Real Estate Q&A
We are planing on putting our home up for sale this coming spring and in the meantime we are going to be taking care of the general maintenance items that need to be addressed and also those things that are in need of obvious repair. We are considering several other more significant improvements like updating the kitchen, the bathrooms and potentially the carpet. We do have a limited amount of money to make the fixes and we were wondering which of these would prove to be the most important? We are looking to make the most impact, but also be putting our money and time in the right places, considering we are selling soon and will no longer be there to enjoy our improvements. Any advice would be great.
— Ron and Beth, Grand Junction
Ron and Beth,
Great question and also wise to start planing for a spring sale now! Your plan to get your home in tip-top condition is not only in your best interest financially, but will also help you sell your home in a more timely fashion, assuming your price it correctly! Condition is one factor that every seller has control over and should never be overlooked, as you never get a second chance to make a first impression — and first impressions are very valuable. When you take care of all the things that obviously need repair and also dial in the overall condition, you will be well on your way to getting ahead of your competition. I can generally say that cosmetic fixes go a long way in making your home’s first impression a better one. I always recommend flooring and paint, as those are two of the things, if needed, that can make the most impact for a reasonable investment. As for more complex or major remodeling projects I generally go to another source, the Cost Vs. Value report that is annually put together by Remodeling magazine and Realtor magazine and can be accessed in its entirety at realtormag.realtor.org. (Authorization required).
The 2013 Cost vs. Value report is a wonderful tool to see, on average, what return you can expect from any moderate/major remodel you are considering. Remember the returns may be greater or lesser depending on many variables, but it is a nice measuring stick to see how different projects stack up on a national level. Remember, this is a good measuring stick, but not a definitive indicator or expected rate of return for our specific market. Some of the highlights are as follows:
- Front entry door replacement with steel door returned 85 percent
- Deck addition returned 77 percent
- Siding replacement (with fiber-cement) returned 79 percent
- Garage door replacement returned 75 percent
- Minor kitchen remodel returned 75 percent (major kitchen remodel 69 percent)
- Window replacement returned 72 percent
- Bathroom remodel returned 58 percent
One thing to note here, most of the highest returns on the list deal directly with exterior changes! Curb appeal is one of, if not, the most important aspects of selling any house and often times the most overlooked. Remember, buyers are generally exposed to your home online first and then drive by it several times before scheduling a showing. My recommendation would be to make sure you spend an adequate amount on the exterior to “spruce” it up and make sure that the curb appeal is as good as you can get it and then look to the inside for other improvements. A growing trend is outdoor living and entertaining space that provides a real impact for potential buyers!
Inside, go with flooring, paint and fixtures first and then move on to the kitchens and bathrooms. Remember to spend wisely and have your real estate agent help you decide which improvements can be done to deliver the most impact at the most reasonable cost! New pulls on kitchen cabinets, new light and sink fixtures with an “wow” back splash can sometimes provide enough impact and keep your costs down. I hope this helps.
The Kimbrough Team,
RE/MAX 4000, Inc