Flipping through design magazines, it's easy to be swayed by all the ads for kitchen and bath companies. There are endless brands that vie for consumers' attention with shrine-like marble powder rooms and sleek, steel kitchens. Many sellers get tempted to renovate their kitchens and baths with these high-end looks, in an attempt to focus the wandering eyes of buyers who have lots of options in almost any market. But doing this can costs tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, consumers who do a kitchen and bath remodel can recoup about 65 -85% of their investment. While getting close to the entire investment back is possible, the risk could be costly; home sellers who are at that 75% end and spent $40,000 on a remodel are out $10,000 - plus plenty of stress.
To avoid that situation here are some tips on how to redo the kitchen or bathroom without breaking the bank.
In the kitchen:
DON'T put in pricey professional-grade cook's appliances. You may choose a tricked-out $10,000 Wolf stove, but the buyer may be a loyalist to Aga. Or, even worse, the potential buyer might be a take-out addict.
DO service the appliances you have, so that they work perfectly. If you have seriously outdated appliances, that can be replaced for $1,000 or less (like swapping a tired old fridge for a basic new one), that's a good idea. Similarly, if there are any appliances that you lack, which most buyers consider essential, it makes sense to buy one (like a dishwasher - you can get a nice model for under $1,000).
DON'T replace your cabinetry entirely - even if it's a little outdated. It's just too subjective - you might think sleek white Scandinavian cabinets are the way to go, but you'll be in a bind if your potential buyer prefers dark wood.
DO invest in cabinet re-facing if your cabinets are extremely outdated. Many re-facing companies will give your cabinets a fresh facade for well under $2,000 and it's a good investment in creating a positive impression of the room without doing a pricey knock-down. Even if you do not re-face try a good cleaning and some new door handles
DON'T go granite crazy. Or marble. Or etched Murano glass accented tile. Spending thousands on a new countertop and backsplash is downright dangerous because there are so many different options these days, it's impossible to find one that will please most people.
DO hire a professional cleaning company to come in and make what you have sparkle, or get out your toothbrush and some Oxy-Clean and lemon juice and attack the grout. While this won't magically make your tile look magazine-spread-worthy, it will certainly make it look a lot better, as discolouration from age often makes tile look even worse.
In the bathroom:
DON'T do expensive tub/shower repairs or replacements. Just like with the big-ticket kitchen fixes, this is a matter of taste. If you put in a round jetted tub, what if the buyer wants square? Do you really think that every potential buyer will be keen on a colour-changing lighting system in the shower?
DO replace dated bath and shower fixtures; this can be done generally quite inexpensively. For instance, if you have an old showerhead, replacing it with a large, rainwater-style model will lend a subtle spa-like quality without costing a lot.
DON'T opt for huge built-ins. A lot of remodelers emphasize the intrinsically relaxing qualities of having all your toiletries, towels and even reading material beautifully organized in one big unit made of high-end wood, marble and chrome. It's beautiful, but it's also a risky choice and a matter of taste.
DO freshen up the focal point: the vanity area. Invest in a big mirror and put bright lights over it. A few hundred dollars spent on a nice faucet is well worth it, as, like the showerhead, it's a basic - and updating the basics, in most homes and markets, is the smart way to go.
Please call me if you have any questions or would like to meet with me to discuss working together:
Lester Johnstone | ROYAL LEPAGE LAKES OF MUSKOKA | Bracebridge