I've written on this topic before and it bears repeating....particularly in today's market. If you are planning to put your home on the market this spring and you currently have an older home, it behooves you to take the time to prepare your house for a successful sale. Keep in mind, I am not saying you will see a huge return on your investment, but it will definitely give you better odds of getting to the closing table. Depending on your market, updates may not be critical. However, in Suwanee, there have been many homes built in the past 10 years or less which you will compete against. So if you are like my husband and I having moved into Suwanee before any one even knew Suwanee existed your home, like ours, has probably hit the 20 years or older mark. Recently we have given serious consideration to selling our home. Our kids are older.....And, so are we....We would prefer a master on the main. And although we have been diligent about keeping our home updated over the years, there is always more to do. It is important to know what buyers are seeing in homes - at your price point - for your particular market. Typically, there are two rooms which will make the biggest impression on any potential buyer: The kitchen and the bath rooms. They are also the most expensive rooms to update if done correctly.
KITCHEN: I remember when I entered the real estate market over 14 years ago in Gwinnett County, formica counter tops were standard in a kitchen. Gradually Corian® became the "must have" for kitchen counter tops. The Corian® counter tops were typically found in what was considered (at the time) the "upper end" price point of homes. In today's market, you will find granite counter tops in the kitchens of almost every price point of home with an under mount sink. So if your kitchen is currently sporting the infamous formica counter tops, it will be worth exploring to replace your old counter tops with granite. If you do install granite counter tops be sure to seal them prior to using them. A good sealer can be found at any home improvement store. Additionally, appliances play a huge part on how your kitchen is perceived by a potential buyer. If your appliances are dated, you may need to replace them prior to marketing your home. The appliances do not have to be high end appliances, but you do want to install appliances in a color that is current for the market. Most homes today in our local market tend to lean towards the stainless steel appliances; black is another good choice. Bright lighting in the kitchen is essential as well. Many new homes make use of canned lighting in the kitchen. However, if you update your lighting in the kitchen with flourescent lighting be sure to choose something that provides exceptional lighting and compliments today's color schemes. And, don't forget the light above your kitchen table. This tends to be a focal point so be selective and tasteful choosing something that will appeal to a variety of buyer tastes. And if your cabinets are showing their age, it doesn't mean you have to endure the cost of a major renovation. There are several options with kitchen cabinets:
- Remove the old cabinets and install new cabinets (the most expensive)
- Reface the old cabinets
- Refinish or paint the current cabinets (least cost investment, but can provide excellent results)
Flooring in a kitchen is also essential. Laminate is definitely OUT!!!! Take the time to invest in either hard wood floors or tile. And, finally, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. When it comes time to sell your home, personal taste no longer prevails. You want to remain neutral with your color choices so it will appeal to an array of color schemes.
FIVE kitchen retrofits buyers love in a kitchen:
- Tile back splash
- Under counter lighting
- Doors with glass panels to some cabinets
- New hardware
BATH ROOMS: These rooms can be scaled to involve minimal cost to high end.
- Remove the old vanity and install a new vanity top in granite or solid surface (not marble)
- Reface the old cabinet and install a new vanity top in granite or solid surface (not marble)
- Refinish the current cabinet, add new hard ware and install a new vanity top in granite or solid surface (not marble)
- Replace laminate flooring with tile flooring
- If your old tile floor looks good but the grout is in bad shape there are companies who can clean the grout and reseal
- Add updated faucets and shower fixtures
- Replace the toilet
- Remove wall paper and paint in a neutral (warm) paint color
- Add new light fixtures
FIVE kitchen and bath features buyers want most:
- 36% prefer a separate shower enclosure in the master bath room
- 31% prefer an eat-in kitchen
- 24% high end appliances
- 23% granite counter tops
- 21% kitchen island
(Source: NAR 2007 Profile of Buyers Home Feature Preferences)
Keep in mind this is a nation-wide survey. Trends will change depending on market. A professional real estate agent who specializes in your specific market will certainly be able to help you decide which changes are best for your home. He or she will be able to help you prioritize based on your budget capabilities. But doing your due diligence before the sign goes in the yard should reap you great rewards!