Everyone seems to be renovating or remodeling these days, but should you renovate or remodel before selling?
People have been upgrading their houses for years and the movement really blew up after the market crashed. Suddenly, people couldn’t afford houses with their granite countertops and jacuzzi tubs– but they could splurge and add them in their current houses.
And the remodel movement was born.
Should you renovate or remodel before selling?
There seems to be this stigma that says that renovating or remodeling before selling will get you more money. The stigma is true in some cases, but not really in others. Here’s how to tell if you should renovate or remodel before selling.
If your 1980’s kitchen still has the original laminate countertops and flooring (with the wallpaper that matches)– it’s a good idea to do a bit of a remodel.
If the features in your house have clearly outlived their intended lifespan and are now needing patching, touching, up or some deep cleaning, it’s probably a good idea to update. Buyers don’t like to be reminded that they’re not the first to live in the house, and the burn in the shag carpet or the stain on the wallpaper is a constant reminder that someone has been there before.
The decorative aesthetic features such as outdated countertops, carpet, windows and window coverings, and wallpaper/paint are all things that need updating every few years. The structural aspects like woodwork and arched doorways, however, don’t typically need a lot of remodeling.
Just because your house is more than 20 years old doesn’t mean you need to knock out walls and reform hallways to make it appeal to buyers.
Appeal to More Buyers
If all of the houses in your area are getting a facelift and you want to sell for as much as they are selling for, you may consider making a few changes to your house, if you haven’t already.
A good way to get an understanding of the competition is to walk through a few open houses in your neighborhood. Make note of the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as the type of carpet and color of paint. Pay attention to what their asking price is, and what they actually sell for, as well as how quickly they sell.
Use that information to determine if you should renovate or remodel before you sell. If they sell their homes for asking price or higher in less than 6 months– you may want to consider making similar changes.
Reason for Remodel
Make sure you are considering a remodel or a renovation for the right reason.
Is what you are considering something most future buyers would want to see in such a house or is it a personal preference? Features like a garbage compactor or heated floors usually come down to preference rather than value.
By the same token, some of the renovations that your house may not be within your taste. Maybe you have a thing for accent walls when studies have proven that painting all of the walls the same neutral color is best for a sale.
Try to remember that you will not be the one enjoying these remodels. Remembering that may help you decide if you really need it or if it’s simply a desire of yours.
Rules for Renovation or Remodel
Once you’ve determined if a renovation or remodel is needed, it’s time to set a few ground rules.
1. Don’t spend money you can’t get back.
It’s tempting to go all in on a remodel and tell yourself that you’ll see all of that money– and more– when you sell. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on the top brand of paint when the store brand will do. You won’t see that back in the return.
2. Be strategic.
Not all updates are created equal, and not everyone will bring you the same ROI. Plan out the updates you are going to do and price them out. Understand that you will probably not make 100% of your money back on the remodel. See what you can do to make it more appealing and still be ok not making a complete return on.
3. DIY– but not everything.
Completing remodels yourself can be very rewarding– looking at a job well done and knowing that YOU did it. All by yourself.
But it can also be disastrous.
When it comes to updating your house to sell it– think quick wins. You can definitely learn nearly everything over YouTube, but wouldn’t you rather have someone who a) does this for a living and b) can do the job right the first time?
It would be awful to get into a project and find out you have to rip it up and start again, costing more time and money.
Do the projects that are fairly easy to DIY— like painting and installing laminate wood floors. But if you’re not experienced, save the larger projects that involve ripping out walls, and hooking up plumbing and electrical to the pros.
4. Appeal over functional
While an efficient water heater is nice, buyers prefer and pay more for updates that look nice. Before you sink costs into a new HVAC system, spend the money on updating the appeal.
5. Do the basics first
You’d be amazed at what a little paint and new hardware can do for a place. Before you plan an expensive remodel, work on the easy stuff first. Paint the walls a neutral color and add some new hardware in the kitchen.
Consider painting the cabinets instead of replacing them. You’ll save hundreds– if not thousands– of dollars and a bit of paint will go a long way.
In the end…
Not every house will benefit from a remodel or renovation. Before you make any major costly changes, do your research and see if there is a demand for those updates in your area. If so, tackle the basics and let the pros do the heavy lifting (if any is absolutely required).
If you’re unsure if your house is ready to sell now, talk to a local real estate expert. They’ll be able to help you get the most money out of the sale of your house.