Many homeowners thinking of selling wonder: Should I remodel? And if so, how much?While this is a complex question, the short answer is, “yes” if you want top dollar for your home and you can afford it.
A sellers’ market began in 2013. Today, it’s different but resembles the boom from 2003-2007 with low inventory that continues to decline. Homes are selling quickly and demand is high for those with the most current interior finishes and updates. Buyers are carefully making comparisons to ensure they are getting everything they want.
The models are what sell homes for builders. They are getting more savvy with today’s hot trends so sellers need to pay attention to the competition. I work with my clients to prioritize which areas of the house need updates based on their budget, and then obtain costs. Improvements in some areas of the house will bring return on investment, but not all. The price point of the home and what the neighborhood warrants also play roles in how much to budget. For example, you would not want to spend $20,000 on wood flooring in a neighborhood where homes are selling for $200,000.
I recently advised a seller who was wondering how much to update. After compiling a detailed list and obtaining estimates from contractors and home improvement stores, an investment of about $33,000 produced a return of about $57,000. That’s a 72% return.
After two months to complete improvements, the home was professionally staged. It sold in just a few days at a much higher price than similar homes. The updates that made the biggest impact were the kitchen and flooring. Popular wood-look tile was put down from the front to the back of the home to create great flow. The entire home was painted with a popular gray-beige color.
Adding new lighting fixtures and new carpet in the bedrooms gave this home a whole new look. The kitchen and bath cabinets were in good enough shape to repaint, changing the color from pickled oak to bright white. The granite counters and tile backsplash made a great combination. The outdated built-in keyboard desk just off the kitchen was converted to a wine station — something popular and unique. It didn’t break the budget, but made a difference.
Steve Vitani’s top 10 tips to increase your home’s value:
- Painting: This is one of the most inexpensive improvements with the most impact. Many buyers shy away from a home because of the colors. Darker paint is out. Hire a painter or do it yourself, but plan accordingly and look for ways to make your home more neutral. This also applies to the home’s exterior.
- Flooring: Every square foot of your home is covered. If carpet is worn, replace it. If tile is dirty, have it professionally cleaned. If the home that is divided between carpet and tile, consider replacing it with one type of flooring so it all flows.
- Kitchen: This is where we spend most of our time, second to the bedroom, so a kitchen is important even if buyers are not gourmet cooks. Updated cabinets and quartz or granite counters are almost expected today, along with updated stainless appliances. A nice bowl sink and new designer faucet are pluses.
- Master bedroom: We spend most of our time here, so the master suite needs to be sweet! Besides paint and flooring, the bathroom is where the money should be spent. An average major bathroom remodel can run in excess of $5,000, so creating a budget is crucial. Go for a raised vanity with granite or quartz, new plumbing fixtures and new tile in the shower if it’s outdated.
- Exterior: Curb appeal is so important. Weed, add fresh mulch, and trim trees and shrubs to make the home inviting.
- De-clutter: If your home is occupied, chances are you have extra stuff in closets, cabinets and garage that you can remove. A cluttered home is a major turnoff for buyers. Consider donating or having a yard sale before you list.
- HVAC system: Air conditioning is an expensive item, but if your unit is more than 15 years old, it may be corroded. Even if running well, some buyers will be hesitant to pay top dollar if they think they’ll need to expense thousands of dollars for a new AC.
- Roof: If your roof is 15-20 years old, you will not get top dollar for your home. This is the single most expensive and important part of the home. If not properly maintained or replaced, other problems can arise and insurance rates could be higher.
- Cleaning: Like painting, a deep cleaning is one of the most noticeable differences in a home. The first impression is usually the most lasting. Consider cleaning EVERYTHING from top down, even hire someone. It is well worth it.
- Preventative maintenance: This category gets overlooked and unnoticed until it is time to sell and you have a buyer under contract. It can be beneficial to have an inspection done prior to making your improvements so you can take care of things before the seller’s inspector finds them. If buyers perceive the house was not well maintained, they may want the seller to fix all of the items, or ask for a huge discount, or even cancel all together. Items such as windows, doors, roof, AC, hot water heater, electrical, plumbing fixtures, plumbing connectors, stucco cracks, irrigation system, pool pumps, and pest control are some common ones.
Steve Vitani, a Realtor with RE/MAX Elite and certified luxury home marketing specialist, has been a multi-million-dollar producer each of the past seven years. He was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame in 2016 and recognized for being in the top 100 out of 5,500 RE/MAX agents in Florida. He has been a top producer in Brevard County every year since 2009, with more than $12 million sold last year.
You can reach Steve at 321-749-9394 and www.STEVESELLSFLORIDA.COM
If you enjoyed this story and want to read more click here.