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We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s the small things that matter most,” but what you might not know is this is also true when it comes to building equity into your home. Whether you’re thinking about selling now or later, it’s never too early to start investing in your home’s potential.¬†

Tight Budgets

Finding the cash to improve your home can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. Whereas once you could refinance your home for up to 90% of the value, new mortgage rules have tightened restrictions allowing for just an 80% refinance window. (Need help refinancing your home? Then contact a broker at for personal assistance.)

Even so, reports from the Bank of Nova Scotia say that 44 percent of Canadian homeowners are planning to do a major renovation sometime in the next two years. Among that group, roughly 62 percent say they will fund the build with cash.

With that being said, the amount of money spent on renovations in Canada is still minuscule compared to what home hunters are spending on new properties. According to the latest data from the Mortgage and Housing Corp., the market accounted for about $20.9 billion in 2011.

So, when it comes to renovating, what should you be spending your money on?

Making Your Home More Marketable

Small renovations can often have a huge impact on your home’s bottom line. For example, installing a new front door is an inexpensive way to add instant value to your home. Replacing worn-out siding with the latest fiber-cement siding will also help you turn a nice profit.

Other suggestions include upgrading your HVAC system and the hot-water heater in your home. Installing double- or triple-pane windows will also help improve the efficiency of your property, an increasingly important selling feature for many homebuyers. Small projects, like installing weatherstripping and low-flow faucets and toilets, are easy projects that can have long-term benefits.

Consider a Pre-Sale Inspection

When it comes to selling your home, chances are you’ll do anything to get a leg up on your competition. This competitive spirit has led to the rise of pre-sale home inspections in many depressed Canadian markets. With a heavy supply of houses on the market, pre-sale inspections provide buyers with the extra assurance that there won’t be any surprises after the sale has been processed. Granted, these sorts of inspections aren’t designed to identify ways to add value to your home, instead they’re there to help you identify potential problems and prevent losses. If these issues weren’t uncovered before a buyer surfaced, a buyer inspection would certainly find them, opening the door for negotiations or ultimately jeopardizing the sale entirely.

Don’t Overlook the Basics

If you need to close the sale of your home quickly, don’t panic. Neutral paint jobs and replacing or cleaning carpets is a quick way to spruce up your home without spending a lot of money. What’s more, a simple cleaning and decluttering can often have the biggest impact on the saleability of your home. According to a HomeGain survey of some 1,000 real estate agents, decluttering – including removing personal possessions, polishing woodwork and removing excess furniture – was the top way home sellers could cash in on their home. According to the report, spending just $200 in tidying can increase the price of your home by close to $2,000.

Other small touches worth considering include adding fresh flowers, hanging artwork, or stocking a fire during a winter showing. Remember to stage your home in a way that appeals to the type of buyer most likely to be interested in your property. For example, a five bedroom, three bath family home should look comfortable and lived-in. Trying to snag a young couple? You might want to leave out some information that highlights the schools and parks in the area.

Looking to add some value to your home this summer? Then now’s the time to secure a second mortgage. Get pre-approved today with help from

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