It’s January and maybe you are thinking of putting your Windsor home on the market. Or maybe you just want to do a bit of remodeling to make your home more functional. The question home sellers should ask themselves is: What can I do to increase my home value? And this is critical even to those who don’t plan to sell for a few years.
The good news is it doesn’t need to be costly. There are excellent and inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home by simply being creative. The goal is to view your property through a buyer’s eye. A small investment can offer a large economic return. For example, if you spend $5,000 on new carpeting, it could mean double the difference in the sales price. I had a client spend $50 on a gallon of paint and a few supplies and she transformed her dark, small bathroom into a bright airy space that looked much larger. The difference was amazing and buyers loved it.
And consider this: If a home’s appearance rubs agents and buyers the wrong way, it won’t get shown. When a house lingers on the market for too long, it can get a bad reputation which will decrease the chances of it selling anywhere near the asking price. Price reductions occur when buyers aren’t rushing to view the property or if no offers have been made. Too many changes in the price makes buyers think that the property is in bad shape. The best thing a seller can do is to make the necessary improvements and then you can price your home for what it’s worth.
What buyers are looking for:
1. Open space
Any often used room, such as a kitchen or family room, that is closed and dark rub buyers the wrong way. The first thing they want to do is remodel. By removing a non-structural wall or even the kitchen island, you can create a more open floor plan. Meet with a designer or contractor for an hour and get their opinion. Ask them what you can do to make your room more inviting without spending a lot of money.
If a buyer can’t see your house, then they can only imagine what you are hiding. Tangled, overgrown trees, unkempt bushes can darken interiors, promote mold and block views. Landscaping offers one of the biggest returns when selling your home. Even if you pay $500 for new plants, you are likely to get four times that when pricing your home.
Buyers like to walk into a home that is full of light. Consider replacing old fluorescent lighting with more up to date models. Put in dimmer lights as well to create a mood. But most of all make sure your windows are repaired, leak free and spotless. If you have a great view, make sure your buyers can see it.
Before you even think about making a big change to your kitchen, address the basics. Buyers don’t want to walk into a home that is in obvious need of repairs yet the kitchen is remodeled. It doesn’t make sense if you have lousy curb appeal, but a gourmet kitchen. So make sure to repair leaks, inspect furnace, weed the flowerbeds and insulate the attic. A few hundred dollars could increase the value of your house by a few thousand. As a real estate agent, I can assure you that what’s important in the market is that a house is in good condition. These are the homes that get attention from the buyers.
5. Outdoor living space
Buyers like to see a home that has an outdoor living space. Adding a good quality deck will always hold value. A front door that doesn’t have a working doorbell or even protection from the rain or snow can often be a turn off for buyers.
Buyers are always looking what’s under their feet. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but don’t undervalue the materials you are standing on. At the very minimum, replace any broken tiles, patch damaged floorboards and toss out the dated wall-to-wall carpet. But there are times where a new floor is in order. Wood flooring holds value and not a bad choice if it works with your home. If you already have wood floors, make sure it shines and is in good condition.
Did you know that buyers usually spend the least amount of time in bathrooms when looking at a home? And if it’s dated and dirty, forget about it. Of course, a major renovation may not be possible, but there are inexpensive improvements you can make that will reward you greatly. Replace frosted glass for clear glass, remove rust stains, replace dated faucets with more modern ones, change knobs on the drawers and if needed, replace the toilet. Even changing the toilet seat can make a huge difference. If you spend $500, you will get every cent back and then some.
As I mentioned above, you can never go wrong with a gallon of paint in a neutral colour. Get out of your own personal taste, and think of what the buyer wants. Also, don’t ignore walls with chipped paint or dirty baseboards. A gallon of paint can be your very best friend when selling your home.
With 2013 promising to be a good year for sellers, make sure you home stands out from the competition. Making an appealing home for buyers will guarantee that your house does not sit on the market long. Yes, it takes some preparation and work, but it won’t go unnoticed.