Boosting the Resale Value of Your Home
by Amy Hoak
Friday, March 16, 2007 provided by
For home sellers, a little extra work can
mean not only a difference in how smoothly the sale goes, or how much
they can ask for their home, but also if they get to the closing table
at all in an uncertain market.
"Talk to Realtors and they will
tell you anything you do cosmetically to increase curb appeal is going
to help the resale value," says Sal Alfano, editor of Remodeling
In addition, many home buyers stretch
economically to get into a home, says David Lupberger,
home-improvement expert for
an online company that connects homeowners with screened home-service
professionals. Sensing work needs to be done will cause many to take a
Here's the bright spot: Many
improvements that have an impact on selling a home aren't very
expensive at all, says Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell
Banker. And some tasks, such as giving rooms a fresh coat of paint,
quickly pay off.
Those planning on adding a "for
sale" sign to the front lawn this spring might want to consider these
five areas while creating their to-do list.
1. First impressions count
It's wise to make a good impression
from the moment a potential buyer pulls up to the house, experts say.
First glimpses of the home will include the home's exterior, the
shrubbery, the gutters and the front door.
Peeling trim could be a kiss of
death. Paint the exterior of the home in an odd color and you could
lose buyers before they come inside. Don't underestimate the
importance of good lawn care, either.
"A lawn that looks good on the
outside gives the impression that someone cares about that home," says
Trey Rogers, professor of turf grass management at Michigan State
University and author of "Lawn Geek," a book of tips on how to
maintain a lawn.
2. Neutralize and declutter
When it comes to preparing a home's
interior, real-estate professionals worth their paychecks will advise
a client to make a move to more neutral colors .
"People can't visualize beyond what
they see," Mr. Gillespie says. Neutral colors, including beige and
ivory, can also have an added advantage of making a room appear
Removing a home's clutter is also
extremely important in getting potential buyers to imagine their
family living in the house, Mr. Gillespie adds. Beyond that, do some
basic spring cleaning: Shampoo the carpets, rebuff hardwood floors and
oil any wood cabinetry, Mr. Lupberger says.
3. Consider replacement projects
Sellers might also consider having
a home inspection done prior to listing the home as a way to detect
any overdue replacement projects, Mr. Gillespie says. A seller has the
option of either fixing the problem or giving the buyer a discount to
account for the needed repairs, but Mr. Gillespie is an advocate for
making the necessary repairs before selling.
Home buyers recognize the value of
a house that doesn't need major repairs, Mr. Alfano says. "The house
is probably not going to move, or you're not going to get all the
value out it, if the new buyer knows they're going to have to replace
the roof sometime soon," he says.
In fact, according to the 2006
"Cost vs. Value" report from Remodeling magazine, a roof replacement
for a midrange home had an average cost of $14,276, and returned
$10,553, or 73% at resale. A vinyl-siding
replacement had an average cost of $9,134, and returned $7,963, or 87%
4. Kitchens and bathrooms rule
It's no secret that buyers tend to
be awed by updated kitchens and bathrooms.
"If the last time it was remodeled
was in 1980, that's going to be points against versus another house
that was upgraded even five years ago with sort of a modern look," Mr.
Alfano says. "It's hard to go wrong with a kitchen or bath remodel
unless you get a little too edgy with the design or the materials."
If kitchen cabinets are
structurally fine but their exteriors are outdated, it might be worth
it to reface them, Mr. Lupberger says. If counters are old, replacing
them will add new life to the room.
5. Warranty coverage and
Sellers can provide some extra
peace of mind to buyers by purchasing a home warranty on their home
that will cover such things as heating and plumbing should the buyer
run into problems after closing. The coverage is getting a bit more
popular nowadays, Mr. Gillespie says. Warranties can be bought from
companies including American Home Shield and Aon.
Mr. Gillespie also recommends
displaying the age of the water heater and furnace; if either one is
on the older side, have it inspected for proof that it works
correctly. Also, explain if any home improvements have produced a cost
savings in terms of energy usage, Mr. Alfano says.