Great Returns on Minimum Investment: How to Cash in on a Renovation Without Spending Big

I know of a client or two who are thinking of selling or renovating their single family homes, so in keeping with a spring cleaning theme, and the momentum of the market picking up, here is some information about renovations on single family homes. It is about how to spend the minimum amount of money to retrieve the best return on investment. The good news is you don't have to break the bank to get a good return on your renovations. There are certain characteristics that buyers are looking for, and they don't necessarily cost that much! You can spend $5000 on some specific items, and easily add $25,000 in value to the home.

1.) Open concept: Everyone wants open concept these days, and that doesn't always have to mean a huge tear down to get it. Here are some small tweaks you can use to "open up" the space.

- Inserting a 'window' between the living room and kitchen to let light and conversation pass through

- Taking out the top half of the wall between kitchen and living room and leaving a post intact at the end to avoid compromising the structure. Some people will also do this in an entry way to make the entrance to their house more open.

- Removing unnecessary doors. Before I renovated my house there were two entrances to my kitchen that both had doors on them. It was ridiculous... Those doors, and the wall that separated my dining room and kitchen were some of the first things to go and the results were excellent. Every morning since then, the sunlight shines through the kitchen window and into our living room and dining room.

- Use a large, interesting mirror as a wall decoration. This creates the illusion of more space, and helps refract light throughout the room and make it brighter.

- Use a light colour to paint the room. This makes the space more open and bright. Try Gallery Taupe or Dove Gray for a modern hue that will work with everything.

2.) Bathroom: The two key words here are clean and new. Don't bother yourself with breaking the bank on this room. Stick to stores like IKEA where you can easily find a budget friendly, modern option for everything you need. Get yourself a new vanity (you can get one at IKEA for $300), a new faucet, new light fixtures, a new shower curtain, and a coat of paint. These fairly inexpensive additions will brighten and update the bathroom and lure a potential buyer or renter.

3.) Kitchen: New appliances will help, but they aren't essential if the existing ones are in decent condition. Have them cleaned up thoroughly if you aren't buying new. A new faucet, a sharp new backsplash, and some fresh door pulls will lift your kitchen into a modern clean look. Even better, rent a spray gun and paint dated cabinets to a crisp white. You can't beat white for bringing in more light and opening the space up. Another thing that keeps things 'open' is removing clutter. Your counters should be free of pretty much everything accept small appliances that are used every day (kettle, toaster, maybe your coffee maker) but anything else is just throwing a wrench in the well oiled machine that is your kitchen. Nobody needs a heavy mixer sitting on their counter, and nobody wants to see your bills, junk mail, or a half used, crusty bottle of dish soap during a showing.

4.) Master Bedroom: For some people, these rooms make or break the sale. A lot of people are in search of a more luxurious space for their master. You are in good shape if you have an en suite bath. If you have an en suite, you will want to renovate as suggested in #2. If you don't have an en suite, don't sweat it. A master bedroom renovation without an en suite can still fetch you $10,000 to $15,000.

-Invest in some good quality window coverings. You want them to be effective at keeping out the light, but also, to look sleek, modern and dust free.

- Paint it! Get a modern bright, hue to paint the room with. You want people to walk in and feel calm and invited. Make sure to prep appropriately and no one wants to see globs and drips.

-Invest in some luxury linens. These are about more than just appearance. You will gain a more restful sleep too, and who can complain about that? Don't skimp on thread count, and be sure to get some throw pillows to add some personality to the room. If your bed looks enticing it will give the whole room a great feel. If you have a an un-made bed with faded, stained, brillo pad textured sheets, it won't appear inviting. People are judgemental when going through a house, so play into it.

-Add a reading nook. What it says is, "this room is awesome I want to be in here all the time".

- For the en suite, a floor mounted soaker tub, and his and her's sinks, can easily add $20,000 to $30,000 to your value if you can afford the renovations.

5.) Clean like it's your job: A feeling of utmost cleanliness and some thorough clutter removal will open up the space. I am a firm believer in having a superbly clean house, and the value that can be achieved with that alone. I found this list ( ) that points out all the things to look for when cleaning. It is for prepping your house to sell, but works as a good spring cleaning list too.

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