An eternal real estate market question is whether it’s worth renovating your property before you try to sell it, or is it unnecessary to spend that money? According to the experts, a pre-sale renovation may pay off; however, due to higher and higher construction costs, the renovation might be pricey. At the same time, the question for buyers is whether it pays to buy a renovated home or is it better to renovate a cheaper property that could become a dream home?

Aim at the right customers

There are at least three easily distinguishable home purchaser groups in the market. If you’re a homeowner considering selling, think about who you want to sell the property to, and do all the necessary work based on that decision.

  • Nesters – a group of young people, often families with children, looking for their first homes. They might have more energy than available cash, so there may be limited advantages in doing renovations yourself.
  • Investors – a group who buy for investment purposes. It’s worth spending a couple thousand dollars on renovations because a tidy, finished apartment means a much better bargaining opportunity.
  • Turnkey – the wealthier middle-aged group. For them, quality is the most important criteria, and they want to have a turnkey home of their own. If they are the target group, it is worth doing any renovations that will make the property modern, trendy and fresh with an overall premium effect.

Customer demands have greatly increased in terms of comfort and sophistication. This increases the demand for renovated properties while limiting the extent to which it is worth renovating the property. If the end result does not match the buyer’s taste, the renovation will not be reimbursed, and you may not be able to sell the property at the desired price. If you’re set on a premium quality living space, consider the help of an interior designer.

The Crisis

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, new listings were down more than 40% in April 2020, compared with the same period last year. The low inventory and the lack of new listings pushed the supply of housing to new lows. The number of homes for sale took a downturn of 17% year-over-year in April 2020. Homebuyers also took a hiatus from spending money on new homes, as home showings per listing in the U.S. were down over 40% in April 2020 compared to the previous year.

The financial and economic crises are affecting the poorest and the already indebted, and this should translate to the real estate market in the terms of a growing supply of lower-end properties. With this in mind, you can save time – and, indirectly, money – with a minor overhaul, and you can still assert this investment relatively well within price.

It is also worth noting that, especially in large cities, the price of second-hand flats often approaches or even reaches the value of newly built properties. Because of this, costly renovation of them does not necessarily pay off.

Pros and Cons

Arguments can be made both for and against renovation no matter the market. There are huge differences in refurbishments depending on needs, opportunities and payback; thus, everyone should decide for themselves how they relate to these.

In favor of renovation:

  • In large cities, where the price per square foot is higher, there is a chance of enormous profit because of the greater willingness to buy renovated apartments.
  • In some cases, it shortens the time of the sale.

Arguments against renovation:

  • Constantly rising material prices, labor costs
  • More expensive real estate is harder to sell
  • Renovated conditions might not win the buyer’s liking. Well over half of the buyers prefer to redo and furnish a home according to their own taste.

What Is Worth Doing?

The work can range from visual renovation, to painting, to the replacement of mechanical elements, pipes and radiators. It’s important that the modernization tasks do not exceed a few thousand dollars, as the chances of a good return are relatively lower.

When defining renovation work, always strive for system-level solutions. If the electrical, plumbing or heating system is outdated, that is the first thing to replace. The energy efficiency rating of the property is also an increasingly important factor when buying, so if your home is not insulated, it is worth continuing with the facade and attic thermal insulation, as well as the replacement of windows and doors.

The design of clean, bright interiors also facilitates the rapid sale of real estate, which is why the seller should strive to use shades that optically expand the space during painting.


According to Calgary REP Homes, it’s more important than ever to price your home right in today’s market. Proper pricing results in a substantial profit and less time on the market.

Terms of potential renovation:

  • Renovation costs
  • Real estate market price changes, trends
  • The increase in value of the property achieved by renovation

The increase in value achieved by renovating a property seems to be easy to calculate, but many people make the mistake of calculating how much more a renovated property can cost based on advertisements on websites. The problem is that the ads on these pages do not provide a reliable guide as they indicate the price that the sellers want to achieve. When calculating, be sure to do real market research to determine the actual price you’ll be able to sell the renovated property for.

A smaller renovation is easy to calculate; however, if the entire apartment is undergoing a complete renovation, it’s much more difficult to make accurate calculations as there are often unpredictable costs involved. In the case of a complete renovation, the expected real estate price at the end of the construction must also be taken into account. If the owner is not proficient in the construction industry and doesn’t have expert help, it can be dangerous to embark on a complete refurbishment as work can slip and costs can increase significantly.


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