Not All Improvements Are Created Equal

We are thinking of selling in a year or two. We want to do all we can to improve our home so it sells for the most money and quickly.  What advice can you give to guide us in this?

This is a very good question because not all improvements are created equal.  Projects with the highest resale value are kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor improvements, roofs and windows.

Kitchens – Unless your home is falling down around you, the smartest place to put your money is in your kitchen.  If you can’t afford to replace counters and appliances, at the very least update hardware and light fixtures.  When renovating with a return in mind, it is smart to go with the mid-range options unless you’re in a very high end home.  Your kitchen is king.

Bathrooms – Bathroom remodels are second to kitchens in importance especially if you have colored sinks, showers and tubs.  Again, at a minimum, replace cabinet pulls and lighting and ensure the grout is clean.  Hanging a framed mirror is also an inexpensive way to give your bathroom a new look.

Outdoor improvements – In addition to cleaning the siding, stucco, sidewalk and roof, also plant flowers/shrubs in the front, replace lawn bare spots and any sidewalk that is damaged.  Repave your driveway if it appears cracked or worn.  In the case of home improvement, a book is always judged by its cover.

Roofs and windows – These are expensive to replace but if they need it, they should be done as not replacing them will significantly decrease the value of your home.  The same holds true for your heating/cooling system.  Buyers expect these items to be in good condition and if they are aging and/or beginning to fail, they will factor in their replacement cost in their offer.

Other obvious improvements are fresh paint, new floor coverings, wall paper removal and decluttering and cleaning, all of which give buyers the message that your home has been well maintained.  Then, when you list your home with an agent, if she is a good one, she will advertise your improvements so that those who have interest will know that not everything in the home is as old as the home itself.

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