Real estate tip: Home improvements with impact

sponsored post by Lauren Hruby and Scott DeVouton

Most homes need a little work, especially before hitting the market.  In today’s competitive Kansas City market, it’s important that sellers make the right improvements that are cost effective in relation to resale value. This becomes an important question, especially if funds are limited.  What improvements have the most impact on resale?

Some improvements are easy, relatively cheap, and have a direct impact on resale.  Fixture upgrades, for example, can be very affordable, and can have a whole-home impact.  Kitchens and bathrooms can be freshened up with new drawer and cabinet fixtures, and any room might benefit from a new light fixture.  Sellers may also consider replacing plumbing fixtures, especially if current fixtures are outdated or time worn.

Repainting is another improvement that can be affordable and relatively quick. Whether it’s putting a refresher coat on walls and trim in well-used rooms, or updating colors to transform a particular space, a freshly-painted home presents well and will save a buyer that step prior to move-in.

Also consider improvements to landscaping and outdoor spaces.  This can be an affordable process, limiting improvements to a thorough clean-up, adding mulch to beds and possibly planting landscape around the home.  It could also include adding or repairing a deck or patio, or laying stone or brick walkways. Always consider using repurposed or reused materials, which are cost effective and get the job done.  Outdoor improvements help curb appeal, which is a home’s first impression to each interested buyer.

Adding storage is one improvement that many sellers don’t consider.  Storage space is something that most buyers appreciate, and many solutions are quick and cost effective.  Adding modular units to closets, the garage or attic is one way to boost storage space, but sellers can also consider adding built-ins around the home.

New flooring is another improvement that makes a home stand out, and can be more affordable than most sellers realize.  This can not only remove outdated and worn flooring, but it can also add a real pop in even the smallest spaces.  Hardwood floors remain a strong selling point, and updated bathroom tiles can help distinguish any home in this competitive market.

In some cases, a more involved improvement may make sense.  New windows, for example, can not only freshen up an entire floor or home. They will also offer prospective buyers reduced energy costs, and will usually be a great selling point.  New siding is another improvement that may cost a little more, but could be the difference between a home that sells and one that sits on the market.

Full remodeling jobs also typically cost more than other improvements, but can also create real points of competitive difference.  This is especially so if a home’s current kitchen or bathroom, for example, is outdated or heavily worn.  New counters, cabinets, fixtures and appliances are things that buyers appreciate in these key areas of a home.

In addition to remodeling, some sellers choose to repurpose a room in their home.  Spaces such as an attic, a spare room or a screened porch are all areas that could be put to higher use.  A home’s basement can also be ripe for repurposing.  In addition to creating extra storage in the home, a seller could create a family rec room, a studio, or even an extra bedroom with basement space.

Of course, regular maintenance should usually take priority over added improvements. Sellers should address key issues with the home, such as a roof in disrepair, an HVAC system that needs work, and basic repairs to any damaged parts of the home.  It would not make a lot of sense, for example, to sink $20,000 into a kitchen remodel if the roof is leaking.

The common thread throughout any of these improvements is the seller’s cost/benefit analysis.  This can be tricky, especially if a seller’s budget requires prioritization. We always suggest that sellers looking to make improvements talk to us prior to committing funds and time to a particular project. The decision not only involves what improvement is more important than another. It should also include an assessment of market value.  After all, return on investment will be determined by what other homes in the same area are worth.

There is no hard and fast rule regarding what improvements should and should not be made.  Market value will control what a seller can ask for a home or condo, regardless of a seller’s investment or personal taste.  If a homeowner plans on staying put for a long time and has no expectation of return on a particular home improvement, options are more open-ended.  If a seller wants to list soon, the market should steer home improvement decisions. Prioritize with buyers and the bottom line in mind.

Author’s Note – If you enjoy reading our Midtown KC Post articles, and might be buying or selling your own home, please contact us. We enjoy writing these, and love helping people.

Lauren Hruby Real Estate


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