Reach for a roller and add flair to all fixtures: Royal LePage identifies top renovations with best ROI



    - Whether doing-it-yourself or hiring a professional, interior painting,
    hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades amongst top renovations -

    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - If you've spent years waking up to
wood-panelled walls and soft shag rugs, some home renovations, especially if
you're thinking of selling your home, may be in order. Before picking up a
sledgehammer, however, it's worthwhile to know the cost of updating your
decades-old décor, and the degree to which those costs will be recouped when
it comes time to sell. While some renovations such as updating a kitchen or
bathroom may require a trained professional, there are a number of
do-it-yourself projects that are sure to increase a home's resale value,
according to the Royal LePage Renovations and Returns Survey released today.
    With April just around the corner - the busiest month of the year for
home sales - homeowners may want to consider tackling some simple home
improvements that will ensure their properties sell for top dollar. The
Royal LePage Renovations and Returns Survey examines some top renovations that
bring the best return on investment, as compiled by the Royal LePage network.
    "Amid today's competitive real estate market, renovations offer a
relatively affordable means to boost the value of a home," said Lisa da Rocha,
vice president, marketing and sales, Royal LePage Real Estate Services.
"Do-it-yourself tasks such as painting walls, changing cupboard knobs or
laying new flooring will make a house not only more appealing to buyers, but
also offer a great return on investment."
    With the expansion of renovation chains across the country, and the
proliferation of do-it-yourself television shows, it is no surprise that
homeowners are tackling renovation projects now more than ever. According to
Statistics Canada, renovation spending grew by 8.3 per cent in the fourth
quarter 2007 to $9.2 billion, from the same period in 2006.
    Added da Rocha: "There are some renovations, such as finishing a basement
that a homeowner does for their own enjoyment without much concern for the
return on investment. What we have explored within this survey are renovations
that are intended to translate directly into enhanced equity in a property."

    REASONABLE AND RADICAL RENOVATIONS

    From simple aesthetics to washroom overhauls, Royal LePage has identified
the top renovations that will increase the equity of a home. The list is
ranked in ascending order of cost of project.

    
    1.  Freshen up: Adding a new coat of paint can freshen up a house and
        make the interior look like new - not to mention more spacious. For
        homeowners looking to sell in the near term, neutral colours are most
        preferred.

    2.  Floors galore: Today, hard surfaces are all the rage. If genuine
        hardwood exceeds budgets, laminate works well. Buyers like to see
        hard floors throughout, so if possible, be sure to lay down laminate
        in dining rooms and living rooms, and even in bathrooms and bedrooms.

    3.  Lighten up: Old or standard-grade light fixtures, electrical and
        light cover plates can easily date a house. To modernize, add
        distinct flair to the interior, consider installing new light
        fixtures. Remember to go green, and use compact fluorescent (CFL)
        light bulbs, where possible.

    4.  Pebble Beach? Well, close: The old adage, you never get a second
        chance to make a first impression is extremely true when it comes to
        selling a home. To increase curb appeal and entice buyers, ensure
        front lawns are tidy and gardening is minimal. While there is no need
        to go overboard and plant an expensive Japanese Maple, adding some
        standard shrubs and flowers will make a home more inviting.

    5.  Stylishly steel: Similar to the issue with old light fixtures, knobs,
        fume hoods and backsplashes can make a kitchen seem outdated. Sleek,
        stainless steel hardware designs have the biggest and most positive
        impact on those people looking to buy a home.

    6.  Opening all the right doors: An elegant entrance enhances a
        prospective buyer's first impression of the house itself.

    7.  ROI from the ground up: To see an even higher return on investment,
        replace old flooring with new hardwood. While a range of qualities,
        textures and colours exist, it's best to opt for a neutral wood
        colour to accommodate the widest possible array of tastes and décor.

    8.  White picket fence?: Building a fence and a deck instantly boosts a
        home's appeal. Keeping kids and pets in the yard, and nosey
        neighbours out, fences provide the back and side yards with a sense
        of being finished.

    9.  Occupied, no more: A bathroom situated on the main floor is
        increasingly seen by homebuyers as an essential fixture in their next
        purchase. While many older homes were built with bathrooms only on
        the second floor, many homeowners are resorting to transforming
        closets or adding new rooms to accommodate two-piece powder rooms.

    10. Exquisite en suite: Today's homebuyer prefers bathrooms that have
        spa-style tubs and modern faucets. Granite and marble tiles are now
        readily available and can be purchased at relatively affordable
        prices.

    11. Everything, and the kitchen sink: While prices can vary when
        renovating a kitchen, one thing is certain - updated kitchens bring
        one of the highest returns on investment. With homeowners spending
        more time in the kitchen than any other room, it's no surprise they
        want the best possible style and functionality. Stainless steel
        appliances, ceramic sinks and clean lines on cupboards rank as the
        more preferred finish options. Since kitchens and baths can be such a
        personal space, it's wise not to select a dramatic style or colour
        scheme since your tastes may not be the same as the next owner.

        TOP 'DO IT YOURSELF' RENOVATIONS WITH BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       RENOVATION PROJECT        APPROXIMATE COST(*)      APPROXIMATE ROI(xx)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Paint the interior                    $1,000                  50-100%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2. Replace carpeting with     $2,000 (for 1,000
       affordable laminate        square foot space)                  50-75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. Install new light
       fixtures                              $2,000                   60-70%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    4. Groom the exterior
       landscape                             $2,000                   25-50%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    5. Replace knobs and
       hardware                              $2,000                  75-100%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    6. Update the entryway                   $3,000                   50-75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    7. Replace carpeting and
       laminate floors with       $5,000 (for 1,000
       hardwood                   square foot space)                  50-75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    8. Build a fence/deck                    $5,000                   50-75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


      RENOVATIONS WITH BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT, SOME HELP MAY BE REQUIRED

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       RENOVATION PROJECT        APPROXIMATE COST(*)      APPROXIMATE ROI(xx)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Install an additional
       bathroom on main floor          Under $5,000                  80-100%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2. Renovate bathrooms             $5,000-$8,000                  75-100%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. Renovate kitchen             $12,000-$15,000                  75-100%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Notes:
    (*) Assumes mid-grade quality finishes, labour excluded
    (xx) Source: Appraisal Institute of Canada RENOVA, Royal LePage
    

    About Royal LePage

    Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to
residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 13,000 agents and
sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is managed
by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that
includes Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, Realty World and La Capitale. An
affiliated company, Brookfield Real Estate Services Fund, is a TSX listed
income trust, trading under the symbol "BRE.UN."
    For more information visit www.royallepage.ca or www.brookfieldres.com.





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contact: Tiffany Fisher, Mansfield Communications Inc., Phone: (416) 599-0024,
or e-mail: tiffany@mcipr.com


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