March 19, 2024 | Selling

Should I Renovate My Home Before Selling?

Share This Post:

Preparing a property to come to the market is critical. It’s the requisite work that ensures that ones most significant financial asset is appropriately prepared to sell as quickly as possible, and for the highest feasible sale price. In this space, we talk frequently about staging, something that we at Toronto Realty Group believe strongly in the significant value of. Cleaning and freshly painting or touching up is non-negotiable, the biggest impact relative to cost you can do.

There’s one step of the process that I don’t think we have talked about enough though, and it’s one that the average consumer is very familiar with, given it’s presence in the television shows about real estate we watch on a daily basis. That step is renovation, and it begs the question:

“Should I renovate my home before selling?”

It’s a fascinating question because it’s certainly the most nuanced of the steps that can be taken in advance of selling. You don’t just have to ask do you renovate, but you can consider what you renovate, to what quality do you renovate, and to what degree? Ultimately thought, all those questions can be synthesized into answering this simple question:

“What Work Can Be Done to Provide the Most Return?”

Or more specifically, “What work can be done which will provide the most return (defined by the final sale price) based on the relative amount of investment (both time spent, and money spent).”

Answering the question isn’t so simple though, because the determination of steps to be taken is very contextual on the property in question. If the property is so out of date that it’s likely going to be a gut or a knockdown, than more than likely any renovation work is going to be wasteful, the buyer will want to reverse or redo anything done. If many of the other units in the condo that have recently sold are renovated, but yours isn’t, that might make a renovation more critical. Who is the buyer for the property, and are they going to want to do the work themselves? Working with your agent to understand your property, and how that property fits into the market, and how it is going to be perceived by your prospective buyer, is all extremely critical to determining how to proceed.

Looking for more selling strategies? Read these blog posts next:

Minor Renovations

At the very least, minor fix-ups are almost always worthwhile: replacing the door stop light switch case that have been broken, tightening that loose door knob, fixing the leaky faucet. All these sorts of tasks are low cost, relatively low effort, and can likely be done either in-house or by one general handyman in a quick time frame, and will make a big difference for the sale. In a real estate market as competitive as Toronto, presenting a home that is as move-in ready as possible is critical, and a buyer doesn’t want to (or need to) take on those mundane household tasks that most homeowners put off because of how busy life can be. The goal is to allow prospective buyers to envision themselves living in their new house, rather than living in your (the sellers) house, and eliminating reminders of simple tasks that have been neglected is a surefire way to remind them that it isn’t their house.

Mid-Level Renovations

For slightly more work, the biggest impact that is still relatively straightforward is updating the lighting. Lighting is critical, it’ll help the house show better in photography and in person. Natural light is one of the top criteria for buyers, and while that is likely out of the control of the seller, they can control the quality of the next best thing, so increasing the presence and quality of the lighting in the house can be extremely impactful.

Larger Renovations

Finally, if one wants a larger undertaking, there are two rooms that can be renovated to add a lot of appeal to your house, and that will give a seller the best return. Those would be the bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen is often the epicentre of the house, the place where families spend much of their time, have those meaningful conversations, and entertain friends and family. Modernizing or opening up a kitchen can be a significant job, but if done correctly will greatly increase the value of a home.

Similarly, bathroom renovations will make a big difference for a house, especially when you consider the relative cost and scope of work. No one wants to feel like they are inheriting (or purchasing) someone’s years of dirt, and that is particularly the case when it comes to the bathroom. A refreshed bathroom will increase the appeal of the home beyond just the bathroom, as it will send a message that the home is well taken care of and clean, and that the new owners will be able to move-in with a fresh start.

Get more selling insights with these posts next:

What’s Right For You?

Every home is unique, and the need for renovations prior to listing a home is no different. Working with an experienced realtor will allow the home, its market, and its potential buyers to be objectively analyzed, and an appropriate strategy developed. From there, a capable realtor will have the contacts to help facilitate any and all work that needs to be done, and done in a cost-effective and timely manner. All this is done in the spirit of maximizing the sale price when it is time to bring the property to the market, and to create a selling experience that is as quick and as painless for the seller.

If you have any questions about your home, and what work might be required, we are always more than happy to share our opinions. Every home is different, and we take pride in assessing every home individually, and helping create a customized plan for every seller. So give us a call, send us an email, or reach out however is best for you. We’re more than happy to help, and we’d love to show you how we actually do things differently!

Looking for home-selling advice? Please reach out at any time by calling 416.642.2660 or emailing We’re always happy to chat!

Written By

Matthew Morrison


p: 647.308.4767


Want More Insights From TRG Experts?

Sign up here to receive Insights Magazine delivered to you. This resource is full of market advice and industry intuition from our team and colleagues to keep you up-to-speed on the ever-changing Toronto real estate market.

Get Your Copy