July 29, 2016
The “Fab 5″ to” Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck on Home Improvements” are kitchens, windows, carpet, paint and bath. These are the areas of a home that provide the most appeal and make the biggest impact to potential home buyers.
The most focused-on area in the house is the kitchen. It should be where your best money is spent, and the area to cut the least amount of corners on. Avoid vinyl flooring and use a large tile or laminate flooring instead. As for kitchen cabinets, LED under counter light tape have become very popular, is inexpensive and really add zing to the counter top with this lighting coming from underneath the kitchen cabinets. Low cost, great results!
Update baths by resurfacing cabinets or painting with neutral colors. Replace dated fixtures, caulk and redo grout in countertops, sinks, tubs and showers. The traditional bathtub seems to be on the way out as more people are opting for higher-end stand up shower stalls.
The two most important areas to focus on may be an additional bathroom, even a half bathroom powder room. These additions, if allowable in your circumstance, add significant value to your home, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In 2011, bathrooms became more important to home buyers than kitchens.
If not updated, they have to be replaced. Use what is consistent for the neighborhood you are working in. Like all of these tips, you want to improve to the benchmark quality that your neighborhood demands, but you don’t want to over-improve and not get your money’s worth back in the sale price.
With carpeting, the average return on investment can be tremendous. If carpets are only lightly worn, you may be able to get by with a good steam cleaning, but this shortcut is not recommended. Buyers want that new look and smell. Replace with neutral colors that aren’t overbearing.
Make use of neutral non-overbearing colors again. Another neat tip is to install chair rails and have a color differential between the two sections, perhaps a base egg shell flat white on the lower portion and something accenting on the upper section. Also, window boxing made from molding can be a cheap and easy way to make certain rooms stand out. You can even wallpaper the inside of the window box sections in the lower sections of the wall and still utilize a chair rail for a visual sectional image. These little tips can be very stunning as a first impression and cost very little.
Lighting and brightening is so often missed or misused. Lighting is cheap and critical. When used properly to brighten a house, it creates an appearance of a larger looking and clean, appealing, warm home. This is one of the biggest things to focus on. Avoid hard HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting or any harsh bright light. Whenever possible go with indirect and fluorescent lighting cabinets for the kitchen, 4 tube fluorescents cabinet style lighting. Do everything you can to avoid shadowing in the kitchen, especially near the cooking area. Again consider under the counter lighting in the kitchen. Always open drapes or slat type shade blinds to allow reverse lighting to enter the home. Remove clutter items in basements and attics; rent a storage space or sell excess items, if needed. Keep every room clean & open during open home viewings. Perform pre-open house cleanliness inspections. Or Staging, more on that later.
Finished basements are a big factor. When it’s your house against someone else’s that may be similar in almost every way, the house with the finished basement will produce a faster sale and have greater value. Plus, you can make a “Man Cave”/Bar area or an alternate office in these areas. You can even make an area devoted for hobbies, such as a planter tables/crafts, etc. Use the under part of the staircase and convert into a storage cabinet for the cost of an overhead light and closet door. Tah Dah!
Use lots of them. With all walk-in closets it should be the first thing you see. Don’t scrimp in the bathrooms. Mirrors are great for making a room look bigger and people like to see themselves in them as though they’re in their new home.
If your house is vacant, consider “staging” the house by renting furniture to create a living environment. Vacant houses look smaller. Staging allows for the buyer to imagine how they would arrange or live in the home you are selling. If you are a repeat rehabber, buy plastic plants and flowers, etc. and keep moving them from house to house on each project. Don’t forget to add minimal window treatments too. You may also be able to arrange a deal with a local furniture supplier to have them stage the house in exchange for having a bunch of table tent ads throughout the house to promote sales for that company.
If your house configuration allows for a deck to be added, do so by all means, it’s a great return on investment.
Formal dining rooms seem to be becoming a thing of the past and are phasing out, and are also being replaced with larger country style kitchens when floor space allows. Again, it all depends on your floor plan configuration and what the project allows.
Lastly, budget for landscaping for added curb-appeal.
Good Luck & Good Selling to all
Advance America Property & Finance, LLC / Birchwood Capital, LLC
Information provided by: T. Guy Cook, Advance America Property & Finance, LLC / Birchwood Capital, LLC- (410) 661-8300
The Maryland Private Mortgage Lending Team