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Elizabeth Biberger: Real Estate in Duncan & Cowichan

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The Ongoing Update

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I have lived in my home a long time (going on 30 years) and I am about to “update” my bathroom.  It seems every time I do a renovation it causes me to look around and see that places I feel I just updated are looking ready yet again.   Where does the time go? In real estate trends change constantly and a home can start to show its era in about 10 years.

If any of you have had a home on the market that is older than 10 years you may know the dreaded feedback “it is too dated”.  I know  that I cringe when I have to give that feedback as it is often taken personally.  However, it doesn’t necessarily mean a home isn’t well maintained or clean, it just means, in the eye of the buyer, it is a step out of date.  No one looks at a home more closely and with the eye to required work than a buyer. Living in the comfort of our surroundings we do not always see the gradual change of trends outside our castle.

So with that in mind I thought what can one do to minimize cost and disruption to have a home relatively ready for sale should the need arise?  The advice would be to plan, budget, consult and most of all stagger these jobs. 

Exterior maintenance: - this should be done on an ongoing basis as it is the protector of your home.  This type of maintenance should not be left or more serious problems can occur.

Interior painting – keep the paint fresh.  This may mean painting an area of your house every couple of years (so you don’t have to do all at once).  This way you can stretch out the budget, your time and keep colours up to date.

Kitchens and Bathrooms – These are the most expensive renovations in your home but have a relatively good payback.  What is needed here may depend on the era your home was built.  Some cabinets stand the test of time and may only need new hardware to update them.  Others will need a reface or replacement.  If doing a bathroom counter don’t forget to check for ends of granite or other hard surface with suppliers as it may be just as affordable as arborite and will add to the “bling” of your home.  It is always best to have either bathrooms or kitchens (preferably both) relatively “up to date” so a buyer doesn’t have to think about several major renovations immediately.

Flooring – when a home goes on the market the flooring should be clean and free of scratches, stains, etc.  Hardwood can be hard to keep free of scratches in family life, so if your home is full of kids and pets maybe consider a laminate product.  Many of the new ones are hard to distinguish from wood and are much tougher.  If carpets in living areas are ready to replace my advice would be to consider hardwood or laminate.  As much as some people (my husband) love the feel of carpet, the truth is most buyers do not.  You don’t want to spend the money on carpet only to have the replacement cost of it taken off the price in the buyers mind.

Get Professional advice - If considering any update I can't stress enough the importance of professional advice.  People in the trades specific to what you are doing are up to date on products and styles.  The service of an interior designer for a few hours can be invaluable.  We would also be happy to send you listings of new homes being marketed so you can see photos of the style and décor.

My main point is take a look around your home each year and see what needs to be done to keep it fresh and well maintained.  If you take on a project or two each year you will never be too far behind on  what is required to be  “up to date”.  That way when your REALTOR® comes by to give you advice on how to prep your home for sale the list won’t ever be too long.  The big bonus is you get to enjoy the updates yourself for a while.