How to Renovate Before Selling

How to Renovate Your Home Before Selling

Home renovation cost is pretty simple – the larger the house, the more you will have to spend to remodel its rooms.  People often spend more money than necessary on their home renovations, leaving no guarantee of breaking even when ready to sell.   If you are working on a budget, here are some key areas to focus on without getting carried away on the entire house: (Curb Appeal, The Kitchen, Bathroom, Flooring)

Curb Appeal

Potential homebuyers form their first impression of a home from its curb appeal – and often a home’s outdoor landscaping is overlooked.  An attractive and well-maintained landscape can add as much as 10% to the value of your home.  Container plants –  especially large tropical – add considerable interest to patios and doorways where potential buyers enter and exit the house. Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch.   Applying a fresh layer in all your garden beds creates a colour contrast.  This will enhance the colour of the surrounding plants and make everything pop!  Best part –  mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.  Seasonal color makes landscaping pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive.  Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.  Regardless of the season, it’s a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches.  It’s okay to prune deciduous trees and shrubs any time of the year.  Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves, and clean filters, so that the water is crystal clear.  After all, a water feature that doesn’t look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.  If there are any problems with an irrigation system, fix them.  Irrigation system repairs can be expensive, and you do not want to lay the cost of those repairs on the buyer.  Provide information about your irrigation schedule, especially if you have an automatic system.  Include instructions as to how the system operates and recommend the same watering schedule that’s worked for you.  Consider buying or renting a power washer to clean paved surfaces.  With very little time or effort, you can make grungy, grimy surfaces look brand-spanking new.  Power washers also do a great job of cleaning fences as well as brick and vinyl siding.

The Kitchen

One of the most important areas of any property is the kitchen. Not only is this a functional space for food preparation, but it’s also a hub for entertainment and socializing. The kitchen can ultimately make or break your sale, because it’s one of the areas of a home that is most focused on by the media. Modern kitchens in showcase homes have become artistic studios, using cutting edge equipment and luxury features to create the potential of culinary art. As the seller, you can cash in on this trend by tantalizing buyers with a clean, modern workspace that beckons them into the kitchen and surrounding home. You may be wondering if you’ll need to take on costly renovations in order to present your kitchen in the right light. This will depend on the current state of your kitchen as well as your local competition. It’s a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable real estate agent before you begin any work on your kitchen. Generally, you’ll first want to make sure that your kitchen is in good working order, clean, and up to a modern standard. Dirty kitchens are an instant turn-off to buyers, as they may also assume that the rest of the house will be in a similar state of disrepair. Old appliances and outdated features can make it look like you haven’t put adequate care into your property over the years. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a full renovation, but putting a bit of time and effort into kitchen presentation and appliances can make your property really stand out from the competition.

Clear away any excess clutter, and put some physical effort into getting rid of old dust, grime, and surface stains. Give the floor a hard scrub to get rid of dirt that has built up over time, and pay attention to ovens, dishwashers, range tops, and range hoods. These areas are grease magnets, but with some effort you can make sure that they sparkle. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to touch the stove and walk away with dirt on their hands! If you’ve been putting off repairing a leaky faucet or flickering lights, now is the time to get around to doing it. Test out your doors, cupboards, and drawers for any squeaks or jammed tracks. Buyers are usually looking for a home that is ready to live in, and don’t want to deal with maintenance before they can do so. Appeal to all five senses of your potential buyers. Take the time to air out your kitchen with open windows. Cooking smells can linger, and can potentially put off buyers. One trick to employ before open inspections is to pop something sweet into the oven, so that buyers are greeted with the cozy aroma of home baking. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny kitchen to make your home seem warm and inviting. All of those newly sparkly surfaces in your kitchen will look even better when they’re lit by a gentle glow. Draw back the curtains to let the sun stream in, or turn on all of the kitchen lights on cloudy inspection days.

Your kitchen may also benefit from a further renovation, but this will depend not only on the age and state of your home but what comparable homes in your area are like. Investing in a full kitchen upgrade could potentially add value to your home. Before you spend money on your kitchen, you will probably want to have a chat with your real estate agent to find out if this will add value in your case. Aging appliances are one area that could be good candidates for investment. Most new appliances today are designed to save energy, which buyers will be looking for. New appliances not only are energy-saving devices, but they also will be in better working order. Other areas to renovate could include replacing your sink, putting down new flooring, adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, or replacing old drawer knobs and handles. As you invest money in renovating your kitchen, be wary of overcapitalization. This can happen if you invest more money into your property than you can possibly make back in your eventual sale. If you upgrade your property beyond the standards of comparable homes in your area, for example, the property will be out of the price range of many potential buyers. You’ll end up reducing your asking price and taking a loss. This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable real estate agent before making any significant upgrades. With a little bit of research, you can avoid this trap. Ask your real estate agent which features are important to your demographic, and what they will pay for them. By catering to the needs of your prospective buyers, you can stay on budget and maximize your returns. Putting time and effort into improving this part of the home will be reflected with a higher property value, and this effort could be the detail that seals the deal.

The Bathroom

Although buyers will look at a property in its entirety before deciding whether or not to purchase it, there are certain areas of a house that may bear more scrutiny than others.  Any real estate agent can tell you that one of these specialty areas are the bathroom.  This is an area where you spend a great deal of time at the beginning and ending of each day.  An ideal bathroom exudes a clean, tranquil, and comfortable ambience.  It is also a part of the house that will be seen by friends, family members, and other visitors –  so it should be built to impress rather than embarrass. An unappealing bathroom can be an instant turnoff.  With that in mind, it’s worth thinking about investing a bit of time and money to make your bathroom look its best.  You may wish to sit down for a consultation with a real estate agent to find out what you can do to make your bathroom stand out from the competition. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to turn around a bathroom.  With the following simple steps, you can make it a more inviting place guaranteed to grab buyer attention.

If your bathroom is currently a reflection of your personality, this can make it difficult for potential buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.  Clear out any clutter and non-essential personal belongings – leaving a neutral yet inviting ambience behind. Try to think of the functional neutrality of a hotel, and try to create this same atmosphere at home for inspections.  Because it’s used so frequently, the bathroom can quickly become one of the dirtiest areas of your home. You’ll want to get rid of mildew, soap scum, lime scale, and surface stains.  To accomplish this, you may need to purchase some specialized bathroom cleaning products such as grout cleaner and mold remover.  Grout cleaner loosens deep-seated dirt and helps keep your grouting cleaner for longer periods of time, whilst mold remover will also help prevent any future mold growth.  Pay special attention to water stains on chrome fittings or mirrors, which will need a special polish.  In addition to cleaning up your bathroom, you’ll also want to fix any repairs you have been putting off.  Ensure that plumbing and ventilation are in strong working repair, which will be appreciated by buyers.  Fix leaky faucets, clean vents, and repair drawers and cupboards for a clean and functional space. You may need to replace sealant in the bathroom, because this can start peeling with age and offset the modern environment that you are trying to create.  Even if your bathroom is naturally small, there are a few ways to create the illusion of more space.  You can install a large mirror on one side of the room. This will open up the room and make the space look twice as big.  Another option is to give the bathroom a fresh coat of paint in a light, neutral color.  Dim lighting will also make your bathroom look small and unappealing.  Install new lighting fixtures if necessary to show off the bathroom’s features and give the room a shot of energy.  If the lighting is too dull, then surfaces can look dirty.  With bright lighting, they will sparkle.  With a clean, neutral slate to work with, you can then create an appealing style for your model bathroom.  Get rid of old, used towels and purchase some fresh new towels.  These should be arranged neatly on the towel rail.  You can take hand towels, roll them, and stack them beside the basin.  An elegant flower arrangement on the vanity and a scented candle can transform a simple bathroom into a sophisticated spa.  The romantic ambience will lure in buyers and invite them to take a closer look!  Swap your dated toilet roll holders, towel rails, shower heads, and taps for more modern and contemporary designs.  This step alone can make a world of difference in how your bathroom is perceived by buyers.  Many buyers gravitate towards water efficient fixtures, which will save them money.  Porcelain bathroom surfaces are prone to chipping, including sink tops or bathtubs.  One option would be to replace these items completely – but if you wish to save money, you could also opt to have them resurfaced.  This can be done with old flooring that’s in need of repair.  Buyers will be examining bathrooms carefully to see if there is enough space for all of their toiletries.  If yours seems to lack storage space, your efforts will be for nothing.  Think about building shelves or installing recesses to help provide greater storage opportunities.  If you have the money, you may also wish to add a few luxurious amenities to your bathroom.  Heater exhaust fans will keep buyers warm, as will under-floor heating.  Spa jets in the bath will give them a soothing sensation, and will invite them to slip into the tub.  These little touches of luxury will appeal to a buyer’s sense of wanting to be pampered at home.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re taking a closer look at these renovation options is whether or not they make sense, financially.  Renovations can increase your homes value, but take care not to invest more money in the bathroom than you can realistically make back in the final home sale.  This is known as overcapitalization – and is more common than you might think.  At times, sellers can upgrade their property beyond what it is worth in relation to the surrounding area.  If buyers are looking at a moderate-income area, they will have a budget that corresponds with the neighborhood.  If the renovations have left your home out of their budget, they will look at other options.  Even if the buyers are infatuated with your beautifully renovated bathroom and property, if they don’t have the means to purchase it they will go elsewhere.  You may end up lowering your price to find buyers, losing money on your investment.

The Flooring

When selling a home, one of the features that may buyers will focus their attention on will be the flooring.  In fact, flooring can make or break the sale of a home, and when the house is vacant (i.e. no furniture) the flooring becomes even more important as it is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  It changes the complexion of a home quite a bit.  Hardwood floors just add another level of quality to a home.  Flooring in a home is a major component that buyers will certainly notice.  If the flooring choices in a home are well done and in great shape a buyer will certainly pay more for that.

All in all, something is better than nothing.  Whether you are working on a big budget or small budget, updating key features in your house might get the job done impressing all those buyers. Seem overwhelming?  Don’t know where to start?  With the right REALTOR in your corner, I can help you determine where to focus on to maximize your property’s potential.