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Spend money to make money when selling your home

If youre trying to sell your house quickly, there are many simple upgrades you can make that will increase the appeal of your home, and maybe even your return.
Century 21real estate agent Paul Indrigosays sellers should budget up to 1% on home upgrades when trying to sell. If you want to sell your house for $500,000, budget about $5,000, he says.
But be careful of what you spend your money on. While some upgrades increase the value of your home, others are not cost-effective. Some may even turn potential buyers away.
5 tips for increasing the value of your home on a budget:
1) Paint

Paint

Neutral tones will lighten and brighten a room, and make it look bigger. It costs about $600 to get a 1,000 sq. ft. space painted professionally, Indrigo says.
If you do it yourself, use painters tape to ensure straight lines and protect your baseboards, fixtures, floors and furniture.
Use an online paint calculatorto make sure you dont buy too much or too little paint.
2) Lighting

Chandelier

With some of my clients, poor lighting has been the deal-breaker, Indrigo says.
Potlights cost about $200 each if professionally installed, or $80 each for do-it-yourselfers, says Chatelaines Home sectioneditor Virginie Martocq.
You can pay between $80 and $500 for a nice chandelier or table lamp at Home Depotor GreatLighting.com, she adds.
3) Rugs

Rug

Large, neutral area rugs in the living room, dining room and family rooms make the rooms feel more cohesive. They can also be a great way to cover scratches or stains on the floor.
Stores like Pier 1 Imports, IKEAand Home Depot sell sizable rugs for as little as $100.

4) Clean and Declutter

Vacuuming_picnik

Get rid of family photos on shelves and your kids report card on the fridge, says Cynthia Hernandez, owner of Cynthia Mason Interiors. Depersonalize it, she says. Remember the first time you walked into your brand new home? You had a blank canvas. Let the prospective buyer experience that feeling.
Clean to the 100 thdegree, she adds. Rent a storage locker to hide unattractive items in your home and clear out space. This can make your house look bigger and cleaner.
Chip out the old grout in your bathroom with a $23 grout removal bitand put in new caulk. Canadian Tires tubes of caulkstart at $2.
5) Curb appeal

Front door_picnik

Canadian House and Home magazine editor Suzanne Dimma says there should be a coco matoutside of the front door. These can be sold in rolls for as cheap as $10 each.
Martocq says the front door should be painted black because it highlights the entrance and makes the house have more of a street presence. Black goes really well with all materials and all styles from a Victorian brick home to a ranch-stylebungalow. The only exception is if you have a really beautiful old wood door. In that case, you might not want to paint it, she says.
If your doorknob is plain or rusty, spend about $50 or more upgrading it to a larger, decorative door fixture.
If your home looks uninviting from the outside, nobody will even want to go inside, says Home Renovation Guide editor Susan Hu. Along with kitchens and bathrooms, the outside appearance of the house ranks among the top three most important factors, she says.
5 costly upgrades that might not increase the value of your home:

1) Advanced landscaping

Landscaping_picnik

Aside from a healthy front yard full of grass ( sodcan accomplish this quickly) and a few large planters outside of your front door, dont go crazy on landscaping if youre planning to sell your home within a year. Some people especially seniors might consider things like ponds and impeccably even hedges a turnoff because they think it will require a lot of maintenance, Hu says.
If you plan on staying in your home another five to 10 years before selling, however, consider that plants and trees are one of few upgrades that increase in value over time because they grow.
2) Pool or deck

Pool

Take a look at the other homes in your neighbourhood. If no one else has a pool, chances are that adding one will not increase the value of your home enough to make the cost worthwhile. The market value of your home is highly dependent on the market value of neighbouring homes.

3) Finishing basement

Basement

Many people dont use their basement for anything other than storage, so potential buyers may not value the time and money that you put into it.
On top of that, Martocq says buyers can see through rushed efforts to finish a basement. They can smell the new carpet and fresh paint and get suspicious, she says.

4) Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring_picnik

Century 21’s Indrigo, who specializes in loft real estate, says one of his biggest beefs is when people replace old hardwood floors with new laminate flooring. Older hardwood can easily be sanded down and coated with an $8 bottle of floor shine, he says.
Another mistake is to put laminate covering over shiny concrete floors. That decreases the value by five times the cost of what it takes to do it, he says.
Martocq says, Laminates sound bad, look bad and feel cheap. Buyers are sick of quick and cheap big-box renos and want quality.

5) Appliances

Appliances

Though your kitchen is the most important factor for potential buyers, upgrading your appliances can be risky, says Cynthia Mason Interiors’ Hernandez, who worked as a business analyst for 20 years before starting her interior design company.
Since theres no guarantee new appliances will increase the value of your home, one idea is to tell potential buyers that youre willing to kick in up to $2,000 for new appliances.
Stainless steel appliances currently the most vogue in North America can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 at big-box stores once factoring in tax charges.
Closing thoughts

Closing thoughts

All of the experts that I spoke with agree that fresh, neutral paint is the single most important upgrade any home seller can make.
Remember that the most important rooms to focus on are the kitchen and the bathroom.
If you do nothing else, just make sure you clean. Invite a friend or neighbour into your home to give it the sniff test. If your house stinks, so will your return.