Should You Remodel Before Selling?

Most consumers are tired of receiving mixed advice about prepping their home for sale.  Some realtors may advise you to simply slap on a coat of fresh paint, while others will advise you to replace your kitchen with a more modern and convenient one.  With all of this conflicting advice, how are you supposed to know what to do in order to successfully sell your home?

Quite honestly, this is really a matter of opinion and what you think is the best decision for your situation.  For example, if you are considering selling your home in the near future (one to three years), you might want to update your kitchen or bathrooms now while you are still there to enjoy the results.  However, if you want to sell next year, you might decide that the investment and stress of a major remodeling project are too much of a hassle at this point in your life.  Once you have identified your personal goals, it will be easier to decide whether a remodeling investment is worth the effort.

First, take a look at large-scale remodeling projects and how they might impact the sale of your home and the asking price that you are likely to receive.  Then look at other ways you could spend your remodeling funds and time.  Once you have read over all of the information provided in this article, you will be more knowledgeable and have a clear plan in mind for how you will go about the process of preparing your home for sale.

Increasing the square footage, or size, of your home is just about the only project that will guarantee a higher selling price.  However, keep in mind that this type of remodeling is extensive and can be very costly.  What are some smaller-scale, yet effective remodeling projects that might be worth the investment?

Bathroom Updates

Adding a bathroom to a home that has only one bathroom may be a great idea. However, if you want to keep costs down it would be more effective to simply update the room that you have now.  Work around existing plumbing and fixtures, replacing what is broken or in serious need of repair.  Consider adding a new faucet, but if the sink is in great condition there is no reason to change it. Stick with neutral colors and design features that complement the rest of your home.

Convert Your Attic

Converting your attic into a bedroom or office before you put the home up for sale is a great selling feature in most areas.  Why sell empty space when you can boost the value of your home significantly with a small investment of cash and time? Most likely, you will want to hire a contractor or space designer to ensure that you are making adequate use of the available space, and to ensure that the attic is structurally sound.  This project, when done well, will definitely give you a good return on your investment.

Check to make sure that your entry path, stairs, porches and driveway are all in great condition. Consider sealing asphalt and repairing or replacing concrete in order to show potential buyers that you have been vigilant in maintaining your home.

Refinish the Floors

In the 60s and 70s, wall-to-wall carpeting was a huge selling point for homebuyers.  However, in today’s world people are returning to natural living and in many cases carpeting is seen as a detractor rather than a feature.  Consider removing tile and carpeting in favor of hardwood flooring. And, if you have existing hardwood floors, this could be a great time to bare and refinish the existing wood. The expense will be minimal, but the time investment will be fairly significant.  The rewards will be multi-fold, though, because the floors will definitely be a selling feature that potential buyers will pay more for.

Landscaping

Landscaping is more than a few shrubs and flowerbeds.  Consider adding terraced gardens, an outdoor kitchen, or even a new stone-lined patio.  Today’s families are spending more and more time outdoors, so making the lawn and gardens more attractive will definitely help to bolster your home’s selling price.

With these projects in mind, remember that there may be other updates and renovations that will be critical for selling your home.  The extent of renovation needed depends on how well you have kept up on home maintenance.

Today’s buyers are in a hurry.  They demand short-term closings, want to move in on closing day, and generally do not allow time for contractors to work their magic before moving into a new home.  Buyers want homes that are in move-in condition, requiring nothing more than perhaps a paint job. 

With this in mind, smaller projects may be more cost effective than the larger projects described above.  You can do a number of small projects for the same total cost and time investment as that required by the larger projects. No matter what type of project(s) you choose to do, you just need to strive for perfection.

If you hire a contractor for work to prepare for a sale, do not select the cheapest possible alternative.  Instead, make absolutely sure that the contractor you have selected is top-notch and has excellent references.  Certifications are also a good idea, if applicable.  Why? Because you will probably want to advertise the updates to potential buyers, and should you be asked for the name and contact information of the contractor who performed the work, you will want to be able to happily oblige the buyer.

Here Are Some of the Smaller Projects That Might be Worth the Investment

  1. Painting:  Both interior and exterior paint jobs are known to attract buyers and increase sale prices.

  2. Update the electrical system: If your home does not have GFI outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms, consider installing some.  If you still have a fuse box, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.  Likewise, if your air conditioner is on the fritz again, consider a replacement unit.

  3. Repair concrete and asphalt: Check to make sure that your entry path, stairs, porches and driveway are all in great condition. Consider sealing asphalt and repairing or replacing concrete in order to show potential buyers that you have been vigilant in maintaining your home.

  4. Replace the roof or windows: Because roofs and windows are two of the most expensive repairs facing many new homeowners, you can get a relatively large return on investment if you choose to replace the roof or windows in your home.

Consider Getting a Pre-Sale Home Inspection

If you are still not sure about where to invest your pre-sale remodeling funds, you might want to consider having a pre-sale inspection performed by a certified home inspector. The advantage is that you can save yourself the surprises that many sellers’ inspectors reveal during the sale process.  If something needs to be repaired and might hold up the sale or slow negotiations, you can get it out of the way and have the inspector certify that the repair has been made.  This is probably one of the best approaches that a seller can adopt when preparing to sell a home.