A Modest Investment & Simple Design Gets Big Returns

When we first set out to buy a house, we had no idea what we were getting into. Based on the price we wanted to pay, we quickly came to terms that if we wanted the better areas we were going to have to settle for a fixer-upper. When I think back to the MANY houses we looked at, I am happy we landed with the one we did — but I also still dream about the potential renos we could have done all of the others.

How did we turn a $300,000 house into a $600,000 house in under two years?

Good timing, the right renos and a cohesive design all played a part!



This was our first house, which meant most of our savings went into the downpayment. We also were due to have our first child (our son Cash) just two months after we moved in. So on a budget and under a time crunch we had to make sure the investments we were making were going to get us the most return – both for living and selling! Here’s what we did:

  • Demo’d everything all at once. This included all of the bathrooms (wall tile, showers, toilets, etc.), carpeted areas and basement. Saved money by just needing to get the large bin disposal one time.

  • Replaced all flooring on the second and third levels with the same click-connect laminate. We were able to preserve the wood flooring and tile in the kitchen.
  • Painted all ceilings, trim and walls. Chose a consistent neutral colour palette that worked throughout the entire house.

  • Replaced light fixtures where needed, but mostly saved all door handles, hinges and fixtures if in good enough condition.

  • Right before we sold, we re-finished the driveway and laid down fresh sod in the backyard.


With a lot of hard work, some smart design decisions and the beautiful features of a century home, we were able to transform this house for $40,000. Here are the top areas that we got the greatest return on our investment:

  • We saved the wood vanities and kitchen cupboards, opting to paint them instead of replacing them.

  • We picked out all of the paint colours ahead of time, and bought everything when it went on sale before the reno began.

  • We kept as many fixtures and lights as possible, re-finishing them or where necessary replacing with inexpensive but modern solutions.

  • We used a click-connect laminate on both the second and third floors. This made for easy install and a lower price-point than hardwood. With a dog and a kid on the way, we knew we needed durability but still wanted the authentic look of wood.


As our family grew, we knew we needed to relocate closer to our places of work. Having just finished the house within the past year, we knew it was an optimal time to sell as everything was still fresh, bright and new. The key to maximizing our return was not only completing the renos on a budget, but also controlling the first impression any potential buyers would have. We hired a trusted real estate agent who delivered big time.

With professional photos to enhance the natural character of the house as well as our hard work, we had a beautiful portfolio of our work, sure to make any buyer fall in love at first click. In what can only be described as a hot spring real estate market, we had sold the house in 3 days for $100,000 over asking and exactly double what we paid for the house.

  • Original Purchase Price: $303,000

  • Renovation Budget: $40,000

  • Timeline: 2 months to renovate, 1.5 years from purchase to sale

  • Sold Price: $600,000

Connect with us to learn more about this project and how we can help you get the most out of your investment with us.