If you’re planning on selling your home soon, then chances are that there may be some significant work ahead. Some items on your home improvement “to-do” list may better prepare it for a competitive marketplace.
Sure, it’s a no-brainer to take care of the most basic issues first and foremost. That said, it may also be worth looking at some key cosmetic and even structural improvements too. Doing that may not only help you sell the home faster, but also for a higher price than what you might get without them.
An important thing to remember: Sellers need to put themselves in the position of buyers. That requires getting somewhat emotionally detached from the home and looking at things objectively. Rest assured that this approach can make a world of difference come closing day.
So without further ado, let’s look into some home improvement ideas that will help your home stand out of the crowd:
1. Consider Some Key Exterior Improvements
Look at the condition of the home’s siding, plastering, paint, or any brick finishes. You will also want to ensure that the front door area is up to par on all counts.
The data shows that homeowners recoup an average of 95% on exterior home improvements. Rest assured that if everything is done right and cost-effectively, the projects will be a pretty safe bet.
- Consider updating the home with fiber cement siding. It’s rapidly becoming a popular choice with upscale above-median value homes for several reasons including value and durability. What’s more, doing it will more than pay for itself on closing day in most cases.
- Use paint color samples to ensure selecting the right coordinating colors for trim, doors, and other accents!
- Consider removing any old or worn-out awnings from windows and doors. Doing so will transform the overall look of the home from the street. Also, consider switching out iron or metal railings with hardwood on stairs and entryways.
2. Add A Patio, Porch, or Deck
Here’s a great way to add to the home’s living area quickly and cost-effectively. Data shows that a porch or patio addition will net a return of around 90% on average when the home sells. It makes the home stand out more attractively for growing families, as well as couples who like to entertain regularly.
A solid bet is to go with a deck built with pressure-treated wood. A deck of around 300 square feet or so should run about $10,000 in labor and materials. In most cases, it will pay for itself on closing day.
Note that enclosed porches are also a great bet, just be prepared to lay out more money for the project.
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3. Consider A Kitchen Makeover
While the cost of a major kitchen remodeling project may seem frightening at first glance, understand that it can do wonders for a home’s resale value. Depending on the size of the kitchen, consider updating cabinets/countertops, adding an island, swap out the appliances, and updating the flooring.
Budgeting rule of thumb: For a major remodel, budget around 10-15% of the home’s value to the kitchen project.
A major goal is to open up the kitchen’s space as much as possible. Ensure that the layout is uncluttered and intuitive. That will help the kitchen feel bigger and more spacious.
Giving the kitchen an “eat-in” aspect is always a plus. Putting some effort into the kitchen’s lighting scheme is also a plus. Be sure to utilize the latest-generation LED lighting and fixtures that will complement the space.
4. Spruce Up The Basement (and/or Attic)
A solid basement or attic redo will also almost always pay for itself, while providing more usable living space to the home. It’s a no-lose proposition!
For basements, consider adding a laminate floor, an additional bathroom, and even a wet bar for entertaining. Accents like quality lighting and convertible furniture are always a great touch.
NOTE: Take potential moisture and insulation issues into account when finishing interior walls. Also, ensure that flooding issues are taken care of before starting any basement remodeling project!
For attics, consider splitting the attic into separate storage and livable areas. Putting up a wall on one end with a door is a great solution for the storage space. If the floor is hardwood, consider a polyurethane lacquer finish to spice up the room. Furnish the space smartly with a futon, shelving, and other usable accents.
Also ensure that the attic’s upper walls sub-roof panels are well-insulated if the home is subject to cold winters. Also, make sure that all windows are double-insulated and have good energy-efficiency ratings (more on that next!).
5. Update The Windows
Yes, we do tend to repeat ourselves this one. But if you do the windows right, and you’ll get back around 90 cents on every dollar spent at the time of sale.
When it comes to window replacement, they pay off handsomely if living in or around major cities. Consider “Low-E” windows if living in a warmer climate. They’re proven to reflect heat and improve energy efficiency beyond what insulated windows deliver.
Windows built-in durable vinyl framing tends to be the most cost-effective, but aluminum frames are also solid contenders. Shop around with local contractors and major retailers to find the best overall deals.
It’s no secret that home buyers will gravitate to homes that are well-maintained and updated over older “project” homes any day of the week. The key is to ensure that you’re truly adding value with the improvements you make.
Too often, homeowners add “glitzy” upgrades and improvements that deliver little if any value to the home buyer. Going that route usually results in wasted money and effort, since any investments won’t be sufficiently recouped on closing day.
Keep things practical, logical, and realistic when it comes to making improvements. That will always be the smart way to go.