, especially in Toronto, where houses are in short supply and hold their value relative to other areas. However, the changing market makes it an excellent time to consider what upgrades will add the most value to your home. Whether you plan to sell or not, your home is your most valuable asset and well worth the investment it takes to maintain it well.

All renovations are done for one of two reasons, to add value or to create more enjoyment for the current homeowner. 

First Things First: Maintain Your Value

The first step to maximizing the value of your house isn’t necessarily to upgrade to the latest and greatest (and possibly the most expensive) technology. Often, you’ll want to examine your home with a critical eye to see if any issues could cause your home to lose value. These updates don’t always add to your bottom line, but they will stop you from losing money on your sale. In addition, they can help to make your home more appealing and improve your chances of finding a buyer. For example:

  • A leaking roof can be an instant dealbreaker. Most potential buyers want the home to be move-in ready and may not be willing to make the purchase even at a lower price.
  • Repairing or replacing the plumbing system might not increase the value of your home, but a damaged system will definitely hurt your sale. Buyers tend to expect those things to work and are rarely willing to pay more for them.
  • Your HVAC should be in good working order. Every buyer wants to be comfortable, so an updated heating and cooling system is a must. The good news is your investment in energy-efficient upgrades may be tax deductible. Check with your accountant to see if there are any potential savings when tax time rolls around. 

In this market, it’s more important than ever to know the facts before you sell. Here are some resources to help you:

Home Upgrades That Might Not Add Value – At Least Financially

Not every upgrade will pay off financially, but some homeowners still see their value because they increase their day-to-day enjoyment. Even so, it pays to keep the resale value at the back of your mind.

  • A swimming pool. When you factor in the cost of installation and maintenance, adding a pool rarely helps with your resale value. However, if you plan to keep the home for a long time, it might be worth it to you for the luxury of cooling off on a hot summer day in the privacy of your own backyard.
  • Going overboard. Renovations will pay off to a point, but going overboard can actually hurt your resale value. Adding a second storey in an area where every other home is a bungalow can put your price out of the budget for many would-be buyers. 
  • Quirky personal touches. You might love graffiti-style paint in your bedroom or an illustration of the solar system on the living room wall, but you can’t count on a buyer to feel the same way.
  • Structural changes. Knocking down a wall to create one giant bedroom might make the house more desirable to you. However, a potential buyer probably sees more value in having an extra room, especially if they have children or guests who sleep over.

When renovating your house to suit your personal tastes, consider what it might mean to a potential buyer and how much it will cost to change it back.

The Most Valuable Upgrades To Make When Selling

The market can change depending on the neighbourhood you’re in. Before planning your project, it’s a good idea to consult with a local real estate agent to see what buyers in that area are looking for. You’ll want to make sure you can recoup your expenses and earn a positive return on the time and money you invest in your property.

You likely don’t have to worry about upgrading every single room in the house. Most buyers focus on the kitchen, living room and the main bathroom. Other rooms will benefit from a quick makeover, a deep clean and a splash of new paint, but there is no need to blow your budget. 

Selling your home in the next few months? Here are even more ideas on how to make your listing stand out:


Many buyers want an up-to-date kitchen more than anything else. However, unless your home hasn’t been renovated since the 1970s, you don’t have to spend a fortune. A few timeless style upgrades can go a long way to attracting buyer attention. Updated appliances, new tiles, attractive backsplash and new cupboard doors can potentially add thousands of dollars to your sale.


The second room buyers will look at and imagine as their own is the bathroom. An old, grungy mirror is an instant turnoff but can often be easily repaired. An updated vanity, modern light fixture and new tiles can make your bathroom look fresh and pristine.

The Living Room

The living room is the centrepiece of the home. It’s where the new homeowner will spend a lot of time with close friends and family. Movie nights, game nights and play dates all happen here. And these days, many people work from their living room, even going so far as to set up an office area by the window. An attractive living room is imperative to appeal to a buyer. Luckily, a few updates can go a long way.

  • New windows are the most expensive upgrade. However, this investment instantly makes the room brighter, flooded with more natural light and can even result in energy savings. As an added bonus, new windows will make your home even more appealing from the outside.
  • New flooring. Swapping out old, worn-out carpets for hardwood can add significant value to your sale. Even linoleum will make your home appear more modern and help improve the seamlessness from one room to another.
  • Fresh paint. A fresh coat of paint is a simple, low-cost way to make every room look more attractive and instantly adds value. If you do nothing else, new paint makes your home appear more modern and spacious. This small step can mean the difference between sitting on the market or enjoying a fast sale.

Do you have questions about what upgrades will add the most value to your home? Get in touch today, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.