Monday, February 18, 2008

Most Important Improvements You Can Make to Your Home

Many of my clients and friends ask me what things they can do to their home before putting in on the market that will bring in the most bucks. Here's a list of improvements I've compiled based on my experience and reading great articles like this one from Realty Times.

1. Landscaping - This is #1 most underrated improvement that most people ignore but can net you big bucks on your sales price. Curb appeal in both front and back yards can sometimes make buyers over look your somewhat dated interior.

2. Interior and/or exterior paint - A professional paint job makes homes feel freshly updated even though your old furniture looks the same.

3. Put ceramic tile/marble in "wet" areas - Replace that dingy carpet in the bathrooms with ceramic tile or tumbled marble. Use whatever materials are common in your neighborhood.

4. Repair deferred maintenance issues - Replace broken down gutters, replace broken windows and window seals, patch holes in sheetrock, patch roof shingles, fix plumbing leaks, repair AC, water heater, etc. It's tough spending money on these items because they don't impress like brand new floors would, but these are items that will allow you to get closer to your asking price. Pay for these now or pay after the buyer inspects your home.

5. Update your home to "average" - If other homes have stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops and your counters are formica, don't expect to get your money back for that improvement because you didn't "improve" your home. You just brought it up to "average". If other homes have wood floors and you don't, don't expect to get dollar for dollar back for installing wood floors before you list your home.

Remember that there is a difference between a "repair" and an "improvement". Buyers typically want sellers to pay for certain "repairs" in a transaction. Sellers typically want to pay for "improvements" such as tiling the baths but are unwilling to pay for "repairs" before listing. Many buyers are willing to put in a new backsplash in the kitchen but would gladly walk away from a deal over cracks in your sheetrock and 2 broken windows. Add all three of those things together and you can plan on being on the market for a very long time.

If you're thinking about making improvements to your home whether you plan to see or not, you still need to consult a real estate professional (ME!). And yes, that purple wall paper in your kitchen needs to GO!

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