What home improvements pay off?

Are you sure that’s the right questions. Or should it be “What are the best ways to spend money on my home that will net me the highest return on my investment?”

Number one is Basic Home Maintenance

If the roof is leaking, buyers won’t get beyond that. If you have any questions on the quality of your home have a home inspector do a thorough evaluation. Many homes in Shadow Valley have had water issues normally due to a flashing issue which is usually just a $500 fix. But if not realized that flashing issue can cost you as must at $10k to $15k. So maintenance first, because no matter how fabulous the view is or how great the kitchen is a buyer won’t care. Here are the top 3 common maintenance items I have seen blow a deal or keep the home from selling in Shadow Valley:

1)      Roof Flashing

2)      Front doors and shutters

3)      Condition of wood floors or carpet

Second item after maintenance is Floor Plan. Your home must flow well. I have had two clients take their two story living rooms and cut them in half vertically. Now they have a wonderful upstairs family room too. Adding sqft to your home is the second best way to get more bang for your buck. But also look at correcting flow. Is there a wall that can come out to open the room? Do two rooms need to be combined? This gets tricky but with good planning you will enjoy your home more yourself and make it more sellable in the future.

After you know your home is sound and the layout is good consider updates to the Kitchen and Baths. According to Remodeling Magazine (www.reodelingmagazine.com) a minor kitchen remodel (roughly $15,000) will return up to 92.9%. This means if on the day you buy your home, there are things you don’t like about the kitchen change them. Another buyer is likely to feel the same way. If you don’t have solid granite or quartz counters upgrade now and enjoy them while you live in your home. If you don’t have a gas cook top, especially if you home is plumbed for it which many of them are, upgrade now. The same principal applies for all your appliances. Upgrading them now will allow you to enjoy them and set your home apart from the competition when you go to sell. Look at the other homes online about the same size as yours, compare the kitchens. Does your kitchen stack up? If you are a $500k home do you have double ovens? If your cabinets can be retro fitted for double ovens, do it. It will pay off. Many of my buyers list double ovens and a gas cook top as a must have.

Bathrooms are the next area that buyers look at. Are your cabinets dated? Or do you have white on white in your master bath? Paint can easily take care of both of these issues. “Pottery Barn” black looks sexy in a master bath. In a children’s bath I would do a shade of brown or even a grey on the vanity cabinets. The master bath should feel luxurious. Consider upgrading cultured marble countertops to granite counters with undermont sinks. If you want to add an extra punch, go with a square sinks. Some of the homes have slab travertine which is very expensive and nice but they may have a simple drop in sink, consider upgrading to a square drop in sink. It will instantly make the bathroom feel upgraded and modern again. If you have a fiberglass shower in the master upgrade to a tiled shower. Cultured marble in a shower is tricky, in some decors it works in others it does not. If your bath is clean lined and the culture marble has no color in it, strictly white with white or off white swirls it usually works. But if there is any color swirls I recommend upgrading to a tile shower. Seamless glass is another way to upgrade a shower. After that take a look at fixtures…anything shiny brass must go.

While on the subject of remodels and upgrading…it pays to be stylish but not too trendy. You can never go wrong with natural stone; subway tile is a very popular shape right now. Give your kitchen that little punch by using glass tile as an accent. More detailed designs above the stove can become that WOW factor. Stay away from themed looks, like black & white, Asian, Southwest, etc. You can achieve these styles through furnishings and accessories, permanent items should be a neutral.  Is wallpaper permanent? In a buyers mind YES! They don’t want to deal with it. Wallpaper is a very personal choice, much like drapes. If you are using any wallpaper keep it natural like grass cloth etc. Or with a modern home you can go for an extreme, like a bold pattern on one wall but I always advise caution. If you have any wallpaper in your home over 5 years old it is more than likely dated. I rank wallpaper up there as a maintenance item. If you are considering putting your home on the market you should neutralizing extreme paint and any wallpaper. When I say neutralize I don’t mean tan. Formal Dining rooms should have some color, blues and soft shades of green are very popular right now. ½ baths can be dramatic, master suites are normally a shade darker than the rest of the home. But any bright pinks or bold reds need to be toned down.  There are also a few homes in Shadow Valley lacking crown molding. Three rooms you normally see crown molding in are; the formal dining room and the master suite and living room. It is not that expensive to add.

The final area that should never be overlooked is curb appeal. Landscape should be manicured and mulch should be re-freshed. Many shrubs and trees as they reach maturity become too big for an area, especially if its against the home. Consider replanting these elsewhere or replacing. Doors and shutters and other wood items may need some fresh stain. These minor items will make a huge difference.

As you get into homes of this caliber bonus areas are expected. Look at the homes in your price range, do they have outdoor kitchens or fire pits? Do they have theater rooms? What about home audio systems. These are extras many buyers expect to see especially in homes over $500k.

Next time you think how great it would be to re-do this room or add an outdoor entertaining area ask yourself “Will it add value to my home?” If its yes…I say do it now. Then you can enjoy it and you have the satisfaction knowing it will help sell your home faster and for more money.

For more information check out this article from HGTV; http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/which-home-improvements-pay-off/page3.html