Whether you are renovating your house for the sole purpose of selling it or you plan on staying in your home long after the project is complete, the goal of any home improvement project is to add value to the property. When it does come time to sell, there are two places buyers look more than any other; the kitchen and the bathrooms. Living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms can be sufficiently spruced up with as little as some touch up paint, but kitchens and baths are opportunities to add that “wow” factor that will increase demand for your home. Follow these tips to make improvements that add maximum value.
Highlight the Kitchen
In most situations, the kitchen is going to be seen early the homebuyer’s tour of the house. That means it’s your first opportunity to make an impression. Likewise, if the buyer sees something they don’t like, their opinion will be negatively influenced for the rest of the tour. Do something in the kitchen that will enable the buyer to see themselves entertaining, cooking for the family or generally enjoying a beautifully functional space. A full renovation can accomplish this, but smaller touches, like task lighting under the wall cabinets, customized storage and new cabinet hardware are all things that can communicate this message.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Bathrooms
Smart homebuyers know that more work goes into a bathroom than any other room in the house and they will appreciate the value of a well-designed bathroom. A spa-like retreat in move-in condition can appeal to buyers as much as a beautiful kitchen. Master bathrooms, in particular, are something that can make a buyer fall in love with your house, but the other bathrooms in your house deserve attention too. The lack of a half bath on the main floor for guests to use, for example can be a major turn-off. If this is a shortcoming if your home, consider adding one.
Know your Neighborhood
If the homes in your neighborhood and target price range do not have granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances, you don’t necessarily need to have them either in order to get the right price for your home. In fact, if you overdo it, you can make your home harder to sell. In many cases, it’s better to make the most out of what you have rather than gutting an entire room. In many cases, painting cabinets and replacing their hardware, for example, can create the same affect as replacing them at a fraction of the cost. White cabinets are, in fact, preferred by many of today’s buyers. If you feel you need to go a little further, update the lighting and plumbing fixtures in a kitchen or a bath.
Know Your Market
Having a sense of your potential buyers’ demographics can create an advantage. If you know your house caters to young professionals, empty-nesters or young families, cater your renovation to that group. Younger buyers, for example, tend to prefer large, open showers in the bathroom, often preferring them over tubs. A family with young children, however, is going to want at least one tub in the house somewhere. This carries through to design elements as well. Select either modern or traditional finishes based on your audience.
Talk With a Real Estate Professional
No one understands the market and the comparable homes in your town than a local real estate agent. They can give you a quick, but qualified assessment of whether or not a renovation will generate a return on investment. Their knowledge of the local market can be invaluable. Ask them what you need to be competitive and whether or not the investment is worthwhile before plunging into a project.
Appeal to the Masses
Avoid taste-specific finishes like heavily speckled or veined granite, patterned wallpaper or a themed backsplash. While there’s a chance, you may find a buyer whose tastes match yours exactly, you’ll appeal to a broader range of buyers if you stick with simple, clean lines and err towards fewer color variations. Popular choices like white cabinets and stainless steel appliances will attract many more buyers than they will scare away.
If you do your research properly, select the right improvements and set and stick to a budget and a timeline, you can create a tremendous return on investment with a kitchen or bath renovation, whether you’re looking go sell immediately or enjoy the improvements yourself for several years. The next owner of your home will appreciate the fact that you kept them in mind when you planned they renovation and they’ll reward you for it handsomely.
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