Guest Post: Which Home Improvements Make Sense When You're Selling Your Home
Today, I'm turning over the blog to my friend, Joanne Taranto, from Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. Joanne and her teammate, Tom Matthews, assist a wide selection of home buyers and sellers in the suburbs west of Boston, Massachusetts, specifically in the Lincoln, Carlisle, Acton and Concord, Massachusetts real estate markets. Take it away, Joanne . . .
When I go on a listing appointment, a question I often hear is “Joanne, which home improvements pay off?” While any improvement project is sure to add some extra value, there are some things that matter more to buyers than others. In this blog post, I’ve pulled together seven home improvement projects you can add to your property to add extra value and ultimately increase your resale value.
Landscaping & Outdoor Improvements - Unkempt trees, untrimmed bushes and messy flower beds can obscure views, darken interiors and ruin curb appeal, even with otherwise beautiful homes across all price points. Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional, some simple and affordable landscaping can go a long way to help you secure the price you want for your property.
If your property permits it, consider adding a backyard deck. At a cost of approximately $30 per square foot, a wood deck provides extra space for the buyer and increases the opportunity for entertaining.
Updated Entry - A modestly priced steel door will upgrade both energy efficiency and curb appeal at a minimum investment. For an updated look, consider removing old awnings over windows and doors. If your porch is a little bare, you can add drama with columns or a pergola, both attractive and affordable.
Kitchen Appliances & Fixtures - In many American households, the kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential buyers will often make a beeline for this room on showings. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can increase the perceived value of the kitchen with minor changes like replacing the faucet, adding new cabinet door handles and upgrading lighting to newer, brighter energy-efficient bulbs.
If you have mismatched appliances, you may be surprised to learn that you can replace the faceplates on many appliances for a minimum investment in time and money. Matching appliances makes a kitchen look more cohesive, and this improvement can make a big difference in a buyer’s mind.
With a slightly larger budget you can give your cabinets a makeover. Rather than springing for all new cabinets, consider hiring a refacing company.
More Space & Storage - According to a study released by the National Association of Realtors, every 1,000 square feet added to a home boosts the sale price by 3.3 percent. With more and more buyers looking for dedicated rooms for hobbies, extra rooms are always a welcome addition. For more affordable ways to add extra space, consider finishing your basement or attic.
If you have a lower budget, consider increasing your perceived living space by investing in storage opportunities like built-ins, a pantry or additional cabinets.
Bathroom Improvements - In the hottest real estate markets, a bathroom remodel is a sure-fire way to increase the sale price of a property, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. Bathrooms are areas of the home where you can tell if money has been well spent or not. They’re also one of the most expensive areas in a home in terms of construction.
If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be surprised at how much a new pedestal sink, cabinet handles, caulk and a toilet seat can make. If you’re listing a more expensive home, buyers have been opting for larger walk-in showers in lieu of whirlpool tubs
Energy Efficiency - With energy costs always on the rise and the growing interest in protecting the environment, many buyers are becoming conscious of buying homes that are “green.” There are also tax credits available for certain efficient home improvements. While you don’t have to go solar, buyers are often cognisant of older, inefficient water heaters and furnaces, inadequate insulation and out-of-date windows.
Eliminating “What’s That?” Problems - Regardless of price point, every home has a couple of small but immediately noticeable things. Examples include a broken front step, dated wallpaper, cracked light switches, dented garage doors or paint that needs some retouching. The good news is that these changes are almost always relatively small.
Of course, this list isn’t meant to cover all of the home improvements you can make to boost the value of your property, but it’s a start. Savvy home sellers can do all of these things and much more in order to achieve a higher price for their property. It’s important to remember that the sale of a home is a negotiation between two parties and everyone has different preferences.