Real Estate Renovations

Do you ever wonder what EXACTLY people are referring to when they refer to a house and say “the place just needs a bit of lipstick”, or “it’s just ugly but has good bones”? Well, we have a property in Nanaimo that fits that description. Our tenants are leaving and we’re getting ready to either sell it (nice timing, eh?) or rent it out to new tenants. When our realtor walked through, he said that it needed some touch ups to make it look better. I sent my Mom through the property – she is incredible at envisioning what a property can be with some simple changes – and she said all it really needed is to pull down the sunshine ceiling in the kitchen and some paint. And, she kindly offered, “your Dad can probably do the work”.

Well the only thing I love better than something being easy is something being easy and free. So, I got up at 5am on Saturday and boarded one of BC’s lovely ferries to go to Nanaimo for the day and help my Dad. With 6 hours of a work a few hundread dollars in materials we made a big difference. It’s all about the simple and cheap real estate renovations.

Check it out:

The Sunshine Ceiling in the Kitchen EXACTLY how it was when we arrived.

Who would put the wires on the outside of the ceiling? What a mess!

Who would put the wires on the outside of the ceiling? What a mess!


Ceiling needs painting...but otherwise...much better

Ceiling needs painting...but otherwise...much better

Simple changes make a big difference:

Old Hardware and New Hardware - Big Difference!

Old Hardware and New Hardware - Big Difference!

Once the painting is done, it will look much fresher and way more appealing. It’s tough to translate that into dollars directly, but I can assure you we are more likely to get new renters at the highest possible rental rates with it looking like that!

We’ve never bought properties to flip – we make changes like this to attract renters, get higher rents, or if we’re interested in selling the property, to increase the speed of the sale or increase the sale price. Knowing what simple changes can make a big difference can really help enhance the value of a property. Here’s a few ideas for low cost and low skill but high impact changes you can do yourself, from the outside in:

  • Simple yard maintenance like mowing the lawn, pulling out the weeds, raking leaves
  • Power washing the outside of the home to get it clean
  • Painting the window trims or the outside of the house
  • Inside of the house…change the hardware (as shown above) to update cabinets and cupboards
  • Fill holes in the walls
  • Paint!! ALWAYS makes a difference… stick to neutral colours
  • In the bathroom instead of replacing a counter top you can paint it. There are special paints you can use. We’ve done this and it’s such a cheap and effective way to cover up the 70’s purples or oranges
  • Replace light fixtures with more modern ones
  • Clean! With a fresh coat of paint and a good cleaning almost every place looks much better.

Want to learn more about real estate investing? Check out our website at

We’ve got a free Real Estate Investing Starter Tips Guide you will get along with our e-mail newsletter articles and tips.

Being able to spot the ugly houses that simply need a few light cosmetic changes can be tough. There are programs that can help you make sure you don’t waste your money on renovations. One book you can download to help you learn more is Renovating Real Estate for Profit. With steps to take to help you avoid making mistakes AND a money back guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Check it out here.


Filed under financing, investing, real estate, renovations

6 responses to “Real Estate Renovations

  1. Rab

    Looks like you will get a good rent increase with the changes you made. And yes it does look very much more up to date and appealing.
    thanks for sharing your hints with us.

  2. Dave

    Hi Rab, we are glad you found our hints and tips informative! As with a lot of real estate, often you just have to roll your sleeves up and do a bit of work to make the property look much better. We usually hire trades people to do the work for us, but sometimes it’s easier or certainly more cost-effective to just do the work yourself! If you can find the time (and have some aptitude), it’s often very satisfying doing the work, rather than paying someone.

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