Beyond the surface



Mar 21, 2019

Where should I spend my money?

Home renovations can be extremely stressful and often raise a number of questions – the main one being, ‘how much should I spend and where should I spend it’? While there may not be a clear-cut answer to that question, we thought who better to ask than an experienced Realtor? Today, we are sitting with Melissa Cescon, a Top 2% nationally-ranked Real Estate Broker with Royal Lepage, as she shares her insight concerning where you can expect your greatest return on investment during a renovation to maximize the value of your home.

In today’s competitive real estate market, prospective buyers have very high expectations. Items that were previously regarded as “upgrades” such as hardwood floors, quartz countertops and modern appliances, are now considered to be a standard in most homes. Today we are going to address two main areas in the home that really have the influence to sway prospective buyers. One being the Kitchen, the other, the Bathrooms.

Melissa’s Kitchen features HanStone Strato countertops and full height backsplash

The Kitchen

We have all heard the expression “the kitchen is the heart of the home,” and Melissa couldn’t agree more. So, when it comes to renovating, it is definitely worth investing your money into what’s often considered to be the focal point and the main gathering space. “A kitchen is the one room in the home that comes under the greatest scrutiny with buyers. It needs to appeal to the chef, the student, the work-at-home person, the social butterfly. It is multi-functional and has intentional purpose for the entire family, so it makes sense that you would spend money here – and it makes sense that a buyer would place a high value in your renovations and upgrades. I have had clients purchase homes based solely on the features, upgrades and size of the kitchen.”

Studies have shown that the average, basic kitchen renovation costs approximately 25,000, and while a complete re-do in the range of $80,000 may not be in the cards for everyone, there is no need to fret. Whether you’re building from scratch or renovating on a budget, here are some of Melissa’s top cost saving tips that can offer a BIG positive impact on the value of your home:

  • Refinish or paint existing cabinetry
  • Replace dated countertops with HanStone Quartz
  • Keep existing layout
  • Switch out hardware and lighting fixtures
  • Update appliances

“One recommendation I make to homeowners when renovating is to invest in a premium countertop such as Canadian made HanStone Quartz. Not only does it offer a better aesthetic, it also adds significant value in the eyes of a future buyer.” Quartz is durable and has relatively low maintenance making it the ideal surface for a high traffic area like a kitchen. “I have HanStone Quartz in my own home and I couldn’t be happier with my selection.” Other things to consider are to make sure you have ample storage and countertop space, as well as sufficient lighting.

Melissa’s kitchen Before and After featuring Strato

The Bathroom

Kitchens and bathrooms definitely top the list of rooms that provide the greatest influence in a buyer’s decision to purchase a home. Bathrooms tend to be a more approachable renovation for a number of reasons. In comparison to a kitchen, they are often less expensive, take less time, and are not as disruptive to everyday life.

Melissa recommends replacing all dated plumbing fixtures, as well as opting for a bright and neutral colour palette. Ample lighting is always a necessity in a bathroom and if space permits, a double vanity is always preferred. Make sure you incorporate enough storage space for towels and personal items Melissa notes. “I often hear feedback that there is not enough storage in the bathroom from prospective clients. In terms of countertops, Quartz is always my preferred choice. Not only does quartz offer a clean look, but it’s also impermeable to surface stains which are especially important in a bathroom. You will not have to worry about makeup and other products staining the surface.” Quartz can also be used for tub surrounds, shower jams and curbs, soap niches, benches and feature walls.

Royale Blanc featured in HGTV’s Bryan Inc.

Key Takeaways

Hire a professional. Renovations are stressful enough to tackle on your own so make sure you hire a reputable general contractor to help assist with the process, trust me, it will make your life A LOT easier.

Shop around! Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. There are tons of brands out there you just need to do your research.

Don’t overspend on decorative accessories i.e. mirrors and lighting fixtures. HomeSense and Wayfair offer a great selection at affordable prices.

Quality always prevails. Prospective buyers can always spot a “quick fix.”

Recognize what is important to YOU. At the end of the day, you are the one that has to live in the space and foot the bill.

If you are looking for more real estate advice or a home evaluation, visit Melissa’s website and make sure you follow her on Instagram @Cesconteam