Perhaps the hardest question when selling a home is how much money to invest into it before putting it on the market in order to increase its value without breaking the bank. Below is a list of five fairly simple steps to take when trying to boost the value of your home in preparation to sell it.
#1 Perform Inspections
Believe it or not, most of the aspects of a home that inform its value aren’t readily apparent to the eye—and there’s no way to fix a problem if you don’t know you have one. So even if it seems costly at the outset, hire inspectors to check out the whole place: have your roof, your crawl space, your electrical system, your plumbing, your woodwork, etc. looked at by professionals and fix any potentially problematic underlying issues first. Buyers want to know first and foremost that they are buying a solid home; all aesthetic upgrades should be secondary, bottom line.
#2 Renovate One Room at a Time
It makes sense to want the whole house done at once, and many sellers become overzealous about renovations, leaving them with lots of unnecessary expenses lots of partially finished rooms. One or two impressive rooms are better than eight “sort of” finished rooms. Which rooms need the most immediate care? Are some missing walls or flooring while others simply needing a makeover? Make a list of each room in your house, everything that needs to be done to them, and then rank each room in order of importance. That said, whenever possible, you should always…
#3 Prioritize the Kitchen and the Bathrooms
Any real estate expert will tell you that the absolute top return on investment in home improvement is the kitchen; buyers are greatly swayed by kitchens with above-and-beyond form and function. Make sure your appliances are up-to-date and work well. Bonus points if you can replace appliances to match each other, especially in stainless steel. Tall, beautiful cabinets also tend to be deal-closers, and if you can’t afford real wood, most buyers will still prioritize size of storage space over material. Fairly affordable kitchen features that help with efficiency—an island or a nice hanging pot rack—definitely help increase value too, and aesthetic touches like backsplashes and pretty light fixtures help tie a kitchen together as well.
Bathrooms boost value a bit less dramatically than kitchens, but also need to deliver in both form and function. Make sure that all toilets and faucets work well, and that there is enough storage (whether under the sink, in a medicine cabinet, etc.) If you have the money, go with granite or marble for your counters, as these earn major points with buyers (and because bathrooms are generally pretty small, it’s a nice way to work this aesthetic into your home at a decent price point). And finally, a nice mirror with warm, flattering lighting goes a long way in making buyers feel good in the room.
#4 Invest in Cost-Saving Features
Anything that says to a prospective buyer that they will save money later is typically a worthwhile investment. For example, large but energy efficient washers and dryers add value to your home and are becoming way more common and affordable. Consider buying floor models if you are looking to save money, since they don’t actually get used. Likewise, a built-in water filtration system that will save your buyers the money and hassle of Brita filters and bottled water are a great and simple investment. The same goes for energy-efficient light fixtures.
#5 Don’t Overlook the Little Things
You may be surprised how far little touches can go. Newly painted rooms (especially in bright, neutral colors) are a key selling point, as are freshly carpeted ones (even if the carpeting used isn’t particularly fancy or expensive). Brighter homes sell faster, so consider getting blinds or light, airy curtains, which tend to make spaces feel bigger. And while landscaping can get quite expensive, consider planting a tree or two in your yard or planting some resilient, low-maintenance flowers along the walkway up to your home.