1- FIX WHAT'S BROKEN
There is nothing that will scare away a buyer faster than a property that appears to be poorly maintained. Buyers are a suspicious lot and will imagine that what they see is only the tip of the iceberg and that the home has bigger problems.
If you have trouble deciding what to repair, have your home inspected and use the report as a starting point. Your buyers will probably have the property inspected before they buy.
Leaky roofs, rotten fascia and fences, burnt out lights, dents in the walls, torn screens broken or clogged sump pumps and dripping taps are a few examples of candidates for repair.
Any renovation done on a home which seems to have other maintenance problems will not return as well as the same renovation done on an apparently better maintained property.
2- PAINT INSIDE AND OUT
Not only does it make your property look clean and new, but it is an effective way to modernize by upgrading the colour scheme. It is one of the best ways to maximize Return on Investment that exists and you often see over %100 or more return on money spend.
3- RENOVATE THE KITCHEN
If your kitchen is somewhat dated investing in modernizing will bring good return. Sometimes a simple refacing of cabinets makes a huge difference. You are not likely to get all your money in a major renovation however.
4- RENOVATE THE BATHROOM
if its tired or dated a small renovation will give good return.
5- UPGRADE THE FLOORING
Floor appearance has huge impact. Hardwood is preferred on the ground floor. Replace carpet if its stained or old fashioned.
Keeping up with the Jones
Upgrades that add features to a property, that homes in the neighbourhood already have, such as a second bathroom, have a higher return than features not shared by your neighbours.
Improvements on a property with a lower market value than its neighbours provide a higher return rate than those done on a home which is worth more than neighbouring properties. It doesn't pay to be a diamond in a pearl necklace.
Poorly done renovations (or renos done with poor materials) may not improve the value of a property, worse, it might actually reduce the value. Highly individual upgrades will probably hurt you unless you can find a kindred soul that loves your puce bathrooms.
Renovations usually do not return 100% of money invested but often insure a faster sale, which saves you money
Many upgrades, such as a more efficient furnace, insulation or improved windows and doors will return quite well and if you do them a few years before you sell the property, you will benefit from the energy cost savings on top of the improved selling price. They should also be high on your list of good projects.
Have a look at our Detailed Return on Investment page with expected returns and more details.
Have a look at our HGTV page a good article written by Mike Holmes