With the Spring market approaching, many people are starting to think about what they would need to do in order to add value to their home before listing it for sale. Even if you aren't looking to sell this year, it's always smart to be thinking ahead at how you can be improving your home's value so that when you are ready to sell, you'll be in a good position to do so.
An interesting report from Realtor Magazine recently highlighted some of the major home improvement projects on a national level and calculated what their average cost recouped was. Here's what they found:
Minor kitchen remodel (88%)
Bathroom remodel (85%)
Major kitchen remodel (81%)
Family room addition (80%)
Deck addition (77%)
Master suite (75%)
Attic bedroom (74%)
Siding replacement (73%)
Window replacement (69%)
Home office (55%)
So, what does this mean for you?
There's a reason your Realtor will tell you to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms first when you don't know where to start. Both minor and major kitchen remodels and bathroom remodel were the top three projects in terms of costs recouped in a property sale. If you are looking to do a kitchen remodel on a larger scale, start with your cabinets. If your cabinets are older, consider getting them replaced, refaced, or painted. You may also want to consider replacing your countertops with granite or Corian. Making the transition from black or white appliances to stainless steel or slate will go a long way, as well. These three things are the first things buyers will notice in a kitchen.
If it isn't in the budget to spend that much on a kitchen remodel, consider a few less expensive projects that could go a long way in the kitchen, such as replacing the cabinet hardware with modern pieces (brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze are always a good go-to), changing out older light fixtures, or adding a tile backsplash to the wall.
In the bathroom, consider replacing the vanity with something clean and modern. If the towel rods and hardware is gold, replace them with brushed nickel. Upgrade the light fixtures if they've been around for a long time.
And don't forget - one of the most important things you can do to prep your house that will cost you almost no money at all is to CLEAN! Make sure every inch of your house is clean and show-ready. Nothing can turn a buyer off quicker than a dirty house. Keep dirty dishes out of the kitchen sink, make all beds, keep dirty laundry out of sight, have the bathrooms (including toilets and showers) sparkling clean, and vacuum / sweep often! If you're not big into cleaning, invest in a cleaning service to come out for the day and really give your home a deep clean, then try your best to keep it clean throughout the listing or have them come back regularly. It truly can make the difference between buyers staying in your home for two minutes or staying long enough to fall in love with it (trust me, I've seen it!). Whatever you do, DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!