Repairs and Fixes that Bring the Highest Returns

Let the house do the work for you

It's the dilemma of every homeowner:  should you put money into your property before selling it?  Condominium units limit the extent to which you can make changes anyway, so there may not be much more to do than cleaning and de-cluttering (assuming your flooring and appliances are still in good shape).  But freehold homes offer a wide range of choice when it comes to personalization and renovation.  You could spin your wheels pouring tens of thousands of dollars into home improvements with an eye to selling your home, and you may even be successful in getting a higher price for your home; but you may not want to do that.

Pool repairs by TheGiantVermin
Pool repairs by TheGiantVermin

That's why at Calgary Real Estate™, we will give you at least two quotes when evaluating your home's worth:  what it could command as-is, and what you might be able to ask for it with differing amounts of repairs, upgrades and renovations in place.

So what can you do that will benefit you the most at sale time?  There are general guidelines that apply to most homes:


  • Put your renovation dollars into this room above all others save the bathroom.  Statistically, kitchen remodels return nearly 100% – though you can often get away with inexpensive cosmetic repairs and decent appliances, because high-end kitchens don't always return as much as they cost.  If stainless steel appliances and imported tile backsplashes are the norm in your condo building, however, you may want to consider keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Cabinets are highly visible, so you should resurface beat-up cabinets by replacing the doors and hardware (which can be purchased at any good home improvement store).


  • Put your renovation dollars into this room above all others save the kitchen.  The national average of recouped cost is more than 100% for bathrooms.
  • New fixtures and lights pay off.
  • Try resurfacing the floors and bathtubs rather than replacing these costly items.
  • Clean and sparkling gets higher points with buyers than high-end water-saving products (though this is changing in some markets).


  • If your home has hardwood floors that have been carpeted over, in Calgary's current housing market it pays to have any carpeting removed and the floors refinished if necessary – especially in principal rooms.
  • Replace worn out existing carpeting with light tan or other neutral-coloured carpeting (in bedrooms and basements, carpeting is still an acceptable flooring choice, though with the increase in environmental allergies no one can argue with hardwood).
  • Laying new solid hardwood can get costly, as the materials are expensive per square foot.  A high quality laminate flooring might be an option instead – or, if you already have wood floors but they're in bad shape, borrow a floor sander and do it yourself.
  • Replace chipped or cracked ceramic tiles and clean the grout.

Ceilings & Walls

  • Nothing says freshness like a new coat of paint.  It hides stains and ceiling cracks, and in well-chosen neutral/contemporary shades, can brighten and transform a house
  • Get rid of wallpaper – much like fake wood paneling, it's just not a popular choice for wall coverings anymore.  The easiest way is to steam it off by using an inexpensive wallpaper remover steamer.


  • What about upgrades to plumbing, wiring, HVAC systems, roof – your home's major systems?  If it's a toss-up between cosmetic improvements and making these changes, with no money for both, and your home is in a poor state of repair, go for the cosmetic changes; they impress buyers more.
  • We will create a feature sheet detailing any recent upgrades to your home's envelope (such as energy efficient windows & doors, for example) which will be good selling points, but are difficult for buyers to notice on their own:  they're usually too busy looking at peeling paint to examine your hot water heater for energy efficiency.


  • Patch cement cracks in sidewalks
  • Resurface asphalt driveways if necessary
  • Plant flowers
  • Caulk windows and doors
  • Replace doorknobs and locks
  • Fix or paint fences

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