Buyers in today's market are generally expecting a home to present its best foot forward from the moment they step out of their vehicle. Attracting them is important for getting a return on your initial home investment. By employing a few smart improvements to your property, you can not only make your home more attractive to potential buyers, but also increase the value and your selling price beyond what the improvements themselves cost.
Remember: The return on home improvements always varies somewhat from one location to another. Make sure to consult with a real estate agent before embarking on any major renovations, to make sure that you don't arrange to pay more than the changes will earn.
Get It Spic & Span
The first thing to do when preparing your home for sale is to do a thorough cleaning. Dust and vacuum. Scrub the bathrooms. Make your mirrors and windows sparkle. Organize your closets (buyers may look in them!). Box and store unneccessary items. Make sure any minor maintenance or repair issues are taken care of. These are cheap, often free improvements that can make a home look much better than it would otherwise. The goal is to present an attractive home while making it easy for a potential buyer to imagine themselves living there.
Before taking your property photos and before every home showing, make sure to do a run of the house and pick up any stray items on the floor or other surfaces. Keep cleaning regularly until your home is sold.
Spruce Up Walls and Flooring
Doing a complete repaint of your house is rarely practical, but often isn't needed, either — one or two rooms may do the trick. Consider repainting a room if its colours don't mesh well with other rooms in the house, if there's too much of one colour throughout your home, or if there are blemishes or dents that can't easily be removed (remember to plaster them before painting).
As for flooring, replace any area rugs or worn carpets that can't be saved by a good cleaning. If it's within your budget, replace wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood flooring, even if it's only in one or two rooms. It can increase the value of your home significantly in the eyes of a potential buyer.
Replace Your Doors
You might not think of it, but many professionals recommend replacing the doors in your home before a sale, particularly the front door and garage door (if you have one). A new door on an older house is an inexpensive way to give the façade an updated appearance, while a mid-to-high range garage door replacement can add considerable value to a home.
Add Space and Storage
One of the most reliable ways to add value to a home is to increase either the usable amount of space or the overall square footage. There are a number of ways this can be done, with a variety of price ranges — check with your real estate agent or local contractor to see which is best for your home. Common renovations include:
- Turning unfinished space into finished storage.
- Converting a large closet into an office.
- Building add-ons such as new rooms or additional stories.
- Basement remodels and expansions.
- Creating an attic bedroom.
Minor or Mid-Range Kitchen Improvements
Kitchens can often bring added value when updated, but only within a certain range. Various reports have shown that while minor and mid-range kitchen remodels add noticeable value (particularly on the Pacific coast), major kitchen remodels very often cost more than they bring in.
Some minor and mid-range updates to consider are staining the cabinets, upgrading your countertop, and making sure that all of your appliances match.
Update or Add A Bathroom
Even small bathroom improvements can provide a big return on investment. Installing new countertops and vanities, cleaning the grout, or replacing the toilet can make a dated bathroom look like a brand new addition.
Unlike kitchens, bathrooms often provide value equal to the size of the remodel, so a high-end remodel may be a profitable decision to make if you have the budget.
Boost Your Curb Appeal
The exterior appearance of your property is vital when it comes time to sell. Some buyers will refuse to even enter a home that doesn't look attractive on the outside. Keeping a neat yard and investing in some low-maintenance landscaping for your home can create great value when you sell. Keep lawns clean and trimmed, and plant some simple gardening or a tree.
Deteriorating fences should be removed, repaired, or replaced. Make sure all lawn furniture is matched and in good condition. Adding even a small deck or patio can create the illusion of extra backyard space for your home, while greatly increasing the attractiveness of your property: deck additions consistently rank high on lists of popular exterior improvements.
Replace Exterior Siding
If your home is of an older construction, have your siding checked by a professional and replaced with new foam-backed vinyl siding. New siding freshens up a home's appearance while providing better insulation and energy savings. It may not seem like much, but like all exterior improvements, it tends to have a higher cost-value ratio than interior upgrades.
Upgrade Your Windows
Windows, especially in older homes, are often best replaced with new vinyl fixtures and casements. Along with updating the appearance of your home, they have a longer lifespan and can increase energy savings.
Bonus Tip: Update Indoor Sytems
Examine the light and air quality inside your home. Updated lighting fixtures and ceiling fans can give a home a completely different appearance, while clean air flow can be strikingly noticeable to someone stepping inside your home for the first time. Consider also adding a single money-saving luxury, such as hot water on demand, or in-floor radiant heating in the bathrooms.
Bonus Tip: Introduce Energy Savings
Adding new energy-efficient fixtures to your home can create an incentive for eco-friendly buyers, or those looking to save costs in the long run. They don't have to be expensive: if you have windows that allow for significant loss or gain of heat and you can't afford to replace them, installing dark, thick curtains or shades can reduce the problem and add savings.
Bonus Tip: Spend An Hour With A Pro
As your real estate professional, I will engage the services of a stager for a 2 hour consultation. In the end, there is no substitute for a professional opinion. They will go through your home with you and suggest simple improvements to maximize your investment.