Sellers: Remodeling for Resale

Here are some resale tips if you are thinking about remodeling—whether you are planning on selling this year or in 10 years. 

  • Kitchens: Don't install Granite or Quartz countertops on 1980's or older cabinets. Even if you add new cabinet hardware, it is a sure sign of a quick but incomplete update to buyers and is not viewed favorably.  If you don’t want to replace cabinets—consider refacing or a high quality paint job.
     
  • Kitchen Cabinets. Install new kitchen cabinets to the ceiling, today's buyers want the utility of the extra storage 42" cabinets provide.
     
  • Bathrooms: Dated ceramic tile and bathroom fixtures need more than today's paint colors and new bath rugs in buyers eyes. If you want to remove a blah tub and make a killer master shower – go ahead.  It decreases your "home stats by reducing the bathroom from full to 3/4" but many buyers prefer a the functionality of a very nice shower.
     
  • Paint Color: Choose wall colors that let home buyers overlay their style. Strong commitment colors can block buyers from seeing themselves in your space.  Builder beige is a good choice because it is warm and neutral.  White trim & baseboard makes it pop. I can refer you to a great Color Consultant if you need help with this.
     
  • Floor Stain Colors: Choose light to medium stain colors when refinishing or installing hardwood floors. Black might be in, but is expensive to lighten later. If you go with Black or Esspresso – then make sure you have light colors for cabinets and/or counters so the rooms are not too dark.
     
  • Other Flooring. Parquet and laminate floors might be a quick fix, but you'll pay later with low buyer perceptions of these products. Also think carefully about trendy flooring options.
     
  • Wallpaper.  Avoid it!  If you must have it, remember to size walls before applying wallpaper, so it is easier to remove. Home buyers shy away from homes that have any more than one room of wallpaper. Also make sure you pick a neutral pattern—anything personalized can be a real turn off. Ditto on wallpaper borders.
     
  • Room Conversions. Think twice before converting third or fourth bedroom to a master bath or a really large room. The majority of home buyers would rather have the flexibility of an extra room.
     
  • Garage Conversions. It generally isn’t a positive to convert your garage to a living space.  People really like having a garage and the living space remodel is usually cold and/or awkward.
     
  • Adding vs. Finishing Space. Buyers choose homes with first floor family rooms over basement recreation rooms. Compare costs of adding on to the first floor versus building out basement space.
     
  • Storage & Location. Include generous walk-in closets, pull-out shelving, closet organizers, pantries and laundries near bedrooms. Buyers may walk away from a home that can't handle their belongings. Storage is a real selling point!
     
  • Pools. Consider that buyers may see your in-ground swimming pool as a negative in cold climates and are concerned about the cost, time to maintain & potential hazzard for small children.  If you install one—keep that in mind and minimize those issues.
     
  • Sports Courts. If possible make them flexible and not focused on a single sport —tennis & basketball.  Again—this is not a feature that will be valued by all buyers, especially if you don’t have much yard in addition to the sports court area.
     
  • Consistency. Keep finishes and proportions of new rooms similar to existing spaces. The huge new living room with crown molding next to the old galley kitchen with metal cabinets screams poor remodeling planning.
     
  • Unique Features. Spiral staircases might solve space limitations; buyers might stay away from a home with one, or discount your price to add a full-size staircase. In a slow market—unique features are typically not a good thing.
     
  • Things to get rid of when you remodel. Textured walls and popcorn ceilings are a common turn-off for buyers.
     
  • Energy Efficiency is a plus, especially with older homes.  Consider upgrading old windows, old furnaces, old water heaters, appliances, lighting, etc.