TEN PROJECTS THAT GENERALLY ADD THE BIGGEST PER-DOLLAR
PUNCH TO YOUR HOME'S VALUE AND SALABILITY:
1. Paint - New paint adds a fresh smell and a well-maintained appearance. On the other hand, a home that needs to be painted looks neglected.
2. Landscaping - Well-trimmed bushes and a manicured lawn are signs a home has been maintained. These tasks may involve more sweat equity than financial investment. While landscaping, take a look at your mailbox. If it's rusty and wobbly, replace it. A nice yard adds to the curb appeal that may get drive-by home shoppers out of their cars and through the front door for a better look.
3. Light fixtures - They don't have to be expensive. But some old light fixtures make rooms look dated.
4. Window coverings - Do they let in the light? You don't need costly drapes, but worn, outdated, or heavy window coverings are a definite negative. Natural light appeals to most home buyers.
5. Floors - Attractive flooring adds a lift and can be fairly inexpensive. If carpet is a neutral color and in good condition, it may only need professional cleaning. If not, replace it, stick to mid-grade, neutral tones that will go with all color schemes. Nice-looking hardwood floors can be a major drawing card. If yours appear worn, it would be a smart use of your home improvement dollars to have them refurbished.
6. Central air conditioning - Unless your home is in a cool part of the country, this is an important feature and basic comfort that many buyers expect.
7. Updated kitchen - The kitchen is generally a major selling point, but it is expensive to totally redo it. The national average cost of a completely remodeled kitchen is between $20,000 and $30,000. It probably will not pay to do this, although an outdated kitchen can lower the market value of a home. One study suggests the return on a complete kitchen job is about 75 percent. That's not bad if you're doing the work for your own benefit and will enjoy it for a few years. But for resale purposes, an alternative is do spot remodeling jobs that can be accomplished for less money. For example, consider a new sink, countertops, cabinet fronts, lighting, a paint job, and even drawer and cabinet pulls can add up to a nice kitchen facelift.
8. Bathroom - You can also do spot remodeling jobs on the bathroom with new fixtures, a new vanity and an interesting mirror. If the tub is in bad shape, recaulk and check into getting it resurfaced.
9. Energy features - If your home is older, energy loss may be a concern for would-be buyers. In that case, improved insulation for windows, doors, and storm doors can be smart upgrades.
10. Room addition -An added room may increase the value of your home, but may not pay for itself. Before building an extra bathroom or adding a family room, talk to a real estate professional to see what is selling in your neighborhood. If your home has two bathrooms, for example, but recent sales have been mostly three bathroom homes, it might be a worthwhile project. Otherwise, save your money.
These are just some considerations when improving your home for resale purposes. Getting top dollar for your home generally requires some work and cash. But with a little planning and some advice from a real estate professional, you can help make sure the dollars spent on improvements will be reflected in the sales price.