Hilary Farr and David Visentin of “Love It or List It” help homeowners at a classic crossroads: Should they stay in their current home, or sell and move on? In either case, renovations can be a smart idea since they make a home more comfortable and more valuable.
Still, in the latest episode, Farr must work hard to get her homeowners to respect a cardinal renovation rule: Always renovate with the next buyer in mind.
In “No Laughing Matter,” Farr and Visentin meet stand-up comedian Lauren and her partner, Jamelle. They loved their house when they moved in, but now the decor looks dated and unexciting.
This couple give Farr $100,000 to spend on a renovation. Can Farr do enough to convince the couple that their house is worth keeping, or will real estate agent Visentin entice them to purchase a new place?
Read on to find out what happens, and learn which renovations have better return on investment than others.
Make a style statement with your stairs
For starters, Farr improves the decor with light colors and a more modern look. She does this in the home’s front entrance by giving the staircase a new style. She has the handrails painted black, installs new stair carpet, and even repaints the pickets.
“It just gives it a kind of a crisper, cooler look,” Farr explains when Lauren and Jamelle walk into their newly renovated home.
Farr points out that she didn’t have to do a lot of work in this area, but Jamelle realizes how much the space was transformed with just a few updates.
“It feels like a big change,” Jamelle says.
Some people like to cook on a kitchen island
Jamelle says that she’s always loved having a cooktop that faces the dining area rather than the wall, explaining that it makes it easier to talk with Lauren and their 8-year-old daughter, Ava, while making dinner. So when Farr builds an island in the middle of the kitchen, Jamelle insists on putting the stovetop on the island, so she can cook facing out.
Begrudgingly, Farr puts the cooktop on the island.
“You have this wonderful island with the cooktop in it, which I still disapprove of,” Farr says as she shows Lauren and Jamelle their renovated home. “But you wanted that, and you love it.”
Renovations are always a balance between what makes a homeowner happy, and what will add resale value for future buyers. In this case, a happy homeowner won out—and who knows? This unique feature might be a big selling point for the right buyer.
Freshen a bedroom with light wallpaper
Lauren and Jamelle have a large master bedroom, and while there’s nothing wrong with the space as it is, Farr knows that a small update will go a long way.
She chooses a light-blue wallpaper with an elegant floral design to add a little color to the room. It’s an easy upgrade, and it brightens the space.
When Farr is finished with the room, she tells the couple, “It always was a beautiful spot, but it’s now beautified and it is your little sanctuary.”
Don’t waste money on a standing tub
Jamelle and Lauren know that great bathrooms can sell houses, so they focus a chunk of their budget on the master bathroom.
However, while Lauren really wants a standing soaking tub, she realizes that in order to fit the tub, they’ll need to push out a wall—and that can be expensive. Lauren and Jamelle decide that a normal tub, with excellent finishes, will probably be a better investment.
So, Farr installs an extra-large bathtub with some stylish blue subway tile to make it seem more modern.
When Jamelle and Lauren see the space, they’re very impressed.
“It’s perfect,” Jamelle says.
Turn an extra bedroom into a dream closet
Extra bedrooms add lots of value to a home, but Farr also knows that not every bedroom needs to be used for sleep.
Farr knows that Jamelle and Lauren’s home has limited closet space, so she turns one bedroom into a massive closet and installs the washer and dryer here for extra convenience.
“I’ve never had a closet that was actually beautiful,” Jamelle says when she walks into the space.
This fabulous closet is sure to be a hit with buyers, but if not, that’s OK—turning it back into a bedroom is an easy change.
Do they love it or list it?
Before renovations, Farr and Visentin tell Lauren and Jamelle that their home is worth just $331,000. The homeowners have $100,000 to renovate the home, and Farr uses it wisely, sprucing up the entryway, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. When Farr is finished, Visentin reveals that the home is now valued at $450,000. That’s a $119,00 increase!
Although Lauren and Jamelle love their newly renovated home, that they can sell it for top dollar persuades them to put it on the market. It’s a good thing they kept their personal preferences for upgrades in check! It’s a smart reminder for us all that real estate is an investment as well as home, sweet home.
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