Renovating with Resale Value in Mind

Renovating with Resale Value in Mind // Shibang Designs

If you’ve been following along with my blog you’ve probably noticed a theme of making improvements based on using what is already there. Sometimes it just takes a creative idea or a fresh coat of paint to improve the look and feel of a room.

When we bought our first house my goal wasn’t to make improvements with resale in mind, my focus was making our house into a home that I loved. I started by painting the walls current neutrals, painting over the dated oak fireplace to make it a classic white and refinished the railings to give them a more current colour scheme. After only 18 months living in this home we had a job opportunity in another city and sold our home. We got an offer the day that the sign went up and sold. Working with an agent to figure out pricing gave me insight into what goes into pricing your home for sale.

Beyond keeping your home in good condition (keeping up with maintenance) I believe that it is important to keep choices neutral and appealing to a larger audience. Personality and design can still be reflected. When making decisions for our home I do keep resale at the back of my mind but I also want our home to be a place that I love. Since I do a lot of cooking and it is the centre of our home that is where we decided to renovate. After our first experience of selling  I knew that I wanted to make bigger improvements this time that we could enjoy while also increasing future resale value.

From speaking with agents, reading and following the book How to Add Value to Your Home by Scott MacGivillary the consensus is that the kitchen is the best room to invest money and add value. I highly recommend this book because it is very practical and works with different budgets.

It is important to know the context of your neighbourhood to know what the market will pay for. For someone thinking about adding value to their home it’s a good idea to talk to a local agent and ask them specific questions, for instance stone countertops are appropriate for that particular market. They will have an idea of how your renovation project may or may not add value or how much return of investment there will likely be.

Kitchen Improvement


If the cabinet fronts are in good condition and are a classic shape they may be a good candidate for refinishing or painting.

If the cabinet doors aren’t suitable for painting but the inside cabinets are in good shape and the layout works then refacing could be an option. Home improvement stores, like Home Depot can come in and install new doors for a lower cost than replacing the whole cabinet.



In some markets quartz & granite counters are a big selling feature and this amount spent can be directly factored into the resale price.


This can finish the look of the kitchen. Stick to something neutral so that’s not too personalized, for example simple glass or subway tiles.


Keep it simple, future buyers aren’t necessarily going to want to pay extra for specialty hardware.


In addition to major renovations, there are some smaller changes that add to the overall impression of a home which can influence buyers.


Inexpensive DIY Updates:


Exterior Paint

Paint has so much power and potential to change a space with very little money spent.

Paint rooms, paint doors and trim, if the garage door is wood and in good shape that can be painted too to add curb appeal.

Change Light Fixtures at the dining room or another focal spot. Adding a dimmer to a chandelier adds so much ambience.

Shibang Designs // Kitchen Banquette

Replace Door Knobs – Replace shiny brass.

Plant a Tree – There may even be a subsidized backyard tree planting program like LEAF that supports the Toronto area.

Refinish Banisters – This can be a DIY which is labour intensive but low material cost.



 A few references:

How to Add Value to Your Home by Scott MacGillivray gives good insight into how to add value based on your budget.

Houzz 5 Remodels that Make Good Resale Value Sense- And 5 That Don’t

Houzz A Designer’s Top 10 Tips to Add Home Value


An Example

This advice from Becki Owens on how to create a stylish kitchen on a budget demonstrates how with a neutral base you can add personality with accents and so can a potential homebuyer in the future.

Becki Owens Affordable White Kitchen

There is so much more to discuss and read about on this topic. Thanks to all of the sharing of information online there are lots of resources and inspirational photos. For me I also believe that it is important to do a job properly if you’re going to do it otherwise the next owner may end up just wanting to replace what you did.


Kitchen Makeover – New Counters

Shibang Designs // Quartz Counters

Now that we have almost completed our kitchen update I wanted to share a bit of the process, starting with changing the counters. This is the before shot, a basic kitchen with wood cabinets, laminate counters and a painted wall backsplash.

Kitchen BEfore 3

Kitchen Before2

Shibang Designs Painting Progress Last year I painted the cabinets and lived with it like this before making the decision to replace the counters.
White Quartz SamplesI knew that I wanted to go with white quartz that looked like marble but when I saw the small samples in the showroom it was difficult to tell how the patterns would look on a larger scale. I asked if it was possible to go directly to the supplier to see the slabs and luckily it was nearby. By seeing them in person  I ended up choosing a different sample which was closer to what I had in mind.

Quartz Slabs quartz deliveryThis is how the counters arrived and installation process was so quick and took less than two hours. The biggest inconvenience was having the water shut off in the kitchen for several days because I got the plumber to come too early. Quartz Counter

White Quartz Counters & Painted Cabinets

Quartz Countertop Installation This is the after which doesn’t look too dramatically different but once the faucet and tiles go up the whole look comes together. I posted the old counter and sink on kijiji and someone picked it up right away so it didn’t go in the garbage.

Quartz Countertop InstallationI still have to sort through my photos of the tiling process and then I’ll share those too.