Selling a home isn’t as simple as just putting it on the market. To begin with, you have a decision to make, do you want to sell it fast or do you want to get the highest price possible? Getting a better price often boils down to making improvements to increase its value, but even then decisions can be made around major, and sometimes costly renovations, or simple adaptions to help you home look more appealing to the buyer. Of course your financial situation and goals will play a big part in your decision concerning which approach you take to add value to your home. If you have financial obligations which must be cleared sooner rather than later or if there are health reasons, then selling quickly is the most important consideration. But, if you are in no hurry to sell, then there is no doubt that ensuring you receive the most money possible for your house is the best approach.
Adding Value to Your Home
There are so many ways to add value to your home that is can seem overwhelming. Getting professional advice will make it easier for you to know where to start and which items are a priority.
Consult a local estate agent and/or an interior designer
An estate agent may assess your home as part of your seller package, but a designer will probably charge a consultation fee. It will probably be a standard fee and could be well worth it when you consider the difference it could make in your market price. Your estate agent can give you an excellent idea of which improvements will add value to your home and give you the most bang with your buck. The interior designer will direct you towards the paint colors, finishes, and home décor which is on-trend before you start spending money to add value to your home.
Have your home inspected
Home improvements aren’t always cosmetic. Damage to structural timber, leaking roofs, and outdated electrical systems are all things which will decrease your home’s value. And a lot of these problems can be hidden, meaning you can’t fix them if you don’t know about them. Fireplaces, air-conditioning units and appliances all need to be in good working order. A Surveyor can find these issues and repairs can be made before you put your home on the market. Remember, the buyer will hire their own surveyor to find any problem with the house and will use the results to bargain down the selling price. People don’t want to buy a house which will require a lot of maintenance and major repairs down the line. It’s better to be proactive and deal with any issues before that happens.
Provided your home doesn’t need any repairs, you can move on to deciding which types of improvements you want to invest in. This will depend on your budget and time-frame but you should also research what you can expect to gain from the work you are planning on doing.
Not All Home Improvements Are Created Equal
It’s important to know if the remodel you’re considering makes financial sense because not all improvements will add value to your home in the eyes of a potential buyer.
According to The NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents, these projects will bring you the highest return on your investment (ROI):
- Believe it or not, the best investment you can make to add value to your home is to add a new bedroom. Estate Agents have found that adding an extra room can add at least another 10% to your sale price. With the average house selling for £155k in Bolton, that’s a potential £15.5k on your selling price. Consult a builder to see whether that makes financial sense for you.
- Kitchens and bathrooms are still important to home buyers though. The amenities that are most popular with home buyers right now are natural finishes, stone or granite countertops, and kitchen islands in kitchens. In the bathroom, large walk-in showers are gaining popularity since most people don’t have time to take a bath. If you only have room for a tub/shower combination or a large shower, it may be wise to go with the shower.
- More space is big tick on the many buyer’s lists. Consider creating an open plan living area, which creates a large amount of additional useable space. This also gives your potential buyer the option to imaging their own layout, nobody like a room where the sofa only fits one way.
Be careful though not to price yourself out of the market. You have to look at the comparable homes in your neighbourhood. It is fine to add value to your home to be at the higher end of the homes in your neighbourhood, but you don’t want to be overpriced and unrealistic in what you are trying to achieve.
Adding Value Means Investment
To add value to your home usually means investment, but it doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are some things that won’t break the bank but will make a big difference in your home’s appeal.
- Rearranging your furniture to create more space and a better traffic flow costs nothing but creates a big impact.
- Take a minimalist’s approach to decorating. Remember that you want your potential buyer to see him or herself in your home. So, pack up as many as of those family photos as you can. Put away all the knick-knacks which get in the way of someone appreciating what your home has to offer.
- Clean thoroughly. A top to bottom deep clean is essential to making a good impression and one of the simplest ways to add value to your home. Don’t forget windows and light fixtures. Reduce odours with air-neutralising sprays but avoid heavily perfumed products.
- Make sure the porch and exterior area is free of clutter and debris. It should be kept clean as well and put out your nicest welcome mat. First impressions count.
Increasing your home’s value will involve an investment of time and money.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or paying professionals to do all the work, to add value to your home means making an investment of time and money. That’s why a plan is so important. Starting any home improvement project without one can cause you headaches, cost you more money than you initially planned, and waste a lot of time. Renovating outdated areas of your home can raise your home’s value, but it can be disruptive. The length of home renovation projects can take days for basic tasks such as painting and minor repairs to several months for major projects.
Take these steps to help you manage your project:
Step 1: Determine whether the remodel will be worth the investment by speaking to an estate agent to figure out how much your house is currently worth. Researching other renovation projects which have been completed in your neighborhood and finding out how those homes sold will give you a good benchmark. If the estate agent has a history of selling houses in your area, they will have a great deal of knowledge you can tap into.
Designing to fit with your homes architecture and surroundings will prevent you from making costly mistakes. Painting the outside of your house to make it stand out, may not add value to your home, and could potentially lower its value. Not everybody is looking for a a Jack and Vera styled blue and yellow bricked property.
Step 2: Set Your Budget
Get a general idea of how much your remodeling project will cost. Major upgrades, such as a bathroom remodel or room addition can soon stretch your finances. This will vary depending on your location so contact some contractors or estate agents to get their input. Before you start asking for estimates, have a clear idea of what you want from materials to paint colors. Specifying these details up front will ensure that your estimates from prospective contractors are consistent. Remember you will only add value to your home if the added value is more than the costs of making the changes.
When it comes to your short list of contractors, get recommendations from neighbours, tradespeople, estate agents, and family members for at least three contractors. Request an itemised bid based on your project description and the specific products that you want. Budget for overruns by adding 15 to 20% to the estimate.
Step 5: Set A Timeline For Your Project
It’s difficult to know exactly how long a remodeling project is going to take but there are general guidelines. Here are the estimated times for the more popular renovations:
Kitchen remodels which include replacing all cabinets, appliances, counters, lighting, flooring and backsplashes generally take between 3 to 6 months.
Considerations: Some conditions will seriously affect the length of time it takes to complete the job. If your contractor has to move ductwork, improve the electrical system or update old plumbing it will take additional time.
Bathroom remodels which entail replacing cabinets, tubs, fixtures, flooring, and lighting tend to take less time than kitchen projects and usually take 1 to 2 months.
Considerations: Delays can be caused by a problem in the floor if the bathroom is on an upper floor because it can involve the room below.
Room additions pose the most difficulty when determining a time-frame because there are so many variables. It can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months depending on the type of addition and whether it’s a conversion (i.e. garage or other area which is already part of the house) or a totally new room.
Considerations: Make sure that the contractor examines the structure, foundation and ground conditions. Normally a contractor will build the room outside of your house including wiring and plumbing before opening a wall between your home and the addition
Step 6: Know what paperwork you need and keep it handy. Depending on where you live, a contractor may need to be registered, carry liability insurance, and be licensed. You should independently verify any information provided. Contracts for all the work you’ve agreed to are a must! Don’t start any project without a contract which includes the project’s scope, payment schedule with amounts, deadlines, and any special requests. Find out which projects require planning permission and discuss whether your contractor will be responsible for getting them or if you’ll have to do it yourself.
Step 7: Anticipate problems. Overruns in time or money are every homeowner’s fear when they embark on a remodeling project. It’s so cliché that its fodder for jokes and movie plots (remember The Money Pit or Mr. Blanding’s Dream House?) Be wary when a contractor offers you a price which is much less than the other estimates you’ve received. This may indicate a lack of experience or shoddy work.
- What happens if your contractor gets sick or injured? Does he/she have an employee who can take over? If not, find out if there is a list of licensed subcontractors who can take over.
- Research your contractor to make sure they have experience in projects like yours.
- Major renovations such as a large addition may require an on-site supervisor.
- If your contractor is using licensed subcontractors, request references or sub-contract agreements from all of them.
- Having an solicitor review your contract is always a good idea. You may have a cooling off period before it becomes binding.
- Contractor’s should have copies of their worker’s liability insurance policies so make sure you get copies. Contact your homeowner insurer to find out what they cover during renovations.
- Your contract should have a balanced payment schedule with no more than one-third paid upfront. The other payments should be tied to work milestones rather than on a particular date
- Get an extended warranty of at least one year to protect you (or the new buyer) from problems after the job is finished.
Step 8: Keep Your Project On Track. It can be difficult to manage your home remodel because there are so many moving parts. Set up a project folder where you keep all the information related to the renovation including timeline, plans/sketches, names & numbers of all the suppliers involved, budget, and any notes. Transferring the timeline to a physical or digital calendar can help you stay on top of deadlines. Even if you add value to your home, running over on project times can negate any additional value.
Add Value to Your Home But Get the Price Right
Of course, the main reason you wish to add value to your home is that you want the best possible price for your home. Several elements will determine what the market will pay. Market conditions, interest rates, location, and the economy all factor into the pricing process.
All property transactions are different, but you can prepare for contingencies by preparing your home so it’s in the best condition possible and retaining an estate agent who you have researched and feel is the best able to sell your property. Estate agents use a formula to calculate a home’s selling price but it’s not an exact science. Marketing and negotiation skills also play a big part in getting the best price from your buyer. Your locations is something you have no control over and supply and demand still rule. If your area is being affected by high unemployment or crime which is causing people to move away, you may be faced with a buyer’s market.
Your specific needs can impact the price you settle for during negotiations as well. If you need to sell quickly, you lose leverage in the marketplace.
A Bolton based estate agent will be able to conduct a marketing assessment which can determine the best selling price for your home. Make sure to select an agent with experience in selling residential properties and preferably someone who has sold properties in your neighborhood. An online house value estimator can give you a general estimate of what your house is worth.
Make your Listing Stand out
As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, so impress prospective buyers as soon as they view your home’s listing. Whether it’s in print or online, there are ways to ramp up the wow factor.
- Start with the basics. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Not if you spend any time perusing home listings. Buyers want to know the size of the home and the surrounding grounds, whether there’s a garage or if it’s been converted to a bonus room.
- Use professional quality photographs. You don’t have to hire a professional (although it’s well worth it if you can afford it) but you need photographs which are clear and well lit. Use a wide-angle lens in order to capture detail and depth. Horizontal photos are more pleasing to the human eye so stay away from vertical shots. At The Purple Property Shop we have our own professional photographer on staff to ensure your photos are going to give your home the added edge. Prepare the area before you start taking pictures. Remove clutter, clean counters and tabletops, Make sure glass and mirrored surfaces are clean and smudge-free. Add a vase of flowers for a pop of color. Experts say you include a large number of photos to give prospective buyers numerous angles, and perspectives of their potential home. Our new video tours of homes take this to a whole new level with pans of rooms and realistic walk-throughs. Luxury homes and extensive properties require more to cover everything and as many as 50 photos may be needed.
- Include your kitchen’s features. The kitchen is the most important room in the house, the one that every buyer looks at first. List all the details about your kitchen, including whatever high-end appliances it contains (name the brand of the appliances as well), the types of flooring and countertops, and whether there’s a breakfast area, kitchen island and open floor plan. Don’t list what you are not prepared to include with the sale of the property.
- Don’t’ forget your bathrooms. Mention any high-end features that your master bath has, such as dual sinks, spa-like bathtubs, walk-in showers, chandeliers that hang over your tub and skylights.
- Discuss upgrades. List any upgrades you’ve made to the house — If you’ve invested in any remodeling over the years, be sure to explain what you’ve upgraded, such as if you replaced the roof, updated the plumbing or electrical system, upgraded the HVAC system or finished the basement.
- Is your home unique? Older homes often have interesting architectural features such as built-in bookcases or arched doorways. If your house is built in a specific style, then make sure to mention it.
- Highlight your outdoor features. A swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, screened patio, or a porch can all be big selling points. Is your yard nicely landscaped? That will save the new homeowner time and money so make mention of this fact (and take pictures for your listing).
Put Yourself in the House Buyer’s Shoes
What would you look for if you were buying a home? Answer this and you’ll be putting yourself in your potential home buyer’s shoes. You want them to feel the same way you did when you discovered the house of your dreams. You don’t want them to feel like guests in your home, you want them to feel like they own your home! How can you accomplish that?
- Neutral colors allow potential buyers to better see the home’s features without the distraction of overpowering colors which may run counter to their own taste.
- Baking cookies or having a loaf of bread in the oven before an open house or viewing has been shown to convey a positive, “homey” feeling. If you bake cookies or other treats, leave them out for visitors to enjoy.
- Declutter your home and remove any furniture which isn’t absolutely necessary. This will create a feeling of spaciousness.
- Let the light in! And turn them on where the lighting is less than optimal. If you were looking at a home you wouldn’t want to feel that the seller’s were trying to hide something by keeping you in the dark. Not only does opening the curtains or blinds and turning the lights add to the visual impact of the home, it also conveys the feeling that you have nothing to conceal. If curtains or blinds are concealing a less than attractive view, then keep them partially closed and add lighting to the area if it’s too dark.
- Put on some background music but keep the volume down. Make sure its something soothing and fairly generic so it doesn’t call attention to itself but still creates a nice vibe.
We recommend that you do a run through before you have buyers tour your home. Don’t wait because that first week your home is listed is often the busiest.
With the right planning, you will be able to prepare your home in a way which will maximise the sale price. Whether it’s a combination of elbow grease or money spent on renovations, doing your research and then hiring a professional estate agent who understands your market will make the process easier and more rewarding, both personally and financially.