STEP 1: If you’re preparing to sell your home your first step should be contacting a realtor to evaluate what, if anything, you need to do to get top dollar for your home. The good news is very little may need to be done. You would be surprised how much decluttering and a fresh coat of paint can help. If you do decide to renovate keep in mind your goal is getting the biggest bang for your buck without raising the value of your property too far above others in the neighborhood. A good rule of thumb is to keep the value of your property within 15 to 20 percent of your neighbors’.
STEP 2: Go online and look at the photos of the houses selling in your area and pick out a few similar to yours to compare. If a house in your neighborhood with a new kitchen and updated bathrooms sold significantly higher than one with an outdated kitchen and bathrooms it may be worth considering some upgrades. Your realtor can help you evaluate the numbers.
STEP 3: Consider what projects to tackle. Here are the top 5 projects (average cost recouped, national) according to Realtor Magazine:
1. Minor kitchen remodel (88%)
2. Bathroom remodel (85%)
3. Major kitchen remodel (81%)
4. Family room addition (80%)
5. Deck addition (77%)
A few more projects to consider…turn your master bedroom into a master suite and recoup an average of 75%. Install new siding (73%) or new windows (69%).
STEP 4: If you decide to update consider these design pointers...
· Remodel with mass appeal in mind. Potential buyers are usually attracted to more neutral, mainstream design.
· Don’t go cheap when it comes to construction. Use durable, quality materials. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, honestly evaluate your ability to do it right.
· Pick a style and stay with it. If the house is traditional don’t update a bathroom with an ultra-modern design. Keep it simple and elegant
· Turning a bedroom into a bathroom is a mistake – it reduces the number of bedrooms, a chief selling point.
· Beautiful kitchen remodels don’t have to be outrageously expensive. If your cabinets are in good shape maybe re-facing is the way to go and there are a myriad of counter top options to fit any budget.
Don’t forget curb appeal…
Make sure the outside of your home is spic-and-span. Clean out the gutters. Wash the windows and remove cobwebs and bugs. Trim the hedges, cut and edge the lawn, sweep the sidewalks and driveway. Plant some colorful flowers out front.
You may want to add to or improve your landscaping while you’re at it. According to a study conducted by Money Magazine, landscaping may be the best investment to improve a home's value. The study found that well-planned, attractive landscaping was estimated to have an actual recovery rate 100 to 200 percent higher than a kitchen or bathroom renovation.