When you plan to sell your house, you want to get the best price possible. But you may not get the price you think you deserve. Why? The truth is, today’s homebuyers are looking for specific features and amenities – and if your house falls short of their expectations, it will sit on the market for longer than it should, or you won’t get top dollar – or both! This may come as an unpleasant surprise if you’ve lived in your home for many years and have maintained it yet not made any significant updates. Here’s a look at what homebuyers look for in a home – and what yours should have if you expect it to sell at best market value!
Thinking About Selling Your House? Make Sure it Has What Homebuyers are Looking For!
Ever watch those popular home buying shows on cable TV and assume that much of the house hunters’ criticisms are exaggerated? Are homebuyers really so picky? Is a popcorn ceiling a deal-breaker? Actually, yes! Our blog post – “Should You Replace Your Home’s Popcorn Ceilings With a Smooth Surface?” – covers this question, and concluded that it’s recommended if you’re planning to put your house on the market!
Of course, that’s only one example of a feature you think may not matter to a homebuyer, but stands out to them like that proverbial sore thumb! While some people do welcome a “fixer” that they can renovate to their taste, most prefer a move-in-ready house. Younger buyers, in particular, are generally too busy with families and jobs to devote the time to the upheaval that remodeling projects involve – not to mention the expense. At the other end of the continuum, empty-nesters looking to downsize want to simplify their life, rather than take on home improvement projects.
Top Features that Homebuyers Want
Open Floor Plans – This trend has been holding steady for quite some time. Open floor plans give families more freedom to use space as they see fit while also allowing them to stay close and connected. By removing the walls between the kitchen, living room, dining room, and/or other parts of the house, people can move freely throughout. Mothers, especially, like being able to keep an eye on their children’s activities from the kitchen and main living areas.
Hardwood Floors – Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable features a home can have. People love the timeless beauty of wood and appreciate its durability and easy maintenance. It is definitely a luxury that is expensive to install, but can add up to 2.5% to a home’s sale price. This makes the upgrade a good investment if it’s time to replace your current flooring. If replacing your carpeting with hardwood flooring is too expensive despite the high projected return on investment, consider installing a high-quality laminate.
Fully Renovated Kitchen – This trend is based on where people spend the most time in their home – and the kitchen usually tops the list. Homebuyers continue to be focused on homes with beautifully upgraded kitchens, which can help maximize the value! Upgrades can be as simple as a matching set of new appliances (stainless steel, of course), but buyers are more drawn to completely remodeled contemporary kitchens with features like granite or quartz countertops, hidden or pullout storage for utensils and large pantries. Kitchens designed to eat in with large center islands fetch the highest sale price because they eliminate the need for a formal dining room. Keep reading to learn which updates you can make that won’t break the bank!
En suite master bathroom/upgraded bathroom – Homebuyers seek spa-like master baths that are part of the master suite – as well as stylish bathrooms and powder rooms. Again, older homes may not have this amenity, and adding a master suite is not likely to be cost-effective for most. Keep reading to learn how you can update your bathrooms to make the most of what you have!
Home office – Many people now work from home, and the trend is only going to increase. If your house has more than two bedrooms, staging (furnishing) one as a home office may be beneficial in showing potential buyers its potential.
Projects To Do Before Selling That Will Add Value
As previously mentioned, making major renovations may not be practical for your situation. For example, a full kitchen renovation can increase your home’s value, but you may not be able to fully recoup the amount you spent. Make sure that improvements will be cost-effective and allow you to compete with “comps” – that is, the selling price of comparable properties in your neighborhood. Calculate your costs carefully and plan your projects wisely!
Writing for Bob Villa, Manasa Reddigari offers recommendations for home improvements to add value to your house when you sell.
Paint the interior – A fresh coat of paint throughout gives every room an immediate lift, and sends the message to buyers that your home is well-maintained. It creates a major positive first impression that will give the rest of your house a “halo effect.” Choose light, neutral colors, and avoid details that are too taste-specific. Bold colors may express your individuality, but you’re trying to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Better to give them a blank canvas in order for them to visualize how they can make it their own. Our blog post – “Seven Top Home Painting Myths You Should Know” – includes topics of special importance to home sellers.
Replace the roof – According to the National Association of Realtors, when a buyer has to choose between two homes of similar size and features, they will opt for the one that has a newer roof. The report reveals that 33% of home sellers said that a roof replacement helped them close the deal. If your roof is new (or relatively so), make sure it’s clean!
Replace the garage door – Real estate agents (16%) recommend replacing the garage door, which can also improve security while increasing curb appeal. Generally, you can recover 95% of your project cost. Depending upon the type of door, however, it may need to be painted. Even if you have an extra can or two of exterior paint from the last time your house was painted, paint eventually fades (especially under Florida’s intense sun), and there is a possibility it won’t match. The best time to replace the garage door is just before you paint your home’s exterior.
Replace the front door – A weather-beaten entry door that’s seen better days won’t give homebuyers a warm welcome. The same advice as given for when to replace the garage door applies here, as well. While a front door should be a different color from that of the house, a new door on a house that needs repainting won’t have the intended effect. Steel or fiberglass doors offer good looks and durability, and you could recover upwards of 70 percent of the project’s cost when you sell.
Upgrade your kitchen fixtures and features – Kitchens sell houses, so take a close look at what you can afford to invest in improvements and do as many as possible while staying within your budget. However, even basic improvements can stretch your budget to its limit. Paint your cabinets (if possible) and update them with new hardware if you can’t justify replacing them. Our blog post – “Cabinets – Don’t Replace, Refinish!” – covers what’s involved with staining wood cabinetry. Also look into installing new plumbing hardware (and possibly a new kitchen sink) and lighting fixtures.
Renovate your bathroom – As previously mentioned, a complete bathroom renovation can be a costly exercise. However, some small changes can make a great deal of difference. For example, replacing the sink vanity, replacing faucet sets and lighting fixtures can go a long way. HomeBNC provides many inspiring – yet budget-friendly – ideas for giving your bathroom a fresh look that can catch a homebuyer’s eye.
The Take-Home Message
We’re approaching the peak time of year for selling and buying homes, so if you’re planning to put yours on the market, start thinking seriously about making the improvements necessary to achieving the best possible selling price.
As you’ve learned, getting your house ready to put on the market can be expensive – while finding an experienced, reliable and trustworthy professional for home improvements projects can be challenging. Fortunately, The Paint Manager is here – and has been dedicated to serving Central Florida homeowners and business owners since 2000! At the present time, our professional contractors are only available for exterior jobs. Of course, we will let our valued members know when we are again able to provide our full range of services. As always, we appreciate your support! Feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment or ask questions, and stay safe!