PROJECTS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
It’s always surprising to me how many people reach out in preparation for selling their home to get information, and proceed to let me know that they are undertaking a major remodel to help get their home sold. This is rarely a profitable choice, especially in a seller’s market AND especially with the cost of building materials right now. Someday, I’ll write a whole blog post on this topic, but for now, you should know that 95% of the time, this is a bad idea. Consult with a local Realtor for advice before you make any big changes.
However, along these lines, there are a handful of small, meaningful projects and upgrades that you can make to your property that can offer a good return on your investment of money and time.
All of these items could easily fall under the category of repairing wear and tear. General Maintenance is a great, low cost way to attract buyers. Doing a critical walkthrough and creating a list is a good idea to see which projects you want to tackle. The following checklist can be of help.
Lighting – Do all of the light switches work? Are any bulbs burnt out? Are there Wiring issues that need addressing?
Plumbing – Are all faucets working, without leaks, drips, issues with drainage or water pressure?
Appliances – Do all of the large and small appliances function as needed? Are there any missing parts needing to be replaced? Do they need any servicing or cleaning?
Walls – What is the condition of the walls/basebords? Are there chips or scratches in the paint? Or does the paint have any stains, fading, cracking or peeling? Are other wall treatments, such as tile, in good shape, without cracks or leaks or stains?
Flooring – Is the floor covering in good shape? Are there any holes, stains, excessive scratches or areas needing to be refinished?
Yard/Landscaping – Does the Lawn need to be mowed? Are the shrubs touching the side of the house? Are there dangerous tree situations? Is there trash or clutter that needs to be removed? Do any areas need mulch? Is the fence and gate in good working order? Is there standing water anywhere?
Physical Exterior – Is there any chipped or peeling paint? Is the siding all in tact and without any rot or damage? Is the porch clean and free of clutter? Do all exterior lights work? Are walkways/driveways in good shape without access issues or dangerous elements? Are the gutters clear and functioning? Do the downspouts drain away from the house? Are there any missing window screens, or screens with tears?
Along with checking in on any deferred maintenance, there are some things that you can do to your home to update/upgrade it that are relatively low cost but that are big selling features for buyers
FIXTURES – Switching out little things like door knobs/hinges, faucets, switch plate covers, window coverings and lighting can make a massive difference. Newer fixtures give an updated and fresh look to otherwise standard homes, and won’t break the bank. Consider searching online or talking with your Realtor about what is trending right now to make your investment as attractive as possible to potential buyers.
SMART TECHNOLOGY – If it’s in your budget, upgrading toward “smart” features, USB ports in electrical sockets, Wireless home security cameras, Nest thermostat, LED smart lights, etc. are touches that buyers like and do notice.
PAINT “A LITTLE” – If you don’t have the need or budget to repaint the entire house, consider repainting just the exterior trim and doors, or adding new crown molding or baseboards inside. Also, painting accent walls can give a fresh feel to a room or area. Choosing a trending or “clean” look can really update a room.
LANDSCAPING/FENCING – If the exterior of your home is lacking curb appeal, usability, or functionality, investing in some minor upgrades can really attract buyers. Fully fenced properties (for kids/pets) are vastly more desirable, and many buyers factor in the cost of adding fencing (when needed) when they make offers on properties with deteriorating or absent fencing. Other similar upgrades might include creating a tidy yard free of excess weeds or overgrowth, taking out or pruning back large trees that might be a liability, or adding walkways/paths where they would be expected/needed.
EXPENSIVE UPGRADES THAT AREN’T RENOVATIONS
This category of projects are definitely more expensive than something as simple as new door knobs or a rose bush – but they DO contribute to getting your home sold.
NEW WINDOWS – If your property/home doesn’t come with newer, dual-paned vinyl windows, or especially if you have older windows that are painted shut or non-functioning, changing out the windows in your property will be a selling feature. Your old windows might look cool, and fit the character of your house, but if they don’t open, they’re definitely a hazard, and if they aren’t dual paned, then they affect the energy efficiency of the home.
NEW APPLIANCES – Even though houses do not need kitchen appliances to sell, upgrading these can make your listing really attractive to buyers. Having appliances under warranty, or that have barely been used is a big bonus to buyers. This category can include upgrades to a hot water heater or central heating system. Even a new gas or wood burning stove counts.
NEW FLOORING – If there are issues with the current flooring, such as rips, tears, stains and or just general wear and tear, installing new flooring can make a difference in your property’s desireability. However, if your plan is to install the cheapest flooring available or the most expensive high-end flooring available, it won’t make sense – something durable, middle-of the road/neutral and that makes sense with the design of the house
EXTERIOR PAINT – Some loan programs won’t allow for peeling paint on the exterior. In Humboldt, where we have lots of redwood siding (extremely durable, by the way) we also have lots of peeling paint. Touching up peeling spots, or overhauling the exterior paint is can be a selling feature, as buyers tend to focus on personalizing their new home from the inside out.
In summary, major renovations don’t usually offer a good return on your investment of time and money, but there are smaller jobs that you can do to make your house more sellable. Consider giving us a call for a pre-listing walk through to discuss ideas!
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