It’s a sobering truth of real estate that sellers often have to spend money to make money. Even if your home is relatively new, you still face costs associated with getting it ready to show, such as repainting interior rooms or hiring professional cleaners and stagers. If your home could use some TLC and updating, spending as little as $5,000 on key upgrades could improve its appeal for buyers – and ensure a speedier sale at a better price.
Here are five upgrades you can make for under $5,000 to help put your home at the top of every buyer’s must-see list.
1. Upgrade your entryway – Replacing an old, dated or worn entry door can be a cost-effective way to ensure buyers get a good first impression when they walk in your house. Whether you choose a fiberglass, wooden or steel model, installing a new entry door can cost a few thousand dollars, yet the return on investment at the time of resale can be significant. A fiberglass entry door returns about 72 percent of its investment, while a steel door recoups more than 100 percent of its value, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.
Enhance your new door with attractive plantings, fresh paint and clean windows around the entryway to create a memorable, attractive entry for just a few thousand dollars.
2. Increase natural light – More buyers are becoming aware of the mood- and productivity-enhancing benefits of natural light, and homes with big, bright windows have always been in demand. Adding windows to a room can be a costly, time-consuming affair. Not so with adding a skylight. For well under $5,000 and in just a day or two, a professional can install an Energy Star qualified, solar powered no-leak fresh-air skylight, like those from Velux America. Professional installation costs nationally ranges from around $900 to $2,325, with an average of $1,400, according to HomeAdvisor.com.
The low installation cost will leave you plenty of budget to enhance the skylight upgrade even further with energy efficiency-boosting solar-powered blinds. The skylight and blinds are operated by remote control and the blinds are available in designer colors and patterns to enhance your décor. The products, as well as installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit to further reduce the cost of the improvement.
The most popular rooms in the home for fresh air skylights are baths, where they provide privacy in addition to natural light, and kitchens, where they vent cooking odors and humidity naturally while brightening this much-used workspace.
3. Beautify a master bathroom – Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. Making a few cosmetic upgrades to even a small master bath can help increase a home’s appeal and value. For less than $5,000 you can easily repaint, upgrade faucets, replace old cabinet hardware and add decorative touches like designer towels.
If you’ve already done all that, take a look at the floor or countertops – two cost-effective upgrades that can wow buyers. Since counters don’t make up that much square footage in most bathrooms, replacing them with granite can cost just a couple thousand dollars. Tile flooring is also a relatively inexpensive way to improve a bathroom’s look and usability.
4. Heat things up in the kitchen – Kitchen remodels can offer high ROI for sellers, but a full remodel may be outside your budget. If you’ve already done the obvious – like repainting and decluttering – it’s time to look for a few more cost-effective improvements that will appeal to buyers.
Just as in the bathroom, swapping old faucets and cabinet hardware with new designer options can enhance the appeal of a kitchen. Shabby, outdated appliances can hinder a speedy sale, so consider replacing them with new ones. You don’t necessarily need to install top-of-the-line, high-priced appliances to make a good impression, either. Newer, Energy Star qualified appliances represent savings for buyers down the road.
5. Lavish landscaping – No single aspect of your home has a greater impact on a buyer’s first impression than the landscaping. A great front yard sets the tone for the rest of the home, appealing to buyers on a number of levels, including beauty, practicality and savings.
With $5,000, you can accomplish a lot in terms of landscaping. You can sod a small front yard, add decorative planting beds to a lush lawn, or even install shade trees that will both beautify the yard and enhance the home’s energy efficiency in summer. Decorative concrete stamping of walkways and driveways is another cost-effective way to improve a home’s curb appeal.
Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, no one wants to see their home linger long before selling. A few simple upgrades can help ensure your home gets plenty of attention this season.
GET YOUR CREDIT SCORE AS HIGH AS YOU CAN
Pay off credit cards and only use 10% of your limit moving forward. You can sell large things, but don’t make any major purchases (like a car). Don’t cancel any lines of credit and don’t open any new lines of credit. Stay current on all of your bills and remember, no major purchases!
You’ll need money for the down payment (if you need to), inspection, and closing costs (eg:lawyer fees, taxes, etc.)
CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
A good real estate agent will guide you through the next steps so that you don’t make any errors. It’s also important to have an understanding of how your real estate agent is going to market your property (i.e. email, social media, MLS, etc).
CHOOSE A LENDER
If you don’t already have one in mind, your real estate agent can provide a list of preferred lenders. The lender runs your credit and gives you mortgage options and estimated rates. The lender also calculates how much you can spend on a house based off of your debt to income ratio.
DECIDE WHAT FEATURES ARE IMPORTANT AND VISIT HOMES
Make a list of features most important to you before you start looking. Your real estate agent will book showings for houses that match your list. Visit the homes and take notes and photos.
Make sure to test the commute, consider resale value for the home, and finally make a decision!
MAKE AN OFFER
Offers are often contingent on many things, including, home inspections, financing, and insurance. Your real estate agent will help you decide what conditions are important in your purchase.
FINAL WALK-THROUGH AND CLOSE
Make sure the house is the way that it should be, as this is your final moment to speak up if something is wrong. Bring your closing money to the lawyer, and get ready to sign paperwork!
Congrats and enjoy your new home!
A little smile. A word of cheer.
A bit of love from someone near.
A little gift from one held dear.
Best wishes for the coming year.
These make a Merry Christmas!
Photo Credit: Leza MacDonald (ODN)
Keeping an eye our for the Annual Caroling Truck with the Oliver Fire Department? This route map and schedule will help make it easier!
We are full of Christmas Spirit!
Lisa and Heather are showing off their work of art as the Festival of Trees gets under way.
What’s the Festival of Trees, you ask? It’s an event that started 29 years ago in Vancouver, and it’s purpose is to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Since it’s inception it’s grown throughout several communities in BC, including Osoyoos for the last several years.
And this year the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association was pleased to announce the spread of it’s Festival to have trees sponsored and showcased throughout Oliver as well as Osoyoos.
“The Festival is open to the public who are invited to browse through the holiday displays at four locations this year and enjoy the holiday splendour. This year Festival of Trees is being shared between our two communities of Oliver and Osoyoos with trees on display at Nk’Mip Cellars Winery, Watermark Beach Resort, Frank Venables Theatre Lobby and Baldy Mountain Resort. There is no admission for this event and everyone is encouraged to come and vote for their favourite tree; a minimum donation of $2 is requested. Donations over $25 BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) will issue tax-receipts.
Trees will be on display from November 25th to January 4th as follows:
- Nk’Mip Cellars Winery – 10am to 5pm daily
- Spirit Ridge Resort – 8am to 10pm daily
- Watermark Beach Resort – 8am to 11pm daily
- Frank Venables Theatre – 5:30 to 8pm daily
- Baldy Mountain Resort – Outdoors Daily
This event will be to support both the BC Children’s Hospital and the BC Hospitality Foundation.”
Ours was only one of the beautifully decorated trees being prepared to be showcased at the Frank Venables Theatre between November 25th and January 4th. So be sure to get out and see the trees, vote for your favourite, and help raise funds for this immensely worthy cause.
If you’re looking into the option of buying a house, you probably already know that the Mortgage Rules have changed recently, and you’re probably concerned.
What is this new rule anyway?
“Effective October 17th all high ratio buyers will have to qualify at the benchmark rate for all terms.”
And just what does that even mean?
It means that you’ll have to qualify for a higher interest rate than what you’ll actually end up paying, which will reduce the dollar amount for which you’ll qualify.
Dominion Lending Centres gives this example:
“… a home buyer currently qualified to purchase with 10% down for a mortgage of $527,000. After October 17th, this home buyer would qualify for a $420,000 mortgage. This equates to a 20% drop in buying power. (All things being equal in terms of property taxes, income, debts, etc).”
So what do we do?
In this situation, you have a few of options:
- Make up for the shortfall with more money down; or
- Add another person to the mortgage to help qualify; or
- Purchase a lower priced property
But mostly…talk with your Royal LePage REALTOR® and your mortgage professional about your options.
So what’s the purpose all this?
Well, the new mortgage rules will likely reduce the risk of a housing crash. The government and the banks are looking out for own interests in keeping the housing market going, but in looking out for their own, they’re also looking out for yours. Qualifying for a lower amount might just put less stress on your wallet. That can’t be too bad.
On Friday November 25 and Saturday November 26, Oliver’s Community Light Up & Fireworks brings families together to celebrate the start of the festive season and put some sparkle into the winter months. Bring the kids along for pictures with Santa, fun entertainment for all the family downtown and later a bonfire and fireworks, at the Oliver Community Park. Celebrate the Christmas Light Up with us in #OliverBC!
Friday, November 25:
- 3:00pm – 5:00pm: Pictures with Santa at Royal LePage
- 4:00pm – 6:00pm: Discover Downtown Oliver ~ Face Painting, Food Vendors, Wine Tasting, Hot Beverages and Goodies, Unique Christmas Wreath Contest, Sage Valley Voices Caroling.
- 5:15pm: Festival of Trees Light up at Frank Venables Theatre (Open Daily Until Jan 4th from 5:30 to 8pm)
- 5:30pm – 6:00pm: OES Choir performing at Town Hall
- 6:00pm: Santa arrives downtown
- 6:15pm: Official light-up with dignitaries
- 6:00pm 8:00pm: Community Centre activities and entertainment including Bon Fire
- 7:30pm: Fireworks at Community Centre
Saturday, November 26:
- 9:00am to 11:30am: Breakfast with Santa
$7/child (Adults by donation)
Oliver Community Centre Hall
Oliver Remembrance Day Schedule
Memorial (Interdenominational) Service
9:45 am – Oliver Community Center
10:40 am – Oliver Community Center to Cenotaph
Ceremony of Remembrance
10:50 am – Cenotaph, Oliver Town Hall
- Last Post
- Act of Remembrance
- Honour Roll Call
- Placing of Wreaths
- God Save the Queen
11:30 am – Cenotaph to Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97
Parade Participant Refreshments
11:45 am – Legion Hall (Adults) & Subway (Youth)
- Entertainment by Mikie and ken
- Potluck Luncheon
- Super Duper Mega Meat Draw Extravaganza
RCL97 – Sponsored Family Movie
2:00 pm – Oliver Theatre
Schedule provided by
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97