Many sellers we talk to have spent time and money on projects that buyers don’t find valuable and are understandably frustrated when they learn that money is essentially wasted. If you’re considering selling your home in Austin and want to sell it for the most money, you probably want to know which projects will generate the highest ROI. The ironic part is most of the improvements buyers will pay more for are generally not terribly expensive. Some take time and others are messy, but the highest ROI projects are something many people can do themselves. Here are 10 low cost projects that increase home values to get you started preparing your home to sell.
#1 Bring in Light – Fixtures, Light Bulbs, Sun Tubes
Light is extremely important to home buyers. The brighter you can make your house seem, whether that be with high wattage light bulbs, more fixtures or sun tubes, the more money your house will be worth. We always recommend replacing low wattage light bulbs with the highest wattage bulbs the fixture will take and adding lighting to dark areas. Sun tubes are a great way to naturally brighten dark areas for a much lower cost than a skylight.
#2 Replace Your Front Door
Front doors have one of the highest return on investments in terms of replacements, especially if your home’s style lends itself to a more modern looking door. Many home buyers spend some time standing on the front porch waiting for their buyer’s agent to open the door. An appealing front door gets them more excited for what’s inside. It also does wonders to improving your home’s curb appeal.
#3 Clean Up the Yard
The yard is the first thing buyers see when they pull up to your home. Cleaning up overgrown landscaping, cleaning up with pressure washing your driveway, planting colorful flowers, laying mulch and keeping the lawn cut are all easy and inexpensive things you can do to get buyers excited for what they might find inside. Home owners who neglect their yards will get buyers who want to lowball their offer, no matter how nice the inside is. Buyers can’t get their heads around paying top dollar for a home that doesn’t have an attractive curb appeal. Don’t give them an excuse to do so!
#4 Replace Dated Fixtures, Fluorescent Lighting, Fans and Faucets
Fixtures, faucets and fluorescent lighting can make an otherwise updated house look dated. Even if nothing else needs to be done to the house to update it, home buyers will still see the house as a Grandma special if the fans, fixtures and faucets are dated. You can get a decent fan for $100-$150, bathroom faucets usually run anywhere from $50-$100 and kitchen faucets usually $75-$200. If you don’t have the money or inclination to do a full remodel, replacing dated faucets and fixtures will give the illusion of an update at a fraction of the cost.
#5 Replace Old Appliances and Cabinet Hardware
Appliances, especially if mismatched, can make an otherwise acceptable kitchen look dated. Replacing old appliances with a stainless steel set will generate a return on your investment. Refurbished appliances are ok for most homes and are a good option if you’re looking to save money. If you have a more expensive home, you might want to consider a higher quality appliance.
Have handles on your cabinets? Are they modern looking or dated? If they’re dated, you might consider replacing existing hardware for a more modern look. If you have a drill or electric screwdriver, you can complete this pretty inexpensively in an afternoon.
#6 Open Up a Wall
Open floor plans are all the rage right now. But, so is being centrally located. The catch 22 is most open floor plans are found in newer homes, which are located outside the city. Home buyers looking in areas that have established homes still have a dream of having an open floor plan and some will put off their home search until they find one. If your kitchen lends itself to opening up a wall to make it open to the living area, it is usually worth the money to do so, provided you don’t have to rearrange the appliances or engineer new support walls. Anywhere you can open up a wall in public areas, it generally makes sense from an ROI standpoint to do so.
#7 Add Home Automation
Buyers love technology. It doesn’t matter if they need to be able to key into their front door, adjust the thermostat from their smart phones or monitor security cameras on their iPads, they think it is cool and they will pay more for a home that has it. Home automation is relatively inexpensive and though it won’t sell your house if it is the only thing you do, it will if you spend some time fixing up the rest of the house to match.
#8 Get Rid of Carpet
Because Austin is such a high allergy city, home buyers are especially sensitive to carpet and surfaces that hold allergens. Many of them prefer no carpet, and will pay more for a house that has all hard surface flooring. If you have to replace the carpet anyway, consider installing either wood, laminate or tile floors and you’ll attract more buyers. Carpet cleaning may be a good solution if you decided to keep your carpet for a while.
#9 Remove Popcorn Ceilings
Popcorn ceilings really date a house and are one of the easiest and inexpensive items to address. Buyers see popcorn ceilings and often have no idea how easy it is to remove. All they see is something they don’t like and have to pay someone to remove. The cost of the material is less than $100 and though it is a mess, it is not difficult to do.
#10 Get a Pre-Sale Home Inspection
A pre-sale home inspection has a higher return on your investment if you are handy as you’ll be able to fix a lot of what the inspector finds for the cost of the materials. The more items that can be fixed, the less room a buyer will have to re-negotiate during the option period, which means more money in your pocket. For example, caulk, leaky faucets, missing flashing are some of the most common items found in an inspection. These items all cost less than $20 in materials to repair and a couple hundred if you have to get a handyman to fix them. A home inspection costs anywhere between $300-$500 and will save you much more than that for the cost of the repairs you can complete before you find a buyer. Pre-sale inspections are also a great risk reduction tool for sellers as it helps you disclose the condition of the property.
Need a More Personalized List of Projects Specific to Your Austin Home?
One of our Austin home selling specialists would be happy to come out and assess your home. Based upon where you home is located, what type of buyer it might make sense to target and how aggressive you want to be with pricing, we’ll generate a personalized list of projects that will help you get the most money for your home. This is a free assessment we provide to home sellers to help them prepare their homes to sell for top dollar, no matter how early in the process they are. Simply call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
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