Competition is killer when it comes to a private owner trying to sell a home in today’s market. The dynamics of most markets can be quite challenging, even for the most attractive home. It is, afterall, a buyer’s market. Between most Americans wanting or needing to cut back on spending and lots of homes to choose from, many buyers are demanding move-in ready homes, meaning no need for costly home improvement projects.
With so much inventory currently on the market and shadow inventory to come, buyers are not having any trouble finding the home that they like without having to compromise. There’s no motivation to a buyer to purchase a home by having to put a large down payment plus closing costs, secure a loan and then spend more moola to improve the property just purchased.
That’s why sellers are realizing that taking care of home improvements before they go to market is a smart strategy. Even getting a home inspection first and making sure any defects/repairs are taken care of up front. With a little vision and design, select finishes and products that welcome the broadest possible range of buyer likes. The seller must see his/her own home through a buyer’s eyes and get past any emotion or feelings that your home is the best home on the market. Here are a few home improvement projects that pay back at the time of a sale:
Curb appeal is a huge step in attracting buyers. Install a high-quality, energy efficient entry door. Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer gets so make sure the appearance of your home will stay in the mind of the prospective buyer even after the buyer has seen 10 or 15 other homes. At the end of the day, you want that buyer to remember your home. Browse through home improvement magazines to get inexpensive ideas. At the very least, make sure the appearance is very neat and very clean. Don't just have a mat that says welcome, but make the buyer actually feel welcomed.
Build a deck! Believe it or not, this is one of the least expensive ways to beef up your home’s appeal. Use low maintenance and eco-friendly materials if the budget allows but even pressure treated wood will add value. The added extra living space can result in up to an 80% return on your investment. Creating a nice outdoor space is an excellent feature for buyers. There is a multitude of landscaping ideas on the internet and in magazines that won’t break the bank.
The kitchen, ah yes the kitchen! A huge selling point and can make or break a sale. Don’t underestimate your kitchen’s appearance and here’s one place you want to be sure is squeaky clean. Replacing old countertops does not have to be expensive. Yes, it’s true, granite and stainless steel is all the rage but there are plenty of other design choices that can make your kitchen shine. Cabinet hardware can be an inexpensive way to dress up your cabinets. Light up your kitchen by just replacing bulbs.
Install replacement windows but at the very least make sure your windows are clean. Let the sun shine in! Replace older windows with more energy efficient ones. A seller might be able to benefit from any energy tax savings and a point to be made to a buyer is how they will save on energy bills. The energy efficiency of a home is an important aspect in today’s environment. Look for other inexpensive ways to improve the energy efficiency in your home.
Make the most of your basement or attic space. Buyers want lots of storage space so clear out the clutter in your attic. Help a buyer see the valuable storage space an attic has to offer. Turn your basement into an office, apartment or recreation room. There are ways to do this without it costing a fortune.
As important as the kitchen is in a home, the bathroom may be even moreso. Bathrooms tend to age easily, so keep the décor netural so it will appeal to the highest number of buyers. Install efficient fixtures and hardware. Paint can go a very long way and is one of the most least expensive ways to dress up a room. As with the kitchen, make sure your bathroom is squeaky clean. There are plenty of bathroom renovation ideas in magazines so check them out.
Many of the homes in the North Georgia Mountains are total electric with propane gas for gas logs. Although it’s not a huge problem in our area, still, when the power goes out, it’s essential to have a backup system for your home. Consider installing a backup generator. They can now be installed right next to the AC unit and repower a home within seconds of losing electricity.
Adding extra living space that won’t price your home out of the local market can be a valuable home improvement. If it's too costly to add an extra room, consider taking existing space that is not being used to its maximum potential and convert it into truly useable and functional space. Maybe your home is not large enough to dedicate an entire room for an office but more than likely there is space in your home somewhere. Perhaps a room that can serve double duty, or a corner that can be converted into something more useful. (OK, I just threw that picture in for grins ! )
When remodeling, don't forget the proper permits.
If some of these ideas are just not possible to do, then keep in mind that paint can go a very long way in making a home look and smell fresh. Keeping colors neutral is so important when trying to sell. Some buyers really do have a hard time seeing past a red living room, purple bedroom or pink bathroom. Not every room has to be white or beige but do go with colors that will appeal to the majority. It doesn’t cost anything to de-clutter except a little time and maybe sweat. Clear countertops, put away small appliances, organize closets and remove the majority of your personal items.
Remember to view your home, not through your eyes, but through the eyes of a buyer. Don’t take offense to feedback from a buyer’s agent, instead, see the information as a useful tool to be used so you can gain an advantage over your competition.
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