One of the most common ways home sellers miss out on value is by not preparing their home before attempting to sell. Buyers nowadays are very picky about certain aspects of homes that relate to you as a home seller getting top dollar. If too many of those features are outdated or damaged, it will result in a lower sales price.

The truth of the matter is that most buyers are looking for a home that is move-in ready. The amount of work that you should do in your home before you sell it, of course, depends upon the ideal outcome of your home sale. Do you want the highest sales price possible? Do you want to sell quickly? Your motivation determines the amount of money you should invest in upgrades and repairs.

You might have heard that you’ll only get 50-60% of your money back from upgrading your home, or even that the money you spend on upgrades is money you’ll never get back at all. This is true when you look at it from a general remodeling standpoint using a regular general contractor with marked-up services – but what if you were to make use of services that are geared only toward helping sellers make improvements that will appeal to homebuyers?

There is a reason that flipping houses can be a very profitable venture. When you only focus on making the necessary improvements that buyers actually care about, you can get a very solid return on your investment in them.

Many home sellers find themselves in a situation where they want to sell their home but have not had the time or money in the past to make any upgrades to it. Are these sellers forced to simply sell their home in as-is condition for a lower price? Or are there services out there that can remodel or upgrade certain features or rooms and then sell the home on the seller’s behalf so that they can make much more off of their home sale? The answer is yes – check out Stello Homes remodeling services.

An Art, Not a Science

Each home is unique and represents its own opportunities. Some upgrades might be worth it for some homes and not others. There is also the concept of improvement synergy that we have observed to be the case – improvements of a higher value than you make to a home can lead to a higher ROI percentage. For example, if your home has older features throughout and you only remodeled the kitchen, you’d likely get a much higher rate of return if you combined the kitchen upgrade with a master bathroom and fresh paint throughout. Yes, the dollar amount invested would be higher, but so would the return percentage. In fact, unless other features of the home have been upgraded at some point prior, it is usually not worth it to only invest a little bit in one aspect of the home if the home really needs a number of improvements. That one improvement is not going to solve the home’s problems.

Remodel with an ROI in mind

Upgrading a home is an art, not a science. Some homes might need things that others do not, but in general, there are common areas that we focus on to get a solid return on investment for our clients when they go on the market.

Upgrades made to a kitchen can have a very high return on investment. Cabinets and cabinet hardware, appliances, countertops, backsplashes, recessed lighting, etc. are all desirable, however, what can really move the needle on return on investment is the overall layout and design of the kitchen and how it relates to other rooms. Generally turning a walled-off kitchen into an open concept gets a very good return.

Your master bathroom is another room that can get you a nice ROI. Buyers like updated master bathrooms nowadays. New shower tile or glass, a nice vanity cabinet, fresh paint, and a new toilet can go a long way in making you more on a home sale. While your secondary bathrooms don’t get critiqued as much as the master, a new toilet and vanity cabinet along with fresh paint can be a nice ROI compliment to an upgraded master bathroom.

General flooring is an item that buyers really pay attention to. They notice if it is damaged, cheap, or inconsistent. On the main level, either hardwoods or a nice-looking laminate/vinyl plank is most desirable in high-traffic areas like an entryway or kitchen. Refinishing an old hardwood with a new stain is a great way to get a return on investment in flooring. In general, living areas such as a family or living room, bedrooms, or a finished basement recreation room can get away with carpet. New carpet in these areas can go a long way in terms of return on investment.

Other general upgrades that can contribute to a positive ROI include fresh paint throughout the home. A house that is freshly painted looks and smells much nicer – both very important for buyers. The curb appeal of the home is also important. It is the first impression that buyers have of the home. New mulch, painted trim, new plants, de-weeded gardens, and power-washed walkways and patios or decks can all be very low cost and effective ways to wow buyers as they walk in, especially when combined with the main home features like kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas.

System upgrades may or may not be a good idea, depending on the home’s situation. Typically, the old (old roof, old HVAC, old water heater, etc.) is noticed. However, if you have a new roof, you can likely get away with an old HVAC system, or vice-versa. Of course, the very top-of-the-line houses will have all new systems. However, when it comes to ROI, these items are more complimentary. You should not expect, for example, to install a new HVAC system for $7,000 and expect the sales price to increase correspondingly. It’s more so that, for example, the kitchen and master bathroom upgrades combined with fresh paint and carpet throughout with a new HVAC system costs $35,000 and allows you to list and sell the home for $45,000 more. That’s typically the way this all works. Again, an art, not a science.

Should you remodel your home prior to going on the market? Yes and no. It depends on your home and your situation. It also depends on how much you can put into it, how much time you have, and how much inconvenience you are willing to shoulder while the improvements are taking place. If you are thinking about what your home could sell for with nicer features, get in touch with us. We have created a service that gives you options. Whether you want to sell quickly, perform a remodel prior to listing your home, or simply sell your home professionally, there is no other place you need to go.

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Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or simply remodel your home: we can help guide you in the right direction.

Zach Costello and the team at Stello Homes Realtor in Norhtern Virginia

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