Buyers today expect to have homes that are move-in ready. Clean, airy, and open floor plans are certainly most appealing and with home values climbing, buyers are most likely to bid on a home that has had recent upgrades. The key for the seller is to keep cost down while accenting what is already in the home.
1. Updating the Kitchen
The kitchen may be the most valuable home renovation you can do. Buyers will flip right through pictures to the kitchen before deciding whether they want to see more, and most buyers want a kitchen that's already updated so they don't have to worry about remodeling after moving in. A limited kitchen remodel actually yields a higher rate of return on investment. Smaller items like new cabinet hardware, painting cabinets and lighting can do wonders while spending a little more on a new stainless-steel sink and faucet, replacing appliances (stainless steel is all the rage!) or replacing flooring will make the kitchen really stand out! Remember, the kitchen is the heart of the home and will be one of the first things a home buyer will look at.
2. Get that Bathroom Upgraded
A bathroom remodel doesn't have to be extreme to add value to your home. You can update the flooring, fixtures, toilet, and lighting and earn back much of what you've spent and more. Replacing old light fixtures, countertops, cabinets, toilets, and flooring can also increase the appeal of your home. Bathrooms have the second-highest rate of return on investment, behind kitchens.
3. Refinish or Install Hardwood or Laminate Floors
Hardwood floors are one of the most popular and desired types of flooring. Laminate has become increasingly popular as it costs less, lasts for a very long time and just makes sense! Old, dirty carpeting will be a huge turnoff and is a sure way to stall a buyer. In older houses you may even have great hardwood flooring underneath!
4. Paint the Walls in a Neutral Tone
Painting rooms is always an easy way to add value. Many homeowners can do the work themselves and a $100 bucket of paint is worth $1000’s on the wall. Lighter, neutral tones are a great bet as they will go with an décor being brought in by new homeowners and will brighten rooms and make them appear larger. If your walls are already good to go, determine if the molding, trim, or windows need a fresh layer of paint.
5. Finish the Basement
Finishing out a basement that is unfinished will add space and value to your home but can be time-consuming and costly. You can, however, expect a 70% return on investment (ROI) if this is something you choose to do. A full basement refinish will likely require contractors to ensure the work is done to code and will include flooring, lighting, and potentially plumbing and architectural changes. If nothing else, make sure the basement is clean and uncluttered before listing your home.
Curb appeal has one of the highest rates of return because it is the first impression of your home. It sets the tone before seeing the inside of the home. What do you see when you drive by your home? Weeds & tall grass? Things like old wood or peeling paint? Since curb appeal is likely to dictate whether a buyer wants to explore further, this should be a must-do.
Great landscaping suggests to home buyers that the rest of the property is well-maintained. Part of landscaping a property includes keeping the lawn mowed short, pruning shrubs and trees, removing dead plants & junk, and planting perennials and annuals. Keeping it simple and clean goes a long way!.
7. Update Old Windows or Add New Ones
If the windows look old or are deteriorating, you may want to replace them. With few exceptions my buyers pay close attention to windows and this can occasionally be a deal breaker; particularly in Colorado where good windows can save you money. This can be especially true in homes that are next to high-traffic areas. New windows will keep the outside noise down to a minimum and can change the entire feeling of your home.
For those on a budget, there are vinyl window replacements that can offer great energy efficiency.
8. Refresh the Exterior Paint
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to repaint your entire home to help it look new again. If you're operating on a tight budget, you can focus on the areas where there's more flaking or chipping of paint. Pressure wash the exterior in these areas before painting them. This step will help remove old dirt and mold.
Once you've cleaned the exterior and scraped away the old paint, choose a shade that matches your current color and then touch up all of the rough areas. Another option is to add a coat of paint to the front door and trim. This alone can help update the look and feel of your home with minimal effort.