You have some spare change to invest in your home and you want to know where to spend your money for the best return on investment. Especially if you have an older home.
1. The place to start is with the existing systems in your house. Hire a home inspector to survey your house to check the electrical, plumbing, heat, air conditioning systems to find out if your systems are up to par. Believe it or not, a 50+ year-old house with updated wiring will fetch more money than a similar house with original wiring.
Buyers want assurance that the home they are buying is safe, and doesn't have hidden problems hidden behind the walls. When you sell your house, place the inspection report open to the summary page on your dining room table, along with photos of the repairs, and paid receipts from the contractors.
2. Give your house spectacular curb appeal. Add a new front door with top-of-the-line hardware. Have new siding installed. Tame the shrubs so they don't block the view of the house. Paint the trim and shutters. REALTOR Magazine estimates you can get 72% return on your money for exterior improvements. Take the screens off the windows and store them in the basement so your windows sparkle.
3. When it comes to top return on investment INSIDE your house, adding an attic bedroom tops the list at 72.5% return according to Remodeling Magazine. There is a lot of space up there that can be converted into living space.
4. Add an additional bathroom. It used to be that remodeling the kitchen held the #4 position, then in 2011 bathrooms edged out kitchens for the #4 spot. A full bath can add 20% to the value of your house according to the National Association of Home Builders. You'll recoup 67% of the cost of the new bathroom.
5. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so any updates will add value to your house. From a full gut job to just sanding and painting the cabinets, you'll get extra value while you live in your house, and value when you sell. Vinyl flooring looks dated, and laminate flooring is cheaper than you might think. New cabinet hardware can give your kitchen a fresh look. Consider a fresh coat of neutral paint. Lay on a tile back splash.
6. Finish or renovate your basement. Basement remodeling is one of the least costly ways to add value to your house. Designate an area for movies and sports on a wide screen TV; Get sports and movie memorabilia for the walls, big cushy couches, and tables you can on which you can put up your feet. Add a wet bar. Building the bar is a weekend job for a carpenter, and a plumber can have your sink connected in an hour. Add a fridge. Make sure you have lit shelves behind the bar to display glassware, trophies, and top-shelf beverages.
7. Clever storage solutions. New homes come with lots of room for storage, but older homes often lack storage space. Stores like Ikea, Crate and Barrel have clever storage systems that make the most of small or awkward spaces. If your house has a lot of storage, and the house for sale up the street doesn't, your house will sell faster.
8. Additional square footage. Perhaps you decide it's time to add the 10'X20' sunroom you've dreamed about behind the kitchen and breakfast room. The National Association of REALTORS found out in a study that you recoup 3.3% in value for every 1,000 square feet you add to your home.
9. Cool stuff that makes buyers say, "Wow!" There are things you can add to your house that will get the attention of buyers that don't cost a ton of money, but will make an impression:
- Wine fridge
- Upgraded dishwasher
- A second dishwasher (These are all the rage in Texas)
- Alarm system
- Bathroom towel warmers
Sometimes it's helpful to have a home selling pro take a look at your house first, before you launch into updates and projects. That's where I come in. I'd be happy to walk through your house with you to give you some suggestions on which projects would give you the biggest pay back. Just call me at 703-677-1120 to set aside time for a free, no obligation walk through.