- Half empty closets: Buyers are always looking for plenty of storage so taking half of the items out of your closet and neatly organizing what’s left will give the illusion of more storage space.
- Let the light shine: Aside from location, many buyers state that good lighting in a home is important. Clean the windows, change out lampshades and put in higher wattage light bulbs, and trim trees and bushes to let more light into the windows. A light and cheery home is more attractive than a dark home.
- Put the pets away: Not everyone is an animal lover so be sure to put your dog or cat into a pet hotel for the day if you have a lot of showings scheduled. Also be sure to stow away pet beds, litter boxes, dog toys, etc.
- Don’t over-upgrade: Quick fixes before putting your house on the market are always a good idea; paint the walls, replace kitchen hardware, invest in new and inexpensive curtains, etc. Doing huge, costly home improvement projects right before selling can backfire-you won’t necessarily recoup the money you invested in the project when you sell.
- Always be ready for a showing: You never know when your buyer is going to want to walk through your home; always be prepared for a showing. Keep the kitchen sink clean, make sure your home is dusted and vacuumed, and make sure the bathrooms are clean. You only get one chance to make a first impression on buyers!
- Materials matter over brand or price: Tests have found that stainless steel is the toughest sink material and the more expensive thicker gauge stainless steel sinks aren’t necessarily better than thinner less expensive sinks. When looking at sound absorption, pads on the bottom of the sink’s exterior worked better than spray-on coatings. As far as scratches go, matte finishes do a better job at hiding the damage than polished surfaces do.
- Go with an undermount sink: These are only appropriate for waterproof countertops; they create a clean look and also make for easy cleanup since spills and crumbs can be wiped right into the sink.
- Don’t spend a lot on a faucet: Pick the style that you like since most faucets (except for the absolute cheapest) come with a lifetime warranty against leaks and stains. Ensure the faucet you choose is proportionate to the size of your sink.
- Super Kitchens: Kitchens are no longer just for cooking; they are an entertainment space and the center of the home. Kitchens are now being built open to other rooms and islands are being used as a divider between rooms instead of walls. As kitchens are becoming more open, pantries are getting bigger to provide more storage.
- Outdoor/Indoor spaces merge: Indoor spaces are built to flow into outdoor areas so that homeowners can easily go between both spaces. Another note about outdoor areas; the once traditional public backyard is becoming less popular. Having a private backyard oasis is becoming more important to homeowners so builders are starting to position homes so that the backyard is more private.
- Bigger garages: Not only do homeowners want more space for their cars, they also want to be able to use their garage for hobbies, work spaces, and more storage.
- Home office: Home office spaces are increasingly in demand and they may not be placed off of the entry of the home like many have been. Many people want their office to be closer to both the kitchen and the family room.
- Tech spaces: Technology use is widespread so builders are beginning to build small “server” rooms since many homes are now using smart technology.
- Dual homes: More people are living under one roof due to adults living with their parents longer, older parents moving in, and cultural preferences. Multi-generational homes are emerging that offer features such as separate main entrances and attached suites that serve as private residences.
Curious about ways to add value to your home or are you getting ready to sell? When thinking about home improvements, it’s crucial to think in terms of getting the most return from your investment. Here are ten projects you can do that will add to your home without taking too much out of your pocket in the long run.
1. Replace your front door: Putting in a new steel front door goes a long way for the first impression your home makes. If you don’t want to invest in a new door, simply spruce up your old one with a new paint job and brand new hardware.
2. Add a deck or a patio: Buyers are always looking for outdoor living space so adding that patio or deck will make your home that much more appealing.
3. Add new living space: If your budget allows, adding extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or expanding a living space is a great return on your investment. For example, you can get 84% back on your investment by putting in an attic bedroom.
4. Add a new garage door: Manufacturers offer a wide range of styles and colors for garage doors. Adding a new garage door will give your home an instant face lift.
5. Remodel the kitchen: Kitchens are the center of a house so buyers look carefully at them. If you are looking to sell soon, don’t do a major remodel but instead do minor fixes to update the look and feel of your kitchen. When doing a minor remodel you can expect to get back 82% of your investment and when doing a major remodel you can see around 74% of your investment returned to you.
6. Replace your windows: Buyers care about how your windows look as well as whether or not they are energy efficient. If you do replace your windows and are selling your home, be sure to highlight your new windows as they are a highlight of your home.
7. Replace your siding: If the exterior of your home is worn and in need of updating/replacing, getting new vinyl or fiber-cement mix siding is a great idea. You can expect to receive 78% back on your investment for using vinyl siding or 87% back for fiber-cement siding!
8. Finish your basement: Nowadays many buyers are looking for space to entertain. A remodeled basement is a very attractive asset and you can potentially get back 78% of your investment when creating a basement to entertain.
9. Update your bathrooms: While a major bathroom remodel can cost upwards of $50,000 and only add about $32,000 worth of value to your home, you can make minor changes to the space and still achieve added value. Small changes such as replacing fixtures and faucets, painting the walls, re caulking the tub, or adding crown molding will go a long way.
10. Two-Story Addition: Adding an extension on to your family room or adding a new bedroom and bathroom upstairs will hugely increase the value of your home. No matter what project(s) you choose to do, here is a word of caution: be careful not to over-improve your home for the neighborhood.
- Screwdrivers (Flat head and Phillips)
- Tape measure
- Power drill
- Vise grips
- Staple gun
These projects usually require a permit, but be sure to check with your local jurisdiction to be sure!
- Putting in a gas stove
- Replacing windows or doors
- Building a deck
- Putting in a fence
- Creating a safe room or storm shelter
- Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen
- Installing new electrical wiring
- Replacing a gas water heater
- Freshen up paint, front door, and hardware: Painting a room is an inexpensive way to instantly update the space. Even if you don’t repaint your entire house, painting trim, especially around the front door and windows, will make a big difference. If your front door has seen better days, consider replacing it or giving it a fresh coat of paint. Pay attention to the doorknob as well; clean it so it shines or replace a brass doorknob with a more contemporary brushed nickel one. Replacing switch plates and outlet covers can also do wonders.
- Let the light in: It’s important to let as much light as possible in to your home. Add lamps and make sure that they are on when your house is shown. Make sure that blinds are open and that your home is light and airy. If you have dated light fixtures or old fans, consider investing in new ones. Big box stores offer many well priced options that will have a huge visual impact in your home.
- Invest in the kitchen and bathrooms: For many buyers, an updated or at least a very clean kitchen and bathrooms are important. If your bathrooms’ tile floors need replacing but you can’t afford to, consider digging out the old grout and replacing it with new grout. This can really transform a dated floor into something new. Caulk the shower and the tub; if your bathtub is scratched or chipped you can get it reglazed for under $500. Installing new faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms either yourself or by a professional can really update the room as well.
- Curb appeal: No matter what season you are selling your home in, it’s important to pull weeds, mulch, and add colorful plants or flowers (bushes with berries are a good option for the winter). The exterior of your home is the first impression that a buyer gets so make it count!