Remodeling to sell

remodeling

There are several reasons for remodeling your home. One is because things are broken or worn out and just don’t function as they should. Outdated finishes and features are another reason. A third is to update with the thought of selling your home. It is the last reason I’d like to address here.

Having remodeled hundreds of homes in Lincoln during the past 30 years, I was often asked the same question over and over …”Will we get our money out of this project when we are ready to sell?” My answer was usually, “No, but you will get the benefit of enjoying the new space for as long as you live here.” That intangible benefit is worth a lot more than dollars and cents in my opinion.

Now, in my second career as REALTOR®, I often hear, “We just spent $30,000 on our kitchen, so shouldn’t our home be worth at least that much more now?” My answer now is, “No, but you have enjoyed your new kitchen while you lived here ,and now, your home will be market ready and should sell quicker than if you had done nothing.”

Kitchens and bathrooms are the two areas that buyers pay close attention to. It makes sense to keep them updated to current trends and functionality if you want to sell your home quickly and for the highest price. Just don’t expect to reap 100 percent of what you invested. One reason for that is the new owners may not value the super expensive custom-made tile you chose or instead of the unique whirlpool tub you installed, the new buyers would have rather had a large walk-in shower. If you are remodeling for the sole purpose of getting your home ready for sale, my advice is to keep things neutral and don’t go overboard on big ticket items that are not absolutely necessary.

Remodeling your home to sell will reap some additional dollars in your pocket, and it will also certainly make your home more attractive to potential buyers. We are finding that the majority of buyers are looking for more of a move-in ready home these days rather than for homes that require a lot of updating.

Some of the best things to do to increase the market value of your home are also the least expensive. The caveat is they require a little sweat and effort. De-cluttering is always a good idea. Box things up and rent a temporary storage unit if you have to. It will pay off in the long run. Buyers don’t want to walk into a cluttered, crowded home. It make it harder for them to visualize how they would use the space. A good thorough deep cleaning is a no brainer. Dirty counters and floors, dust and clumps of dog hair are not things buyers want to see. If your home smells bad from smoking or pets, there are companies that can help neutralize those odors which are an instant turn-off to many would-be buyers.

The first impression buyers get is from the street as they drive by. Homes that have what is known as “curb appeal” are inviting because they don’t have peeling paint, overgrown landscaping, missing downspouts, etc. Spend a few hours or a few days, if necessary and do some pruning, painting and deferred maintenance on your exterior, and you will increase your odds of that would-be buyer wanting to see the inside of your home.

Once you get the prospective buyers inside, that is your opportunity to sell them on the features and benefits of how you have maintained and updated your home. If buyers are looking at your home, that means they have already decided that it is in the area of town they want to live in, and your home is in their price range. If you have made significant improvements, make sure you or your REALTOR® points those things out.

Always Think Re-Sale

Unless you know for sure that your current house is your last house (meaning, “I’m-not-ever-moving-again-and-they’re-going-to-carry-me-out-of-here-in-a-box!”), when it comes to home renovations, you should always consider re-sale.

Thinking of converting that single garage to a second living room?  That may solve a short-term space issue for you now, but create an even bigger challenge down the road (it’s hard to sell a house without a garage, especially in Nebraska!)  What about knocking down a wall to create a large master bedroom from two smaller bedrooms?  Depending on your neighborhood and your home’s value, it might be more difficult to sell a 2-bedroom home.

Conversely, if you’ve been stalling on whether or not to replace the disintegrating driveway, that’s probably a good investment. (It’ll help your efforts when you’re ready to sell, and you may as well enjoy the new driveway yourself!)  That’s also likely true when considering a new deck, patio, fence or storage shed.  All of those improvements add value, and are popular with buyers.  You may not recoup all of your investment when it’s time to sell, but the trick is to not ‘over-improve’ for your neighborhood.

Re-sale is especially important to consider when buying your first house.  Chances are super-slim that you’re going to live there forever, so make sure your house is ‘re-saleable.’  Yes, you want to buy a house that fits your budget and lifestyle now, but you also need to keep the next owner in mind.  Buy a home with a good floor plan, in a good or decent neighborhood, with a yard and a garage, and acclainsetscasino preferably out of the flood plain.  Those are the biggies for many buyers, and for most of them, they’re non-negotiable.  They should be for you, as well.

Paint is the obvious exception to this rule – if you like hot pink or purple or bright yellow, but you know you’re not moving for a while, grab the brush and get busy!  Might as well enjoy the house while you’re living in it, right?  Just know that when it’s time to put the house on the market, those wild colors will have to go.  The good news is that paint is cheap, and it covers all kinds of questionable choices!

It’s true that a house is yours, especially when you compare it to renting.  Just keep in mind that the house isn’t likely to be yours forever, and you should plan accordingly.  The decisions you make today could have a big impact on re-sale down the road.

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