If you’re selling your home, there are certain renovations you can undertake to help increase your asking price — without breaking the bank.
If you’re planning to stay in your home for the next 10 to 15 years, you don’t need to worry too much about the return on investment, or ROI, from your home improvement projects. But if you know you’ll be selling and moving in two to five years, you’ll want to think about where to spend your money to increase your home’s marketability and get the biggest bang for your buck — while of course also considering which improvements you’d like to see as the current inhabitant.
Outside the Box
When it comes to selling a home, it’s all about how to add curb appeal to your property.
“If people aren’t going to stop and look at your house, it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the inside,” says John Harris, owner of Landscape Economics, an environmental consultancy in Hollywood, Florida.
A good way to draw interest is with your landscaping — how does it compare to that of your neighbors?
“The landscape is a part of your real estate value and will have an effect on it. If a house is $500,000, up to 25% could be associated with the landscape,” Harris says.
Even a 5% investment in landscaping can raise the value of a home by 15%, according to a study done by the University of Florida and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
So get out those clippers and start trimming hedges, fix the broken bricks on your walkway, and maybe add some flower boxes for a pop of color. Then step back and look at your home’s exterior.
“When the buyer pulls up to your home, what do they see? You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says William Hanley, vice president of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Westfield, New Jersey. “If your storm door isn’t in good shape, change it. Do the gutters need attention? Are the downspouts connected? Does the garage door need to be painted?” In other words, you’ve got to think like a potential homebuyer.
Inside the Box
The two rooms in your house that will bring you the best ROI are the kitchen and bathroom. But updating these spaces doesn’t mean you have to do a gut rehab. Go for the low-hanging fruit first for the greatest return.
“Do you remember selling your car on your own?” Hanley says. “You’d polish it, clean the leather, the carpets and the trunk that might not have been cleaned for the 15 years you owned the car.”
It’s the same with selling your home.
“You must pay attention to the details,” he adds. “The way you live is different than the way you need to market your home.”
Try some of the following:
· Put a fresh face on your walls with a coat of paint — but first find out what the trends are. For instance: Gray is the latest neutral.
· Paint your cabinets and replace old knobs (perhaps those newer horizontal-style knobs in polished chrome).
· Depending on your budget, you might replace an old laminate countertop with granite or install a new backsplash.
· Swap old appliances for new ones.
· Pull up carpeting to show hardwood floors — and have those refinished. If there are no hardwoods, have the carpets cleaned.
· For an easy bathroom update, install a new vanity or pedestal sink — furniture-style vanities are popular right now — and replace cracked tiles or install a prefab tub surround.
Above all, aim for your home to look clean, well-maintained and cared for. You don’t want people coming into your house “thinking there’s a to-do list if they purchase it,” Hanley says.