If you’re like most of us, your home is your largest investment. And, like most Americans, you’ll want to improve your home over time for your own enjoyment and to boost its value. When it comes time to sell your home, you want to make sure it appeals to as many buyers as possible, but you also want to make sure that your improvements equal a higher sale price. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report, the average remodeling job recoups less than two-thirds of its cost at the sale. Since not all renovations amount to a full return on investment, here are the projects that will give you the biggest bang for your buck:
Painting a Room ($200-DIY; $400- Professional)
A fresh coat of paint on the walls can do wonders for a home that’s been loved and lived-in. You can instantly transform a room to make it lighter, hide visual defects that distract a buyer and add thousands to the sale price at the same time. Typically, agents and stagers will recommend neutrals, like the popular “griege,” for most homes, but distinctive colors in certain rooms or in historical homes can differentiate your home from others in a good way. A consultation with a home stager or the local paint store expert will guide you toward the most contemporary color palettes as “builder white” is no longer what buyers want. Also, removing wallpaper and heavy draperies are a must for Millennials, currently the largest buyer pool, as they are drawn to mid-century modern minimalist looks.
Curb Appeal ($2,000-5,000)
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression when buyers pull up to your home. The best improvement value in this category is replacing an outdated garage door with a new, upscale steel model can recoup as much as 98% of the cost. Similarly, a manufactured stone veneer can fetch roughly 97% of the cost, a deck addition 83%, and a new entry door 91%. Less expensive, but also important are power-washing the home and driveway, mulching, trimming trees & shrubs, and planting colorful seasonal plants to invite buyers into the home.
Energy Efficiency ($5,000-10,000)
A very attractive selling-point to buyers is energy efficiency as 9 out of 10 homes in the US are considered to be under-insulated according to the US government’s Energy Star department. The good news is that by adding attic insulation, you can reduce your monthly heating bills by 10% and recoup more than 100% of the cost at the sale. Buyers will also appreciate the long-term savings that upgraded HVAC systems, windows and water heaters provide.
Flooring Replacement ($7,000-$11,000)
Although the up-front cost of installing hardwood floors compared to new carpeting is about double, it will save you money in the long run and look much more elegant. Carpeting needs to be replaced every 10 years on average, whereas solid hardwood floors, with regular maintenance, can last for hundreds of years and can recoup roughly 70-80% of the cost when you sell the home.
Kitchen Remodel ($20,000-70,000)
80% of homebuyers describe the kitchen as their favorite room and “the heart of the home” so it goes without saying that a smart remodel can make or break a home sale, especially if you don’t have the budget to update the entire home. Current trends are pointing toward quartz countertops, which are more durable than granite, islands with prep sinks and seating, and neutral cabinets in white or gray colors.
Bathroom Remodel ($5,000-20,000)
After kitchens, bathrooms are the #2 selling point in most homes and studies have shown that minor remodels can return as much as 102% return on investment. Unlike the 80’s, today’s buyers are looking for soaking tubs instead of Jacuzzis or a walk-in shower in place of a fiberglass tub. A new vanity cabinet and new tile on the floor are worth the investment to make your bathroom stand out from the competition. Some easy and inexpensive updates are re-grouting or cleaning the grout, replacing caulk around showers and tubs, and replacing toilets with dual-flush models. Modern mirrors and fixtures can give the impression of a more luxurious space as well.
Regardless of your budget, doing all or some of these things can go a long way to achieving a higher sale price as most of today’s buyers want to do as little updating as possible. The energy improvements will save you money in the short-term and appeal to the buyers budgets while the aesthetic improvements will attract a larger buyer pool and give them an impression of move-in ready real estate.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home, please contact me today to get your home ready for sale or to get a Free, Comparative Market Analysis to see what your home is worth. See how I go “Above and Beyond the Sale” for my clients in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.