Top 10 ways to create instant equity

by CRE11 Nov 2014

Ottawa-based investor Kim Love agrees that simple changes can make a big improvement to the look and feel of a property, but they do not necessarily have to be expensive. “Curb appeal is huge. If you walk up to a front door and get an icky feeling, that’s it!” she says.

“First impressions are important, so something as simple as painting the front door, basic landscaping and making sure the front of the house is in good repair is important.”
Savvy investors can snap up a small bush for as little as $10 to $15 during a sale from a local home and garden centre. “If you pick up a couple of those with some mulch, you’ve spent all of $60 or $70, but it could be the difference between a vacancy, or a sale,” says Love. “It’s relatively inexpensive. That’s all there is to it.”
2. Add space
Increasing the square footage in your property is guaranteed to add instant value to your investment property. From a cost versus value perspective, it is an affordable upgrade to undertake.
Tom Zhang, CEO of Flying Stone Canada Ltd. added a spare bedroom and rented it out for more than $500 a month.
“We spent $4,000 and easily put in an additional room, and rented it for $700 per month, or $8,400 per year,” he says. “In twelve months that is double the return.”
Similarly, he used his double detached garage, without making any changes, and rented it out separately.
“We rented the space for around $2500 per year. There was no cost on the initial investment once we bought the house.”
It is important to pick your target market when converting space or advertising it for rent. This can determine whether your space is better presented to an appraiser, tenant or buyer as office space, a play room, a gym or a study. 
If you don’t have a separate garage area, Greaux says making modifications to the existing square footage in the house can be simple and effective.
“Open concept is pretty popular, and that can be simple enough,” he says. 
That said, when adding rooms or separations to a house, investors should be mindful of the neighbourhood, as what adds value to a property in one neighbourhood may work against an appraisal in another.
3. Redo the basement
Finishing a basement makes a marked improvement to an investment property. “Whether you plan to hold and rent or fix and flip, some light treatment such as improvements to electricity, drywall and paint can make a big difference,” says Love.

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