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Home Renovations To Do Before Selling
10-18-2021 | Armbruster

Home Renovations To Do Before Selling

Getting ready to sell your home? Want to fetch a good price for it? Then no doubt, your home needs some TLC. Plan on making a few home improvements if you want to get the best price. You don’t have to go overboard, though. Even simple, smaller improvements will help your home sell more quickly at a higher price.

Should I Do a Major Home Renovation Before Selling?

Most people consider it worth the effort to do at least a couple of home improvement projects before selling. Zillow’s 2018 Consumer Housing Report states that 22% of home sellers who do home improvements sell above their asking price. There are some home improvements that offer what’s known as a high return on investment (ROI). In other words, you put a little bit of money—say $500-$3000—into spiffing up your home, and you get a lot back in the selling price. Moderate projects, from $5000-10,000, tend to return at least the money that you invested, plus make your home more likely to sell. Not all home improvement efforts pan out in terms of ROI. Larger projects are riskier. You could spend thousands of dollars (or more) and not get your money back when you sell. Read on to learn about home improvements that are worth your while.

First Things First—Deep Clean

Home owners have two goals. One, they want to get the best selling price for their home. Two, they want to sell their home quickly. To do those things, Kelly Kilmer, a brokerage manager at RE/MAX  Results, Tulsa says, “The best thing that someone can do BY FAR is to make sure everything is simple, clean, and fresh. I often see homeowners spend large amounts of money on projects like new countertops, a new deck, or a new shower, and the rest of the home is cluttered and needs freshening.” Your house will never be as clean as when you put it on the market. To show your house well, you need to clean everything—baseboards, light fixtures, bathroom grout. If you can’t clean it all yourself, it’s definitely worth hiring someone. For a few hundred dollars, you can maximize your chances of getting your asking price.

Declutter Your Home

Look around. Do you see piles of magazines, games, and books? Shelves filled with souvenirs and knick-knacks? It’s time to declutter. Clutter is unattractive and makes a space feel crowded. Worst of all, clutter prevents potential buyers from envisioning themselves in your home. If they can’t picture themselves living there, they won’t make an offer. Try these decluttering strategies:
  • Clear items off of the outside of your refrigerator. Toss or pack away all those photos, notes, and artwork.
  • Leave empty space on your bookshelves. It seems strange, but a full bookshelf says, “There’s no room for you here!” to buyers.
  • Look in cabinets and closets. Potential buyers will open doors to every permanent space. Overflowing closets and jam-packed cabinets push buyers away.
  • Remove some furniture. Your big, comfy sectional may be your favorite spot, but it could be overwhelming the space.
  • Donate or gift items that you won’t be taking with you. Toss or recycle the rest.
You can declutter on your own, hire a professional home organizer, or try a combination of both. A professional home organizer will cost anywhere from $50-$100 per hour. Professional organizers can give you a jumpstart, even if you only hire them for a couple of hours. Plus, a second set of eyes makes the process go more quickly.

 A New Coat of Paint

Experts agree—a fresh painting job does wonders to spruce up your home. A new coat of paint covers up marks, scratches, and minor damage. Matte finishes look particularly fresh and clean. Experts also agree that neutral colors—grays, beiges, whites—reign supreme when it comes to selling. Neutral colors provide a blank slate to potential buyers. They say, “Imagine yourself living here.” Particular colors may even affect your selling price. According to Zillow, bold color choices, such as red or mint green can knock $1500-$1800 off your selling price. On the other hand, a light blue bathroom may fetch up to $5000 more.

Rejuvenate the Front Doorway

A tired screen door, lackluster paint, trim that’s peeling—all of these make a terrible first impression to home buyers. Curb appeal is important to creating a good first impression. Repaint or replace trim. Buy a new door (steel ones are well-received) or paint the current one. Add ceramic planters and blooming plants along your stairway.

Do A Little Landscaping

You don’t have to haul out an excavator to improve the outside appeal of your home. Add some simple beds next to the house. Perennial plants are always a garden favorite. They come back every year and usually grow bigger from one year to the next. Line your walkways with attractive greenery and annual flowers for pops of color. Aim for simple, low-maintenance plantings.

Update the Lighting

You can do quite a few things to update your lighting and show your home in the best light.
  • Remove heavy curtains. Let more daylight in with sheer curtains or forgo curtains if you have shades.
  • Install lighting under kitchen cabinets. The kitchen always needs more light.
  • Change overhead fixtures to maximize light and create simpler lines.
  • Swap out harsh fluorescent (CFLs) bulbs for softer LEDs.

Do A Minor Bathroom Remodel

This can get pricey, but it’s possible to update a smaller bathroom for a few thousand dollars or less. Re-caulk the shower and tub. Paint the walls (remember people love light blue in bathrooms). Repair or swap out only what’s most needed—the toilet, shower doors, cabinets, or sink. Glaze the tub instead of replacing it. Return on investment for bathrooms is high, so if you can afford it, it’s a good project to include.

Finish the Basement

A finished basement adds considerable living space to your home. It’s not nearly as pricey as adding an addition with the same amount of square footage, but it is a significant cost. Prices for basement remodels vary widely, but if you keep it simple you can stay under $10,000. Just don’t go putting in a wet bar—that’s hugely expensive.

Tackle the Kitchen Within Reason

A beautiful kitchen is a big draw for home buyers. That doesn’t mean that a huge kitchen upgrade translates into a premium selling price. Talk to an appraiser before you take on a major kitchen renovation. A kitchen that outshines the rest of the home can make other rooms look shabby and hurt you in the long run. If your kitchen needs some attention, go for small fixes. Change out hardware on the cabinets. Add a backsplash. Install pull-out cabinet storage systems. These smaller changes, along with some new paint, will brighten up your kitchen.

One Upgrade That Won’t Pay You Back

Realtors across the board agree that a swimming pool makes a home harder to sell. No matter how gorgeous the property, pools spell a lot of work for homeowners. It’s a major turnoff for a lot people and can even lower your selling price. If you’re trying to sell, this is one project to avoid. You don’t need to put yourself through a major home remodel before you sell. A few well-chosen, smaller projects will get your home looking its best. Need help with an upcoming move? Contact us for more information.
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