Real Estate Q&A
We will be putting our home on the market this spring. Our home is an older home, built in 1993 and is looking somewhat dated, but it is in good condition as we have maintained it very well. Our kitchen and bathrooms are original, but we put in hardwood floors three years ago and our yard is wonderful. We do not have a lot of money, maybe $3,000 to $5,000, to spend on it before we put it on the market, but want to know where we would get the most return for doing some things to bring it up to today’s standards? Where are the areas or what items deliver the best return? Thanks for your answer and maybe we will call you in the spring.
— Ben and Chelsea, Grand Junction
Ben and Chelsea,
Your home, built in 1993, is at the age where you can see some dating of the features, but luckily you are beyond the 70s and 80s where you see dated features that are much more expensive to remedy. There is more good news in your question. Your home is in good condition and you have a beautiful yard. Great curb appeal is hard to replace and if your yard is really wonderful, you will see an increase in showings because you have passed the “curb appeal” test. Typically buyers get their first exposure to your home by seeing it on the Internet and if the pictures look good, then the next thing they do is drive by it to get a first hand look. The drive-by is where the “curb appeal” test takes place and if it is attractive or has the features they are looking for from the curb, then they are likely to set up a showing. Sounds like you have a handle on the outside features, lets concentrate on the inside.
More good news: You can make a major difference inside without breaking the bank. In my mind, the two things to look at first are paint and flooring. Nothing beats a fresh coat of paint, not only in appearance, but also in smell. Remember, purchasing a home is a process that involves the senses and new paint sure makes things feel fresh and new. Flooring is also key and it sounds like you made a great call by installing hardwood floors, most all buyers see hardwood floors as a desirable upgrade. If you have carpet in your home, look it over and if is worn out or worse yet — blue or rose colored — look to replace it!! If you have a non-neutral carpet color, it will cost you showings and generally cost you money. It is just that simple. It is the rare buyer who loves the navy blue carpet in the living room. Also note that if your carpet is not in terrible shape, try having it professionally cleaned. I have seen a professional carpet cleaner work miracles. Both carpet and paint can deliver a great return.
Another area with great impact at an affordable price is lighting fixtures. Nothing, except wall paper, can date a home like light fixtures and you can get some really nice fixtures at an affordable price that can help transform an entire house. Light fixtures are big-impact items at reasonable prices. Get rid of the polished brass. It’s old school. Also, look at door knobs and hinges, as these are also fairly inexpensive touches that will help bring your home up to date. If your interior doors are flat panel dark wood doors, replacing them with paint-grade doors can make a big difference, especially if you have long hall ways. It is amazing what new doors can do to lighten up a hallway.
In the kitchen, consider cabinet hardware, a tile back splash or new faucet. A nice tile backsplash can give new life to even the most dated kitchen and does not have to cost a fortune to look great. In your bathrooms, look at new hardware, new towels, faucets, sinks, etc., (especially if they are not neutral or white in color).
This should give you a good starting point Work your way through the items and decide what features your home needs the most and just go for it. You do not have to do everything to make a significant impact, but sometimes not doing anything can make a big impact in the wrong way. You are setting yourself up for success. I hope to hear from you this spring and I hope this helps.
The Kimbrough Team,
RE/MAX 4000, Inc