If you're considering putting your home on the market, there are a plethora of improvements you can make that will attract buyers to your home. But chatting with your neighbor or watching HGTV won't necessarily tell you which of those improvements to put money into.
The trick is to spend on improvements what you will recoup (or, mostly) when you decide to sell. Here are the Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Resale Value that agents almost universally agree are HOT.
- Kitchen -- The heart of the home, it's the room that also gets the most ooh's and aah's from visitors and potential buyers. The cost of this room should be in line with the rest of the house - meaning a remodel done effectively will get you 60% to 120% of your investment cost with a Buyer. Yes, that's positive equity. Begin with a fresh coat of neutral paint, eliminating knick-knacks and wallpaper. This is a great transformation, but easy enough for a Buyer to change if it's not to their liking. Next, upgrade old appliances to new, Energy-Star rated models. Lastly, countertops and cabinet fronts will afford you a new look without spending an arm and a leg for a total overhaul.
- Bathroom -- Next to kitchens, bathrooms do the trick. Consider a master bath facelift. And if you're short on bathrooms, consider adding. Look at bedroom, closets and storage spaces, instead of bumping our your walls - it's money well spent, often recouping 80% to 130% of cost. Half baths only need 18 square feet, while a full bath (stand-up shower) needs 30... or 35 if you want a tub.
- Reinvent a Room -- Adding living or sleeping space can be incredibly expensive and may only recover a portion of the cost. To save, consider reinventing an existing space. Keep the room versitile to meet the needs of any future homebuyers - we built a false wall for our projection screen in the media room to cover the brick fireplace, in case a future owner wants to convert the room back into a secondary den. Attics make great playrooms! If nothing else, a fresh coat of paint will lift the feel of the home overall.
- Energy Efficient Windows -- It's not a 'sexy' project. But replacing old, dirty windows with Energy Star-rated windows can save you $500 a year in heating and cooling and is one of the first things Buyers will look at when conducting a home inspection. The annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine estimates you can expect 60% to 90% of this cost (that's about $7,000 to $10,000 for the average sized home). There's also tax credits of 10% for this upgrade, as long as you install windows with Energy Star rating. Also a great time to consider going larger and adding more natural light in your home.
- Did anybody say Deck? -- Outdoor living is so crucial to a Buyer's perception of your space. Even in the heat of Texas, one of the most popular wish-list items is a nice outdoor living area. The cost on this one will vary widely, depending on materials, size, professional vs. DIY and more... But you can expect between $1,000 and $10,000. We had an old hot tub that wasn't in use at our house when we purchased. Since it was no longer needed, we ripped that thing out, stained the slab she sat on, slapped a pergola overhead and updated our outdoor furniture. It keeps things neutral for future owners, and offers us the outdoor space we needed.
When it's time to sell, use high-wattage lighting to make spaces feel larger (if furnished) and low-wattage lighting to soften and lend warmth to empty areas. Spend a few bucks on replacing hinges, pull-knobs and switch plates. Small tweaks can be just as dramatic as those big dollar ones...
If you have some hesitation about what to do, call me! I've been happy to meet with many clients to offer some advise on what to invest in before listing, and usually end up saving them quite a bit in unnecessary items.