Matthew Hobor

HOMEFINDER: Is it time to renovate or sell your home?

Some renovations may not see financial return, expert warns

As cooler weather triggers those nesting instincts and home accessories go on special fall sales, the age-old question of whether it’s time to sell or renovate is running through many homeowners’ minds.

While potential buyers are gauging prospective houses on the amount of work they need versus the amount of time and money buyers want to put into them, many potential sellers are also doing the math.

“There’s going to be a tipping point if you spend too much,” said Matthew Hobor of Hobor’s Homes,  a construction company that specializes in custom builds from the ground up.

He said if homeowners spend too much money upgrading, especially after the home is appraised, they are less likely to see a return on money spent.

Hobor said the best way to gauge whether your home still meets your needs is to determine if you require more space, then determine the best way to address that issue, whether via renovations or by buying a new home.

“It really depends on what you want to spend and what you want to get out of it,” he said.

Often, older homes have layouts that can be adjusted, thus opening up the house, he said. And some features such as fireplaces and walls can be moved, as long as there are no structural issues.

But he warned that as soon as a homeowner starts adding square footage onto a home, it’s very difficult to see that investment returned.

While it is possible in areas such as Oak Bay, where the value of the land could be much more than the home. He said the West Shore was not one of those areas. “You can get that new home with more space quite affordably.”

For those homeowners looking to upgrade to a bigger nest, Hobor suggested some renovations to make a home more appealing to potential buyers.

He said the obvious one is a fresh coat of paint, which can breath new life into a tired space. But Hobor said to also include flooring and trim into renovations before putting a home on the market.

He also reminded homeowners not to forget about the exterior, which can often need a fresh coat of paint and weathered trim replaced.

“That will definitely give it a facelift,” he said, adding that landscaping, like a healthy lawn, will also catch a potential buyer’s attention. “Those things are quite aesthetically pleasing.”

Besides more basic upgrades to give a home a new facelift, he also suggested changing tired countertops to make a bigger statement and give the impression of an upgraded kitchen.

While kitchens and bathrooms are often credited for as big selling features for homes Hobor warns they can come with big price tags as well.

“Your average bath renovation or upgrade can start to push (the cost), but might be worthwhile,” he said.

Hobor suggested only doing one main bathroom to help minimize costs. “If it’s very dated, it might be worthwhile.”

He warned that undertaking renovations on a second or third bathroom is a project probably best left to the home’s next owners.

So if you find yourself re-evaluating your household needs and revisiting whether your current accommodations are meeting those needs. Keep in mind, soometimes a few minor renovations is all it takes to realign the situation.

But if your need for more space can’t be met, it may be time to move on.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: How do you tell if your home is still working for you?

As a homeowner, you are the best judge of what is working and what is not in your current space, you may also be too close to the situation. It’s time to take a step back and put aside any emotional and sentimental connections you may have and continue with an open mind.

It may be hard but sometimes the best thing for you in the long run could be moving on to bigger (or smaller) pastures.

Go through your home room by room and gauge how often that room is used, what it is used for and if there are any changes you would or could make to maximize the potential of the space.

Sometimes simple storage solutions can add to the efficiency of a home as well as making it feel larger. Another tip for making rooms feel bigger is to de-clutter items that may have collected during a season. By donating or selling unused items many homeowners are able to find new uses for spaces that were once filled with items collecting dust.

If you don’t want to get rid of items for sentimental reasons you can also rotate items being displayed in your home every season. This will not only make the spaces feel fresh but with fewer items displayed at once rooms will also feel bigger.

But when evaluating rooms in your home don’t forget outdoor living areas. We’re lucky here on the West Shore to enjoy a relatively mild climate all year long that let’s us enjoy more time outdoors, at least between rain storms. It’s important to assess your backyard or outdoor spaces on how they fit into your lifestyle. If you love to garden but don’t have room for one, that could be a reason to sell. On the other hand, if you’d rather be enjoying an indoor activity or have a health issue that limits your time outside but have an out-of-control forest, it may also be time to sell.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE OCT.09/15   COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 87 / 602 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, OCTOBER 2014

» 128 / 945 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, OCTOBER 2014

» 3,348 / 3,927 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, OCTOBER 2014

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