But when it comes to perhaps the easiest equity boost, paint goes a long way. For those unafraid of a little DIY, this is a simple way to skip labour costs, improve property value and save on products and tools. “Paint gives a house the feeling of clean and fresh, and it’s only around $100 or $200 to do, especially with the paints now that combine paint with the primer right in it,” says Love.
Greaux encourages investors to look at small additions that will boost property value as well as cash flow. Adding a washer/dryer combo to a unit, for example, can command another $100 to $150 per month in rent. Adding parking can be as high as $200 a month.
7. Update the flooring
Like expensive bathroom renovations, updating flooring does not have to be done unless there is something visibly wrong with it. Peniuk advises investors to consider the overall finished look of a property before making the decision to move forward.
“Whenever you do an upgrade to push the appreciation up, you have to ask yourself: If I do the flooring, the lighting, the mirror, how’s it going to affect the overall feel of the house? Will it stand out and draw attention to how much needs to be done elsewhere, or will it make a big difference? I would rarely put in new flooring without painting. But by painting alone, you’re able to modernize the house in a cost-effective way.”
Like painting, handy investors can use their own skill to bypass labour costs and use substitute hardwoods, such as laminate. For those cautious about overextending budget in an income property, materials such as this can be found on sale for as little as $0.99 to $1.29 per square foot.
“Depending on how dated the current flooring is will also determine how much can you improve the look and value of a property,” says Peniuk.
8. Upgrade the insulation
Sometimes it’s the structural improvements that add the most value to your property over the aesthetic ones. Insulation and vapour barriers may not do as much for a property’s face value as a new kitchen or loft conversion, but the money saved on energy bills will be a short-term benefit, and can help leverage a higher asking price for both rent and resale value down the line.
High heating and cooling costs, uneven and uncomfortable heating levels and mould will drive away prospective buyers. The insulation of a property is assessed using R-values. The higher the R-value, the less energy lost through walls, ceilings and floors. It is estimated that 30 per cent of energy is lost through windows, so ensuring property insulation here is equally as important. Whether you go the DIY route or choose professional insulation installation, adding it is an instant appraisal booster at an affordable cost.
Letting in as much natural light to a property as possible – particularly in common areas or units such as the basement – make a big difference to a property’s value, as will improvements to the artificial lighting in the home.
Increasing the energy efficiency will improve the overall feel, which can be crucial during a viewing.
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