Until lending standards loosen up enough for home owners to switch to upgrade their homes, many folks have chosen to remodel their existing houses into fresh, new, homes. For those who are determined to sell their home this year, major remodeling projects aren’t the best return-on-investment. According to Bonhia Lee of the Fresno Bee, the key to a quick sale is improved curb appeal.
Realtor Jason Farris explains that times have changed the way that realtors appraise houses. “Four or five years ago,” he says, “an appraiser would give you more money if you had granite countertops or new appliances. Nowadays, we’re not seeing that.”
The best way to get every penny your house is worth is keeping it clean and tidy, even though home prices are slowly rising again after the downturn. According to Farris, “If a home doesn’t show well or is not well cared for, then you’re going to get offers that are lower than market value.”
In the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report compiled by real estate research firm Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Magazine, small, exterior home improvements are the most valuable projects for a resale. The report compares actual improvement costs with realtors’ estimated values of a house thus improved.
Surprisingly, replacing vinyl siding with stone veneer is one of the smartest improvements home sellers can make. The average cost of replacing 300 square feet of vinyl siding with stone veneer is $7,000, 96% of which will be recouped upon sale of the home. The next best investments are replacing entry doors, windows, and garage doors, which bring returns of 80% to 85%. Cost-effective interior improvements include new paint, replacing the baseboards, adding chair rails. Keep kitchen and bath remodels simple to increase your return on investment. Refurbish kitchen and bathroom fixtures, replace outdated hardware, and upgrade from vinyl flooring to tile in bathrooms. Surprisingly, deep cleaning the interior and power-washing the exterior can really improve a home’s appeal.
According to Farris, “home prices have continued to slowly move upward, and more and more homeowners are finding they have enough equity in their homes to move up to larger ones.” But with money still tight in many markets, don’t overspend on improvement projects that have slim profit margins.