But before planning a single project, beware: Homeowners aren't able to recoup as many improvement costs as they did in recent years, according to a recent study by Remodeling magazine. In fact, real-estate agents advise clients not to overdo it regardless of what the local market conditions are like.
It's more important that the house is neat, clean and it looks spacious, rather than making sure it's the top of the line. I recommend bypassing projects that aren't necessary.
If you think that you will take the cost of the remodeling and add it to the cost of the home and ask the buyer to pay for it, often you are not going to get that higher price.
That's because asking prices are based largely on comparisons with similar homes in the area, and in many markets that aren't exactly booming right now, buyers have more negotiation power over the price of the home.
To keep costs down and spend remodeling dollars wisely, consider the following five tips:
- 1.) Ask for advice
Prior to making any remodeling plans, de-clutter your home and rent a storage unit if necessary to hold extra items, that we just can't part with, while the home is on the market. Often I will go into a home to inspect it, and can’t hardly turn around with out bumping into something. I truly recommend, getting some advice from a local real-estate agent on how the home stacks up against the competition. They see more houses in a month than most people see in their lifetimes.
Visit Aldrich's blog. This is a great web to help you prepare to list your home!
Get the realtor to make a prioritized list of improvements that will make a difference. Cleaning the carpets, painting the walls and removing wallpaper are common fixes -- if they're needed. It's wise to budget for these tasks before putting money aside for more expensive projects.
- 2.) Dig a little deeper
It also could pay to look below the surface by getting a “pre listing home inspection” before listing the property. That way, problems that could hold up a sale are addressed in advance. Some estimate that for every dollar of perceived defect, buyers want a $2 to $3 discount. If that's true, it might pay off to spend $2,500 replacing an old furnace. Plus, replacing something as necessary as a furnace helps create a favorable perception of how well a seller taken care of the home. If there's a problem with an essential element of the house, a buyer might think "if that was neglected, what else was?"
- 3.) What is your impression of your house compared to your neighbors? - Be Honest
The very first impression is when the potential buyer drives up to your property. “First impression is a lasting impression!” Pay attention to exterior details such as Lawn-care, trim the trees; “if you can’t see the house for the trees” what is your first impression?
What is the condition of siding and windows? Painting and cleaning the windows, is cheap, versus the return in value.
The payoff for these projects is much better than for an upgrade that a buyer might not need.
- 4.) Spend time in the bathroom
Freshening up the bathroom does not have to be expensive, but could be important. "People will put up with a lot of cosmetic challenges in a house if they know they could use the bathroom right away." It's most important for the bathroom to be clean, but also consider replacing fixtures, the tub, the sink and the toilet -- if they need it. Also you don’t have to go out and buy the high dollar fixtures. The median range, is more than adequate. Replace cracked titles and curled linoleum. If you are replacing the toilet, I recommend the taller, handicapped replacement toilets to appeal to an aging population. Especially in the Master bath.
- 5.) Keep it small in the kitchen
The other room that often sells a house is the kitchen. But it might be best to keep renovations modest. The Cost vs. Value Report found that homeowners could recover 83% of the cost of a minor kitchen remodel at resale compared with 78.1% of a major kitchen remodel. Buyers considering remodeling the kitchen will likely have their own preferences.
Along those same lines, replace a countertop if it's crumbling but not if its only fault is that it's outdated. Even then, seriously consider material costs -- there's no need to update to granite unless the competition has a granite countertops as well. If you decide to install Granite counter tops get the granite that has been sealed and comes with a warranty against stains.
I personally do not recommend Concrete counter tops! To much maintenance, and it does chip and crack.
- 6.) The Garage
Many time’s I go into a garage, and I can hardly turn around, much less inspect it. The buyer really does want to know if they can park their car/s in it! Clean it out! If you can’t throw the excess away, take it to a storage unit, and store it. This will probably take a day, but what a difference it will make. Guess what you will enjoy the accomplishment also!