March 10, 2011
With the real estate market on a slow but steady rise, many homeowners in the country have a to-do list of projects to put more value into the home they’ve worked hard for.
Whether you are looking to sell your home or just want to give it a facelift, organizing and upgrading gives you a better chance to boost your home’s resale value.
The first huge step when marketing a house to buyers is getting them to come inside. A house with outdoor debris, sloppy landscaping, and unattractive trash or recycle bins lining its curb is not going to excite anyone to step into a house.
The impression at the curb can make the biggest difference – if little care is given to the outside, what will that mean for the inside? Organizing, tidying and cleaning the exteriors before marketing a home is essential.
The bathroom and all its fixtures and details is often a bigger selling point than the four walls of a bedroom. Unfortunately, it’s also the room in the house that is most likely to be outdated.
Upgrading the faucets and sinks will give an instant facelift to a bathroom. A combination of smaller improvements, such as painting, de-cluttering and redecorating, are easy and will win over buyers, too, without putting a huge dent in your wallet. Adding storage solutions, such as a vanity or linen cabinets, will have a positive impact as well.
Closets and other storage
Nicely designed and functional closets are always a surprise to potential home buyers. When touring a home, it is typical to see the standard shelf and rod configuration, so a custom closet system will definitely stay in their minds as they see other houses – it is simply a feature that is not expected! Some nice storage solutions (e.g. pantries, media units, garages) can also make a significant difference, as buyers don’t often come across these.
Just think: If a buyer sees two identical homes and one of them has impressive storage systems installed and the other doesn’t, who would get the sale?
If you walked into a house with white walls and then another with painted walls, which are you going to feel more “at home” in? It’s a no-brainer, right? Painting walls is usually the first go-to change most people make to their homes and it is for good reason. Cold, sterile walls are not welcoming and could hinder the impression on a buyer about the homeowner’s interest in maintaining the house.
It is easy, fast, and inexpensive, so it’s hard to find an excuse not to, right? If you don’t do any other project, paint!
Convert the basement into a living room
There is something extremely comforting in walking into a home and seeing the basement or garage spaces being utilized for something productive. These spaces tend to have the reputation of being the “catch-all” area where clutter accumulates. Get creative with the décor: Create a wine storage and cocktail lounge, game room, home theater, piano room… the possibilities are endless!
Start with a simple pantry cabinet makeover to create an organized, welcoming kitchen. If you’re ready for a bigger investment, renovate by installing all stainless steel appliances, updating the backsplash, applying a fresh coat of paint, and adding new cabinetry and countertops.
Make sure your kitchen renovation is appropriate to the home value, the surrounding area, and your home’s decor. Spending a quarter of what your home is worth on a kitchen remodel is not appropriate. Modern elements should not be mixed with traditional or dated elements.
As far as the exterior of the home, your investment in a deck will get you the most return in cost – about 80% according to Remodeling magazine. The addition of this outdoor space moves potential buyers to daydream about the parties they can host, enjoying family dinners outside, or where they are going to place their mighty grill. Overall, it can be a huge selling point.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Though there is much that can be improved upon in any home, there are some things that you should avoid that won’t be worth your time OR money. Adding a swimming pool or excessive landscaping, for example, will not help you. Buyers might see these as huge maintenance chores that they will have to keep up with, which is not something anyone would want to have on their plate when purchasing a new home. If these are already part of your home, then great! But avoid adding things of this nature solely for the purpose of wanting to sell.