Should you Renovate before you Sell?

Share Article

I have a lot of clients ask if they should renovate their property before they sell. This question ranges from people asking if they should do a full renovation on an “original condition” condo to whether or not they should paint and replace the floors. There isn’t a blanket answer to this question – it depends on your financials, your timeline, the market and the condition of the property.

If my clients are pondering this question, I’ll always ask to see the unit. The feel of the unit and the presentation to Buyers is a big factor in what my advice will be, so knowing exactly how it shows is really important. If you’re thinking about selling, give me a call and I’d be happy to offer some advice on what you can do to your property to pull in a better and quicker sale.

What to Consider if you’re thinking about Renovating before Selling Your Home

ONE – Your Timeline

Do you have a specific timeline for the sale? If you need to sell ASAP in order to purchase another property you already have under contract, then you likely don’t have time for anything beyond perhaps a solid clean and paint job.

If you’re not planning on selling for a few months, then you have the time to plan a few renos, source quotes and have it done, if necessary.

Do you have the time to plan and manage a renovation? If you find yourself already overwhelmed with life responsibilities, don’t add another stressful one to your plate.

If you’re thinking a year or two ahead, then really consider the renovation! You’ll get to to enjoy the results or the renovation for awhile and it’ll be good practice on executing renovations. No one gets a renovation right on their first try, so you’ll be in a better position to renovate your next place with some experience.

TWO – Your Budget and Available Cash

If you don’t have the financial resources available to do expensive renos, then there is no point in adding extra financial worry and stretching yourself to improve the property in a way that is not guaranteed to net you enough of a profit to make it a worthwhile investment. A lot of people looking to make the jump to a bigger (and more expensive) property might need every available dime for their down payment, so it wouldn’t make sense to put thousands of dollars worth of work into a property you’re selling, when you’d be better off improving your next own home!

Don’t forget to consider the cost of projects you can do yourself – fixing a leaky sink, painting a colourful bedroom white, and installing new but cheap blinds to block the view of your neighbours place would be more worthwhile and easy enough to do yourself.

THREE – How Important are the Renovations to the Feel of the Home? 

Are the carpets and walls dirty, worn and scuffed, but the rest of the properties is fairly clean and move in ready? Then replace the floors and paint the walls – it’ll give the unit a fresh feel, it’ll show better in your online marketing and will help the Buyers view the property as move in ready, rather than a reno project.

Is the entire unit in original condition? Then don’t bother with updates unless you plan on doing a full renovation. There is no point in putting new counters on top of old cabinets.

Are certain aspects in the unit definitely broken? Then make the fixes – it’ll show Buyers that you have taken care of the property and eases their mind if the inspection report comes out positive.

Have you renovated the kitchen, but not the bathroom? Consider renovating the bathroom so it matches the modern kitchen – small renovations can do wonders: a new toilet, modern vanity and new lighting can be a weekend project for a handyman, and you can have the shower/tub freshened with a custom liner (Bath Fitter) or have the tub and tiles re-surfaced.

FOUR – Market Conditions

Is inventory low creating a Seller’s Market? Worthwhile to sell now, especially if there’s a recent record of interest on similar properties to yours.

Is there a possibility your building might announce a few Special Levy’s at the next AGM? If so, it might be beneficial for you to sell now so you can avoid the building maintenance.

Will the renovations you plan on doing mean you’ll be listing in the Summer, or over Christmas? If so, it would be worthwhile to sell during the busy point in the market, not during yearly low points.

Consider the Home and the type Buyer who would be interested in your home. Are they first time Buyers who would see a renovations as a deal breaker? They consider the renovation a little more seriously. Are they someone buying an older house with a variety of renovations throughout the years? Then you likely shouldn’t bother renovating, as they know what they’re getting themselves into.


As I mentioned before, everyone’s situation is unique and if you’re confused, ask for my professional advice to help you decide. I’m a big supporter of the value of simple projects to improve the online look and in person feel of a property (like painting) and the value of staging a property properly (which can be anything from a fresh shower curtain and towels in the bathroom, to art, to fresh bed sheets, to a full stage of a vacant property). I can help you decide what simple projects need to be done, and can help you cover the cost of staging a project, if needed.

Contact me to talk about your property and what you can do to increase the value, and what I can do to increase the value: Kristi at 778-387-7371 or [email protected].