January 12th, 2023 | Selling

Upgrades to Make to Your Well-Loved Home Before Selling

Ottawa is well-known for its beautiful historic estates, interesting architecture, modern mid-century homes, and generally having an exciting resale market for real estate. 

In many cases, resale homes hitting the market are for sale by the original homeowner, or someone who has owned the home for decades. These properties are well-cared for and well-loved by their homeowners.

However, a well-loved home is not always the most appealing to a modern buyer. In some cases, these homes might need a little extra attention before hitting the market. 

So if you are the owner of a well-loved Ottawa home, here are some things you should know before listing it for sale. 

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Selling an Older Home is Different 

Your home is likely your single biggest asset. At the same time, your home also evokes strong emotional connections. It’s the place where you hosted family gatherings. It’s where your kids grew up, it’s the neighbourhood where you made friends, and it’s the symbol of your hard work over the years. 

Selling this type of home can be an emotional experience, especially when you have likely taken great care to make your home beautiful and functional for you and your family. 

Making upgrades to your well-loved home is not necessarily about fixing faults in the home, nor is it about criticizing unique tastes or aesthetics. More so, it’s about making the home appeal to a wide net of buyers who want to picture themselves living in the home. 

While it is completely normal to have an emotional connection to your home, making the decision to sell should also come with a sense of detachment. This is a financial decision now. And everything you do between now and selling the home will have an impact on the bottom line. 


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Why Do Buyers Like Older Homes? 

In short, ‘they just don’t build them like they used to!’ Older homes appeal to a variety of buyers for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest draws of this type of home is the fantastic build quality and unique design. 

Buyers are always looking for a place to make their own, and owning an older home with plenty of character is a great way to make your mark and express yourself. 

Additionally, many older homes in Ottawa are located in highly sought-after neighbourhoods like the Civic Hospital area, Westboro, Old Ottawa South, New Edinburgh, The Glebe, and beyond. 

Older homes in Ottawa have historic prominence, and many buyers would be proud to own such a property. 

For buyers who want to live in newer developments, there are countless areas to choose from in Kanata, Barrhaven, Orleans, and beyond. However, for many buyers, there is no greater joy than owning an older Ottawa residence and calling it home. 

Do you love older homes as much as we do? Read our post about the 6 advantages of older homes right here.

Challenges of Selling an Older Home 

For many sellers, the biggest challenge of selling their older home is knowing what to update and what to leave alone. It can begin to feel overwhelming, and there will undoubtedly be some upgrades that provide a solid ROI on your sale and others that won’t. So how do you know which is which? The easiest answer is to talk to a local Ottawa real estate agent. 

We also advise sellers to put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Think about the upgrades that would mean the most to you. Think about what you are looking for in your next home. Consider the aspects of the home that add value and the parts of the home that could potentially hurt it during showings. Objectiveness is key here. 


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So Which Home Upgrades Give the Best ROI?

When it comes to renovating your home, there are certain upgrades that can add ROI to your sale. The key is to consider the cost of the renovation, and precisely how much value it will add to your property. 

When looking at older, well-loved homes in Ottawa, there are some upgrades that we can recommend and some that we would absolutely advise against. 

A Fresh Coat of Paint and Other Minor Changes

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve the value of your older home is with a fresh coat of paint and some other minor aesthetic changes. A light, neutral wash of paint will make your rooms look bigger and refreshed. Other possible surface changes could include updating light fixtures, and switches, and removing popcorn ceilings.

Kitchen Improvements

Functional rooms like the kitchen would do well with a functional makeover. Newer appliances, new countertops, and cabinets could be a great addition to add value to your home, help it stand out among buyers, and give your home a leg up against competing properties. However, we would recommend going with a neutral palate and stainless steel appliances, this aesthetic is functional and popular among buyers. Outlandish designs and dark or contrasting colours could alienate buyers or cause them to keep swiping on your listing! 

Bathroom Improvements 

In most older homes, the bathroom is one of the first rooms to become dated. Just think back to the days when it was normal to have carpeted floors in the bathroom! A modern, sleek, and functional bathroom renovation could help add considerable value to your home. Glass-door showers, his-and-hers vanity, and updated lighting could make a world of difference in the bathroom of an older home. 

Flooring (With a Caveat!) 

If your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, it might be a good idea to refresh it with some new flooring options. Many homeowners favour hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring for its function, ease to clean, and durability. However, if your home currently has heritage hardwood floors, that could be a potential selling point on its own! Buyers of older homes are generally attracted to features like this, and it’s best to treat any flooring upgrades on a case-by-case basis. 

Efficiency Improvements

While many buyers love the appeal and aesthetics of an older home, the lack of modern efficiency might be a con for some. Upgrades to the home that preserves its traditional look while bringing the home up to modern standards will appeal to many buyers. Improvements to windows, HVAC systems, and plumbing are all good ideas if needed. Although they can be expensive, you can be strategic with the improvements you make. Many buyers wouldn’t mind paying a premium for these features, since they will likely save money on utility bills in the long term. 

If you’re looking for more advice on selling or buying an older home in Ottawa, contact us today at 613.829.7484 or email us directly at [email protected]. You can also request a free home evaluation with us here.