#5. Finish / Re-Model Your Basement
Unless you are actively searching out a Frat House clientele, it is probably not the best idea to set your basement up like an old Animal House set, complete with makeshift plywood bar and beer keg stools.
However, finishing a basement in a more traditional manner is one of the best and easiest ways to add value to your home. An unfinished basement offers many possibilities – play room for the children, killer rec room for movie night, an additional bedroom for an expanding family or even a rental apartment to help out with the mortgage. To put up drywall, lay down floor or carpet, paint and add a washroom can be brought in for a very reasonable $25k to $30k, putting this well within most owner’s means.
#4. Exterior Landscaping
Curb appeal is a basic concept with homes. If the front yard is unkempt and overgrown and the sort of look that only the Unabomber would be happy to call home, you may have a problem.
On the other hand, a house that has been properly landscaped is visually pleasing to owners and guests, and it heightens the enjoyment of the outdoor spaces. A BBQ on a warm summer night is that much better in a pristine landscaped space, as is that great book you just can’t put down as you lounge on your patio set and gaze out over the flagstone and rose bushes. Landscaping costs obviously vary depending on the scope of the work, but you can certainly do something very nice in the $15k to $20k range.
#3. Install New Floors
Orange shag carpet is probably pretty groovy when your uncle ( the one that still lives in his parents’ basement) brings over the special brownies, but otherwise it is a nasty eyesore that absorbs germs and stinks to high heaven.
New hardwood floors breathe life into a dated home and can totally transform the space. Walk into any hardwood flooring store and you will be amazed by the massive selection and array of colours, styles and materials. There is literally something for everybody – from distressed wide planks to White Oak to Brazilian Cherry.
Tip: Hardwood flooring stores are always having clearance sales, so unless you are looking for something very specific you can usually find a good deal. A good quality floor plus installation will cost around $5.50 per square foot.
#2. Backyard Deck
If your backyard doesn’t receive adequate sunlight it can turn inot a muddy pit. This is great if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger evading the predator, but for the rest of usit is a big pain in the ass.
A backyard deck covers up any flaws with your grass and is a handsome and versatile entertaining space. It can house chairs, a BBQ and maybe even an outdoor kitchen space. A well placed arbour and lattice also provides shade from the sun and privacy from neighbours’ yards. There is also nothing like the smell of a fresh cedar deck, which can be spruced up with planter boxes to add greenery. A standard 16″ x 20′ cedar deck costs approximately $15k to install, and book your deck specialist asap. many are booked up for the whole season by the end of February.
#1. New Kitchen
Grandma’s kitchen may inspire warm, nostalgic memories, like stealing cigarettes and shots of warm Sherry between bites of herring, but the memory bank is where that kitchen should stay.
For the majority of homeowners, the kitchen is the focal point of the home and where countless happy hours are spent. The dinner table (and a good meal) re-connects families at the end of a long day and old friends on a Saturday. It is an important duty, and the kitchen needs to be up to it. Staple kitchen upgrades include new cabinets, granite counters, slate floor, and stainless steel appliances. A decent quality renovation (using 30 feet of counter space) will cost in the range of $25k to $30k, and if there is only one area of your home you can afford to improve I would make it the kitchen.