6 Major Renovations That Pay

By Aleksandra Oleksak, The Real Estate Chick

With the warm weather finally arriving in Toronto, we are all starting to come out of hibernation.  The warm weather brings upon spring-cleaning, which leads to the projects we have been contemplating throughout winter. Before getting too excited and taking a sledgehammer to those old kitchen cabinets or walls, let’s take a look at some home renovations that will pay off and are in your best interest. After all, you will sell your home sooner or later and you want to ensure you don’t over renovate or spend money on a project that will not yield a return.

Let’s get the 2 most obvious items out of the way first…..kitchens and bathrooms:


Everyone I know, young or old, loves an updated/new kitchen. Stone counter tops, undermount sinks and stainless steel appliances are just a few items on that list. Throw in a new backsplash and kitchen cabinets and you will have potential buyers drooling. Another coveted feature is either a peninsula or island in the kitchen. This is a great place for entertaining as you cook as well as for casual meals.


Just as with the kitchen, bathroom renovations are a must on the ‘to do’ list. People love spa inspired bathrooms with proper storage and old bathrooms tend to not provide either.  Low flush toilets not only look sleeker, but appeal to the environmental friendly side of all of us. Deep soaker tubs with glass enclosures instead of shower curtains, remind us all of being at the spa. Sleek vanities and medicine cabinets with storage are always a win-win option as well.


Depending on what area of the city you live in and how big your house is, finished basements go a long way when it comes time to selling your home.  There are certain areas of Toronto and certain price points that have potential buyers wanting basement apartments or a nanny suite and those buyers are willing to spend more on a home to have this option. Finished recreation rooms in the basement with a washroom are perfect for smaller homes with growing families.

Front & Backyard

We know that first impressions are everything and a home is no exception. Your house must have curb appeal so potential buyers will want to see what is inside. Fresh paint and flowers can go a long way, along with some outdoor furniture – if your porch is large enough.  Now a days, everyone wants a backyard oasis, from decks to landscaping and everything in between. When renovating your home, don’t overlook this important space; buyers are looking for an extension of their indoor space to enjoy the short summers we do have. They are looking for outdoor offices and dining areas as well as a place to entertain.

Storage space

Storage space is always an issue in old Toronto homes. There seems to never be enough! Closets tend to be small and are not always in every bedroom. Basements end up getting used as a dumping ground for seasonal items. If you are renovating your home, look for places of opportunity to make bigger closets in each bedroom. Built-ins can go a long way on the main floor and in the basement. Now, you if you really have the space, you may want to try building a front hallway closet. Trust me, potential buyers will be drooling over this useful feature.


Thanks to the numerous shows on networks such as HGTV, people are more aware then ever about what is going on behind the walls in an older home. Before, buyers didn’t understand the value of new electrical, plumbing, roof, insulation or waterproofing basements because they couldn’t physically see it or understand the costs associated with these big-ticket items. Now, buyers are more educated and asking the right questions. Impressing them with a shiny new renovation without going the extra mile spells more work then the potential buyer is willing to take on.

Under article

There are other more minor renovations that you can do to your home that will also pay off.  The best thing to do is to look at your budget and see where you will get the biggest return before you begin. You want to make sure not to over renovate either.  Remember, just because you may like a man cave or a swimming pool in your backyard, doesn’t mean everyone else will, so before beginning the process think about what your long or short term plan is with your home and have some fun along the way!

Aleksandra Oleksak is Her City Lifestyle’s “Real Estate Chick,” and a Toronto real estate professional with Sage Real Estate. As @RealtyQueenTO, her real estate blog has been named one of the top 50 real estate blogs in Canada.

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