There are a few things to consider before remodeling. First, is your time frame. If you’re planning on moving within the next five years, you really want to keep in mind what will give you the best return on your investment. If you’re not sure of your plans and may end up staying in the house for any period longer than five years, you should be concerned less with what you’ll get back and more with what will be most enjoyable to live with.
When remodeling a home it is very easy to go overboard. This may not be such a bad thing if you’re planning on living in your home and enjoying your upgrades for many years to come. Though, this does not make sense when you’re planning on selling your home. There are many home improvements that will add value to your home and help you sell, and then there are those that will cause you a huge headache and may cost you way more in the long run.
If you are planning on selling, it is very important to compare your home to homes in the neighborhood before making any changes. You don’t want to over-improve so much that the asking price of your home skyrockets past your neighbors. The main rule of remodeling to sell is don’t replace what doesn’t matter. The best things to focus on are exterior upgrades like entry doors, landscaping, and siding. Interiors are not as important to buyers, though small improvements in kitchens, bathrooms, and main living spaces can help tremendously. Secondary living areas like garages and laundry rooms should be left for the next homeowner. Just as, if not more, important as cosmetic upgrades are structural home improvements. Make sure to get a home inspection done before you spend your budget on those fancy new kitchen cabinets just to find out there’s a crack in the foundation down the road.
Budget is probably the biggest thing to keep in mind when remodeling to sell. To stay in budget there are a some do’s and don’ts to remember. Don’t replace what can be cleaned, painted or repaired. Do leave things that the new owner would rather buy themselves. Don’t buy into trends, seeing as all homeowners are different. Instead, do use neutral tones and natural light to draw in potential buyers.
There are several small improvements on the exterior of your home that can make a huge difference when putting your house on the market. Curb appeal is truly the number one thing buyers are looking for. Seeing is believing! A fresh coat of paint over old, chipped siding can make all the difference in the world. Replacing an entry way door boasts as the number one return. Small upgrades to hardware finishes, or even straightening crooked shutters are highly influential to a buyer’s perception.
Make sure to address your landscaping. This is another area that it is easy to go overboard. Some freshly laid mulch and some carefully placed flowers are big improvements to your home’s appearance. Make sure to take care of any overgrown bushes or tree limbs as well. If you are a few years out from selling, it is worth considering replacing big ticket items on your house like the roofing and siding. An old roof is likely to cause problems when it comes to appraisal. It is wise to consider replacing your roof outright, rather than taking a concession on the sale price of your home. In addition, siding replacement has an average return on investment of 80%.
It is a common trend that homeowners will focus too much on upgrading kitchens and bathrooms in an attempt to recoup the most when selling, though this seems to not be the case. While designing kitchens and bathrooms can be fun, it is more than likely that a buyer could be put off by a particular style. It is much more sensible to leave the design aspect to the next homeowner. Easy upgrades like refinishing cabinets, adding neutral backsplash, or even just replacing hardware will appeal to a buyer’s imagination rather than focus them in on the amount of work the space may need. Kitchen appliances may be a good thing to replace if the current ones are extremely outdated, though remember to stick to economical upgrades. Remember, one of the most valuable things you can do is to professionally clean your home. This will make even the oldest fixtures sparkle and keep homeowners from seeing the age as easily. Lighting changes can also dramatically affect how buyers see a space. Change out old lighting with new, inexpensive fixtures, or even just change bulbs from a yellow tinged light to a clear halogen light bulb that will help the space appear more open.
Your main living areas are probably best left alone unless for a new coat of paint. Hardwood floors are huge selling points (they can up the value of your home 6%!), so refinishing existing hardwood or removing old carpet to expose original hardwood are both great investments. Crown molding is an instant upgrade to any room that can remain pretty inexpensive. Another big ROI is installing loose-fill fiberglass insulation in the attic. This is one of the only home improvements that will guarantee you more back in sale price than you spend on installing it.
When remodeling your home to sell, remember to address any structural or code violations first. Then move on to aesthetic exterior upgrades, then move inside to small details, and remember to only invest in what is necessary! Make sure to clean, clean, clean. Washing old windows, power washing driveways and patios, and repairing anything cracked or broken will all allude to a home that is not only a good investment, but somewhere a buyer can feel at home!