Tax Rebate Renovations


Dear David,

My husband and I plan to downsize when we retire in two years. We are getting a sizable tax refund this year, and are wondering if we should use it to update our current house. We installed a new stainless-steel fridge this year, but still have our old white stove, dishwasher and range hood – should we upgrade our kitchen appliances to stainless so everything matches? We’re also thinking of replacing our front door, which is a builder’s model with no window. – PUTTING MY TAX REFUND TO WORK

DEAR TAX REFUND: I love that you’re looking well down the road instead of leaving things to the last minute when it comes to downsizing. You’re thinking strategically about selling your current house, and your instincts are good. Appliance continuity is something that buyers notice, as is the great first impression made by a new front door.

I’m not a fan of wasting money, so I understand why you’re on the fence about replacing appliances that still work. At the same time, when a windfall comes in, it’s nice to have something to show for it. Turning your hodge-podge kitchen into an aesthetically pleasing space will certainly help you when it comes time to sell, and will also make your remaining time in your current house more enjoyable. In the spirit of “waste not, want not”, you can re-home old appliances in working condition on Facebook Marketplace, instead of sending them to landfill.

Your thoughts about replacing your front door are also right on track. When I’m preparing a house for sale, part of my process is to let in as much light as possible. Typically this involves removing or tying back drapes, taking down extra window coverings, and replacing those spiral-shaped energy saving lightbulbs with 60 or 100-watt LED bulbs. I’ve seen builder’s grade slab front doors on a thousand different houses, and while they do a nice job of keeping out snow, they also block a lot of light. You’ll see a significant difference in your home when you add a window to the entryway. You can gauge the effect by opening your current door and seeing how much light comes in. Along with brightening up your interior, a new door is also great for curb appeal. Like a beautiful smile, it’s the first thing a buyer sees when they walk up to the house.

PRO TIP: As a homeowner, the value of the updates you make can be examined through a few different lenses. If you plan on staying in your house for decades, the decisions you make may be slightly different than if you want to downsize in the next few years. Making your appliances look the same and updating your front door are investments that will pay off when it comes time to sell. I don’t know that there’s any direct math to calculate return on investment, but first impressions are priceless. With a tax windfall coming your way, it’s a great time to tidy up some things around the house. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.