Are you considering selling your home and wondering how to get the best price? One great way to maximize your return on investment is to choose the right remodeling projects. Although everyone has their own mental list of what makes a dream home, there are certain factors that attract buyers and help boost your selling price across the board. Here are some home improvement projects you can do to help support your best asking price:
1. Increase curb appeal. This is a biggie, because if the outside of your home says, “these people don’t really take care of me,” potential buyers will keep on driving instead of stopping to get a better look (and perhaps taking one of your sale flyers). Increasing the curb appeal of your home doesn’t have to be an expensive project. Power wash and paint the front of your house, make sure any front windows are spotless, sweep off your front porch, steps, and walkway, mow your lawn and add colorful flowers to the entrance. If you have a front porch swing or outdoor furniture, clean it up and purchase fresh cushions or recover the ones you have to make them look new. Remove personal items and any clutter from your front porch, and make it inviting with comfortable seating.
2. Don’t forget the details. When improving your home’s curb appeal, don’t forget the little things that add a lot, such as an attractive mailbox, clearly visible house numbers, properly functioning outdoor lighting, and front door hardware. Painting your front door is an easy way to add a pop of color to the front of your home, especially if it’s in a contrasting (but complimentary) color. Installing new hinges and a new doorknob and buying a fresh welcome mat are quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to freshen up your front entrance. Consider installing inexpensive solar lighting if you have an exterior walkway leading to the front of your home, as this will visually draw buyers toward your front door. These projects can all be easily completed in a weekend and can give your home a whole new look.
3. Insulate your attic. This is an easy DIY home improvement project that can yield big returns since it helps increase the energy efficiency of your home, thereby saving on heating costs in the winter and cooling bills in the summer.
4. Investigate your local market. Certain home improvement projects might be more valuable in your particular market. If your home is the only one in the neighborhood that doesn’t have ceiling fans, for instance, you might want to install a few to make your home more competitive.
5. Get rid of the clutter. When selling your home, less is more. This is a home improvement project that won’t cost you anything but a little time and maybe some storage boxes. Stand back and look at your rooms with an objective eye; do they look crowded? You may need to reduce your furniture by as much as 50% to make the most of your square footage and create open areas with good traffic flow.
6. Depersonalize. Remove personal photos and anything that is less than “fresh”; not everything has to be brand new, but worn out furniture, faded pictures, and frayed books on bookshelves can make your home look stale and turn buyers off. Your goal is to help potential buyers envision themselves in your home, so you want your rooms to invite them in, not make them feel as though they’re invading someone else’s space.
7. Hire a professional staging company. After you’ve done your best to depersonalize and clear the clutter from your space, consider bringing in a professional stager to help make the best possible first impression on potential buyers. These days, most buyers look online before they take the time to visit your home in person. If your photos aren’t attractive, buyers will move on to the next house for sale. A professional stager can make the most of what you have and enhance your home with fresh artwork, strategically placed room accessories, or different furniture. Staging can boost the perceived value of your home by as much as 15-20% by showcasing it in the best possible manner.
8. Hire an inspector. A crucial part of the home buying process is obtaining a professional home inspection. Why not take a proactive approach and hire a licensed home inspector to do a walkthrough before placing your home on the market? For just a few hundred dollars, you’ll have a detailed report of every issue that may need to be addressed. This will help you make decisions about what to handle and what points you might need to negotiate. The inspection report will cover the condition of your roof, gutters, windows, foundation and floors. You’ll find out if these are all in good condition or if anything needs to be replaced due to age, damage, or heavy use.
9. Deep clean and make repairs. Do a deep clean of your home inside and out that includes every room (yes, even behind the furniture!), every closet, your kitchen cupboards and pantry. Change out HVAC filters and clean intake registers for a fresh look. Buyers are likely to open every door, so you want what they see to be neat and organized. Make minor repairs you can easily do yourself, such as touching up the caulk around windows, sinks and bathtubs, replacing burnt out light bulbs, and fixing that drippy faucet.
10. Freshen, freshen, freshen! If you have pets or a smoker in the house, have your carpets and any fabric furniture professionally cleaned and protected with stain and odor guard. Before showing, remove the pets for the day and any evidence such as litter boxes, pet beds and toys should be stored in a garage or outdoor storage if possible. Pet smells can kill a potential sale very quickly, especially if the buyer is not a pet lover.
When you are looking for ways to get the most out of your home sale, remember that the difference between maintenance and upgrades is this; maintenance items help your home hold it’s value, while upgrades may increase its value. Kitchens and bathrooms are huge selling factors in any home, so if you decide to spend money on remodeling projects, these are probably your best investment. Installing new kitchen appliances and countertops are popular upgrades. If you decide to upgrade your appliances but plan to take them with you when you move, just remember that you’ll need to reveal that to any potential buyer.