Home Improvement Projects that add Resale Value
Part II: Tips on where to focus and what to do
Home sellers have a lot to do to get ready for selling your home. And, we all want to focus our money and efforts where it’s going to pay off in a higher resale value.
But many major home improvement projects won’t put more money in your pocket after the sale. Read Part I of this series Home Improvements that Pay Off for more details.
So, how can increase your resale value of your home without spending a lot of cash on major remodels? To help, we’ve compiled a list of projects that offer the highest return on your dollars and efforts. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Talk to your realtor first
Your professional realtor is experienced and very knowledgeable. And, they should be your first step to understanding what needs to be done to your home to increase your resale value.
For example, your realtor understands what factors are important to buyers in your area. The Frisco and Plano real estate markets are very different from other areas. Even differences in local neighborhoods can make a big difference in buyer preferences. Features such as stainless-steel appliances or solid surface countertops may be an important upgrade based on the competition in your neighborhood. Or a change of backsplash might just do the trick.
The important thing to remember is your realtor understands your neighborhood, buyer preferences, and your competition. Suggestions can vary by price point too, what is needed at $1.0M plus to sell can be very different from what is needed at $300K or below. Your realtor can help you prioritize projects, as well as save you from spending money on projects that won’t increase your resale value.
Tip #2: Clean, declutter & stage
Before spending any money on remodeling projects or repairs, spend time on your home with a deep cleaning, decluttering and staging. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
Here’s a list of resources to help you target and tackle this step:
Tip #3: Prioritize repair & maintenance items over aesthetic projects
When prospective buyers look at a home, broken windows, water stains on the ceiling or running toilets can be a big turn-off. These items make buyers apprehensive about the condition of your home. Signs of poor maintenance or needed repairs instantly create a fear of big-ticket repairs they may have to face later and send them running for the door.
Talk to your realtor about what repair and maintenance items should be addressed.
Tip #4: Use these ‘refresh’ tactics to save money & add appeal
Whether you are a DIY’er or not, there are many tactics that can instantly and economically make a big impact on the appeal of your home. In general, these can be used for any area of your home but focus on key areas listed in Tip #5 first.
- Fresh paint – Adding a fresh coat of paint to beat-up walls is one of the most economical ways to add appeal to a room. Focus on key areas and think ‘greige’ (neutral grays and beiges) for wider appeal.
- Add light – Changing out light fixtures can update the look and feel of an entire room. Add brighter bulbs and open window coverings to let in all the natural light you can. Oh, and make sure the windows are clean!
- Trim matters – Touch up baseboards, door and window frames with fresh bright paint, especially in the entry and main living areas.
- Add visual space – People like space. Since moving walls is likely not a high ROI project, add visual space by adding large mirrors to walls and re-arranging furniture to open areas. De-cluttering and staging is a must.
- Change out fixtures – Updating faucets and fixtures can be a quick technique for modernizing a kitchen or bath without a lot of expense. Also, replace drawer pulls and cabinet knobs for instant pizazz.
- Resurface cabinets – Utilizing resurfacing kits from Home Depot or Lowe’s is a great way to save money. If you are somewhat handy, these kits can give you brand new look without the cost of brand new cabinets. If DIY isn’t your thing, local painters might be an option to explore to avoid any mishaps.
- Clean carpets instead of replacing – Talk to your realtor to decide if cleaning your carpets is enough. Heavily soiled areas might be repairable with spot carpet replacement. The expense of new carpet may not pay off and many home buyers would rather pick out their own style and color anyway.
Tip #5: Focus on refreshing key areas that are important to buyers
When it comes to buyers, there are several areas that are always high on the list. Kitchen and bathrooms are always top but don’t forget about the first impression of your home either. Here’s a list of top areas to prioritize your attention, along with specific tips for each:
The first impression your home makes on prospective buyers is a top priority. Since many buyers will ‘drive by’ a home or view online photos first to see if it is worth a visit, getting this one right is key.
- Front Door – listed as the only renovation/remodel project in our area that provides a pay off in higher resale value, upgrading or even repaint your front door can make a big impact.
- Manicure Lawn– Start with trimming bushes and trees. Mow, trim and fertilize the grass. Clean out flower beds and add fresh mulch.
- Sidewalks– Sweep and clean front sidewalks and porches. Fix any cracks or broken stones.
- Flowers – Add fresh flowers to beds and in pots around front doors.
- Trim – Touch up paint on the door trim, window frames, and downspouts. Make sure there is no cracking paint.
- Clean Gutters – Ensure gutters are clean and free of any debris hanging over. Poorly maintained gutters may send a bad signal about possible roof damage and scare away prospective buyers.
- Welcome Mat– Change out the welcome mat at the front door with new one.
Once the prospective buyers are taken in by the awesome curb appeal, their next impression happens when they walk through the front door. Check these items to make sure your entry and foyer welcome buyers.
- Paint– Paint entryway with fresh, neutral paint color.
- Trim– Clean and/or touch up paint on front door frame and baseboards in the entry. Also, make sure to replace squeaky or wobbly thresholds.
- Space– Add large mirrors if appropriate to open area and give the visual appearance of a larger space.
- Rugs– Change out foyer rugs to freshen up and modernize entry.
- De-clutter– Remove any furniture or items that aren’t necessary and just take up valuable space.
A great kitchen is at the top of most buyer’s wish list. Focus on these areas to add appeal to your kitchen without having the expense of a total kitchen remodel.
- Sink – Although sinks can add a little expense to your budget, updating to a newer sink might just give you enough pizazz to give you the edge.
- Faucets– If a new sink isn’t the answer, think about switching out your faucet to a more modern fixture. Be sure to find a faucet that fits your current sink if you don’t plan on changing out the sink.
- Drawer pulls/knobs– These are easy to change out and fairly inexpensive at your local hardware store or better yet, check on Amazon or Wayfair. Drawer pulls and knobs can often be purchased in packets of 50 or 100 for a very reasonable price.
- Cabinet resurface– As mentioned previously, changing the color of your cabinets with refinishing kits can totally change the look and feel of your kitchen and might be worth investigating.
- Backsplash – Adding fresh backsplash can help modernize a kitchen without having to replace countertops. Go for newer colors and textures that complement your current colors.
- Appliances – If your budget allows, try swapping out one smaller appliance such as a microwave first to see the impact. Typically, larger appliances such as stainless-steel oven or ranges won’t pay off for resale unless you are going to be in the home for a while before selling.
Much like the kitchen area, revamping your bathroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Depending on the style and age of your bathrooms, a few little tweaks can make a big difference.
- Walls – Change out any dated wallpaper with newer colors and styles, or give your bath a fresh coat of paint to add life. While wallpaper is coming back in style, old wallpaper styles are still definitely out.
- Mirrors – Changing out the frame of a mirror, or replacing small mirrors with large ones is a trick that can pay off in the visual appearance. For example, if you currently have frameless mirrors, check out these DIY ‘stick-on’ frames that just about anyone can do.
- Fixtures– Switch out faucets with updated styles and change your shower head to add a trendy look. Towel holders might also be prime for a replacement to ensure they match other new fixtures.
- Shower – Instead of remodeling a shower, consider replacing any frosted or cloudy glass with new frameless glass. This is a hot look that opens the bathroom and adds a modern touch.
- Tile – Make sure all tile is squeaky clean and free of mold or mildew, then re-caulk major areas to give the tile a fresh, clean look.
- Cabinets – Just as with the kitchen, check into resurfacing very worn or outdated cabinet colors. And replace drawer pulls or cabinet knobs with trendy new ones.
- Finishing Touches– add a few candles, flowers, and a fresh set of towels to complete the look of your updated bath.
And voila! With a little elbow grease and the help of a great real estate agent (and possibly a handyman), you can increase the resale value of your home with improvement projects that pay off.
Need more help with buying or selling your home? Give us a call at 469-634-0932 anytime. We’re here to help you!
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine eleven times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly, Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #1 Top Small Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.