Remodeling Your Home Before Selling in Winnetka and North Shore

Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate

Remodeling Before Selling

It seems like an incongruity to remodel your home before you put it on the market to sell.  Most sellers understand the need to freshen up a home, maybe hire a handyman to tighten things up.  But what about actually taking on some remodeling projects in anticipation of 1) selling faster, and 2) increasing home value.  Home improvement projects are not created equal and will not always (or ever) give you the return on investment that you are anticipating. 

Why You Should Consider Remodeling

In the Winnetka and North Shore area of Chicago, many buyers are moving here from downtown.  They do not like remodeling projects.  Let me repeat:  they do not like remodeling projects.  Almost two decades ago when I started in real estate, buyers were looking for these projects.  They wanted to put their own signature on the home they purchased - they didn't want someone else's idea of a remodel.  

Today, the reverse is true.  Many have lived in one of the new condo or townhouse developments in the city and are hungry to replicate that "newness" here.  If they can afford new construction then problem solved.  The second choice is a home that has been updated to reflect most of the new trends in homes - particularly in kitchens and baths.

The Best Projects to Consider in Winnetka & the North Shore

  • A simple background palette of walls and floors is highly desired - painting is one of the best investments you can make - inside or out (see main photo, above.)

  • Kitchen upgrades should be minor but vital.  Keep a lid on costs by refacing cabinets, replacing appliances with modest but good quality ones, and installing new counter tops 

  • Baths are as important as kitchens but some feel they should not be replaced.  If your home is high-end and you have several haggard baths, I consider it a good investment to upgrade them but bypass the steam shower, whirlpool, or bidet.
  • Take a hard look at your front door. Is it dirty, scuffed, dented, hard to open or close?  It's the gateway to your home and a very good investment to make.

  • Summers are short in the North Shore and time outside is precious.  If your patio or deck needs cleaning,Brick paver patio
     realigning, or replacement then consider doing it.

  • New roofs are a great investment - their return is 105%.  The age of the roof is often one of the first questions I get when showing homes. It's not a fun project but worth it.

  • In an area known for wet basements and buyers being extremely skittish over this, waterproofing is an excellent investment.  Basements are well-used in our climate and buyers want them dry.  
  • Don't forget the exterior - freshen up old shrubs or plant a tree which can add thousands to your bottom line. Cracked and bumpy asphalt driveways are fairly inexpensive to replace.


Home Remodeling You Probably Shouldn't do Before Selling

  • Replacing windows - ouch - that hurts to say.  I love new windows and always point them out to prospective buyers.  Few seem impressed however, and the cost probably won't be recouped.

  • Refinishing floors - your stain choice might not impress the buyer and it's very difficult to do with a furnished home. Let them do this before they move in

  • Replacing carpeting over hardwood - in this case, refinish the floors.

  • Sound systems - not everyone is a fan.

More to Consider

This blog post is for sellers who are interested in remodeling their homes before selling. I represent Winnetka, IL and other North Shore communities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, and Glencoe. This is local information.  Oftentimes, I advise sellers not to take on certain projects. Is your home higher-end but lacking a few key features that might drag the price down? Are there things about your home that drive you to distraction and you know they would bother potential buyers?

As a home seller, you should not start any project without speaking with a real estate agent first. Your home needs to be analyzed in its entirety and the determination should be made after careful consideration of all parts of the home. Your price point is also important in establishing the breadth of work to be done - if any. If a home needs too much work it might be best to succumb to demolition.  

If you would like to discuss a remodeling project in your home before selling, please call me and I'll help you decide what should be done.  There are many other things that can be addressed that are specific to your house only.  847-977-6024.


Posted by

Margaret Goss - Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.

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Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

Margaret really good advice to home sellers in most areas of the country.  So many buyers are HGTV fans and think every home should be in almost model perfect condition for the lowest price - and we know how that goes. If sellers don't listen to their experienced agents on home preparation they most likely will end up taking less and being on the market much longer.

Jan 18, 2017 03:43 PM #1
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Margaret Goss

Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
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