Does dark paint make your living room look smaller? Is the concrete on your front porch stained or cracked? Do you worry that isolated problems like these will prevent you from selling fast and moving on with your life? If you’re planning to sell your home and don’t want to walk away with a low figure, you’ve probably thought about making a few upgrades.
In order to thrive in today’s real estate market, your property has to be as competitive as your price. Don’t let a fixable issue keep a potential buyer from making an offer. Consider some tried-and-true upgrades that offer a good return on your investment, whether they elevate the value of your home or just convince a potential buyer to take the plunge.
Fixing Common Deal-breakers
If you can do it without breaking the bank, don’t expect potential home buyers to do it themselves later. Even if a problem like ugly wallpaper is inexpensive enough to alleviate, sometimes you have to worry about the psychological effect too. Buyers don’t want to worry about renovations or added expenses after they move, so make your home move-in-ready by making sure there’s nothing that will disappoint your visitors. Common reasons to go elsewhere include:
- Outdated appliances
- A poor layout without direct routes between main spaces (can sometimes be a visual illusion created by poor furniture placement; this one is completely free to fix)
- Inadequate storage space
- Dirty pool, overgrown lawn (these are no-brainers; both the exterior and interior need to look their best)
Making Full-Scale Renovations
Which upgrades yield the biggest return on your investment? According to top realtor associations, upgrades that pay off particularly well in the long run include:
- Kitchen renovations that include new counter tops or appliances (stove/oven range, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.)
- Increased interior square footage (add-on rooms, garage or basement finishing)
- Plumbing upgrades (whole house or bathroom)
- Bathroom renovations that include new plumbing and shower/bath
Of course, your return on investment will always depend on the age and value of the items you replace. If you spend thousands to replace five-year-old counter tops with shiny granite, it won’t make as big a difference as if you refinish and stain the hardwood floor to look brand new again.
Upgrading on a Small Scale
Upgrades can hike a home’s value without hurting your budget too much. Even if you don’t need — or can’t afford — to renovate entire rooms or update your plumbing, you can make improvements on a smaller scale. Depending on the square footage and age of your house, the following options will give you better odds at selling fast:
- Install a new front door (or pair of doors)
- Replace carpeting with hardwood
- Add brushed aluminum accents outside
- Replace dark paint with lighter shades in common areas
- Apply a fresh coat of paint outside (can be the same color)
Last-Minute Fixes That Work
Sometimes the details make all the difference. Take years off a room’s life by ditching an old faucet for a modern stainless steel replacement. Other small-scale upgrades that typically cost less than $100 include:
- Bathroom sink faucets
- Toilet handles
- Cabinet handles
- Exterior light fixtures
Don’t forget that cleaning can do wonders for both the interior and exterior. Clutter and dirty floors (or windows) detract from your house’s appeal and prevent buyers from seeing its true potential. If you’re forking over money to update fixtures and freshen up paint, don’t ruin it by leaving the sinks dirty for your Open House, or posting unflattering photographs in bad lighting. Treat your house to one last makeover, and you’ll be onto better things in no time.