When we’re fixing up our home with selling it in mind, return on investment is the top priority. We’re not necessarily making the changes we’d want for our family. Instead, we focus on upgrades that will impact buyers and allow us to raise the listing price. Of course, the picture is different in a hot seller’s market. There’s no need to go nuts on improvements when you’re looking for a fast turnaround. However, even in a high-demand, low inventory region like Northern Virginia, we can boost buyer perception and bump our asking price with just a few minor tweaks. As we slide into fall after a sizzling hot summer, inventory is starting to creep up, so your seller’s agent may recommend a few improvements.
In A Hot Market: Refresh, Don’t Renovate
When we’re planning to list our home, our first consideration should be the cost of the improvements compared with what they will bring to resale value. In the current market, it’s usually not worth it to make expensive and time-consuming upgrades like a complete kitchen remodel or new siding. However, impactful yet inexpensive improvements can make your home more appealing to buyers and give the sales price a bump. We can refresh several areas of our home without spending a fortune. Here are a few low-cost improvements experts often recommend:
- Paint interior walls for a clean look. Today’s trendy colors can make your rooms look fresher and more appealing.
- Organize clutter and clean closets. It creates an atmosphere of tidiness and order and provides an excellent opportunity to purge before you move.
- Replace worn or dirty carpeting. You don’t have to select a high-end carpet for resale–just something to give the room a fresh, clean look.
- Refinish your hardwood if heavily scuffed or damaged.
- Touch up your landscaping with seasonal flowers for a touch of color. Keep up with mowing, mulching, and weeding to boost curb appeal.
- Replace an old, worn front door with a bright new steel or fiberglass model. The entryway is the access point to your home and a significant psychological selling point for buyers.
- Refresh your kitchen. You don’t have to do a complete remodel–just a few upgrades for a new look. Paint the walls, baseboards, and cabinets if appropriate. If your appliances are old and outdated, consider a lower-end set of stainless appliances from a big box store for a more modern look. Clean and repair countertops if needed.
- Refresh the bathrooms. Paint the walls and replace shower fixtures, shower curtain, vanity, and light fixtures for a clean, contemporary look.
- Update or upgrade light fixtures throughout the house to put each room in the best light.
What Upgrades Should I Avoid In A Seller’s Market?
In a seller’s market, the rule of thumb is simple: don’t do it if you won’t get back what you spend on improvements. Time is also a factor. Take advantage of the hot market instead of embarking on time-consuming renovations.
- New roofing and siding can offer a significant return on investment in a buyer’s market. However, it’s a big-ticket upgrade and takes time. If you want to sell quickly, it’s not necessarily worth the expense when sellers are calling the shots.
- A finished basement is a perk–not a necessity. Let the new owners take this on if they wish.
- A full kitchen remodel is another pricey upgrade that can offer a terrific ROI in a buyer’s market. But it’s probably not worth the money or the time in the current climate.
- If your house is a true fixer-upper with lots of issues, bring the price down just a little and sell as-is. Fixer-uppers aren’t for everyone. But there are always buyers who are ready to take on a project for a lower price.
Selling In A Hot Market: Ask Your Agent About Upgrades
In today’s real estate landscape, buyers are willing to take risks and accept flaws to snag a home in a desirable location. We’re still seeing plenty of cash offers, no contingency sales, and sellers dictating the terms, including no negotiations for repairs after a home inspection. The as-is sale is still trending. That said, we’ve also seen sellers bump up listing prices by significant margins after making just a few minor upgrades.
The best approach is to talk to your agent before you decide on repairs and upgrades. Yvonne Holland knows the lay of the land in Loudoun and Northern Virginia like nobody else. She has a solid sense of the market and is always up to date on comparable listings. As a certified stager, Yvonne is able to look at the big picture and make trusted recommendations about what you do – or do not – need to do. Yvonne takes the time to get to know each home she lists and has constructive comments about upgrades or tweaks that can create a competitive advantage for her clients.