Musings from a life of chances and changes
Trends come and go, but which one will increase the value of your home? In 2016, one of the most widely used trends has been sliding barn doors. As much as I'm a fan of remodeler/designers and stars of Fixer Upper on HGTV Chip and Joanna Gaines, in most of our homes, a barn door just looks out of place. Yes, I know that it is space saving to use a sliding door, but pocket doors have done the trick for years. Installing barn doors with heavy duty hardware as a design statement opening into bathrooms, dens, bedrooms, and playrooms is overdone. This trend's time will pass and, as with most trends, the barn doors will have us saying, "what was I thinking?"
Yet, a trend is a trend because it is embraced by the masses. Numerous trends qualify to make your home more valuable. According to BUILDER, here are the trends most homeowners demand today:
So what do you focus on when you want to add value to your home? First, know your budget when thinking about bringing your home into the 21st century. Many homeowners need less trendy and less costly upgrades. Here is a list of 10 ways to increase the price of your home:
1. Clean and Declutter. No doubt a bit of power washing on the exterior and deck of your home will help buyers see that you are maintaining your home. It goes without saying that every nook and cranny needs to be free of dust, bugs, and clutter. Look at removing items from every closet, but also all those darling collectibles on open shelves, Grandma's furniture that you should have parted with long ago, or the family pictures taking up every conceivable open table or wall. Old items make your house look...well, old. If you are able to hire a professional organizer, it will make the job easier. One of my favorite people owns a business that has organized homes for years. Look at this website and treat yourself to someone who will get your home in great shape without the headaches! http://www.moreganized.net.
2. Paint. Yes, you've heard it a million times, but hearing it and doing it are completely different. You may be in love with your red dining room, but buyers will have a reaction, and you want the most positive reaction possible. It's easy to imagine the colors that will earn you a safe return on your investment. Professionals agree that it is a risk to select a paint color other than neutrals. Color trends change every year. In 2017 Pantone declared "greenery" to be the color of the year. https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2017 If you are going to use this trendy color, I suggest you use it sparingly. Why not make it less permanent and just buy a plant. Also, discover the value that paint accompishes in other ways. Refinishing furniture is a great way to change a tired look into a new and improved version. When buyers see a well-furnished home, they can imagine living there more easily. See some great examples from a friend in the business of revitalizing outdated furniture. www.facebook.com/DStressed.
3. Backsplash. It is a simple addition to your kitchen that offers a value added punch. But be careful with the backsplash type or design. Zillow digs found that homes listed for sale with subway tile sold for 6.9 percent higher than the expected sales price. It's crazy to think that something so simple could add so much value. Clearly, this is a worthwhile update.
4. Kitchen Cabinets. Cabinet remodeling is a more costly update. That is true if you tear out your existing cabinets to replace them. If your cabinets are worn or antiquated in design, I recommend that you explore the cost of changing out the cabinet fronts and keeping the actual cabinet box. In the alternative, if the cabinets are in good condition and in a current design, you can refresh them by refinishing or painting them to give your kitchen a new look. Of course, replacing old cabinet hardware is important too. Again, I want to stress the design aesthetic. The refurbished cabinets need to fit into the rest of your home decor. Just think about the fact that a cabinet remodel can bring a 9.6 percent increase in your home sales price.
5. Bathroom Cabinets. Consider the same reasoning regarding a new vanity for your bathroom. Buyers are particularly sensitive to bathrooms that aren't just vintage, but obsolete. It makes sense to modernize a bathroom vanity as numerous selections exist within a reasonable budget. If any of the other fixtures are non-working, replace them. If not, the sales price will be discounted for obvious flaws, but you could also lose buyers who just don't want to deal with a bad bathroom.
6. Fireplace. Whether it is gas or wood burning, buyers covet a functioning fireplace and will pay more for a home with this focal point. Keep it in good repair and treat it to a design facelift. It will also score points with buyers when they compare homes.
7. Kitchen Appliances. If any kitchen appliances need to be replaced, you will either have to do so or give a credit to the buyers. This is certainly a higher priced category when selling your real estate, but you may find that the risk is low considering the reward. Whether you need high-end named appliances depends on the price point of your home.
8. Landscaping. Do not forget the importance of curb appeal. Overgrown or poorly maintained landscaping has an impact on the first impression of your home. It is not necessary for you to rip out everything. It is necessary to remove anything dead. You may not have to replace the plants removed, but that depends on whether the empty space looks too open or unattractive. It may just be a relief to see the dead plants go. Trimming back bushes and trees will also serve to make your house look clean and maintained. The way you "stage" the exterior of your home can make the difference of a buyer walking in the front door or walking down the block.
9. Front Door and Exterior Lighting. One of the most obvious and neglected features of your home is your front door. It may need a fresh coat of paint or stain. It may just need to be cleaned. It is easy to make it visually appealing. Look at the lighting next to the front door. It may be as simple as replacing light bulbs, or you can bump up its appeal with new light fixtures if they are outdated. When you select outdoor lighting it is important to match the design style of your home? Imagine a colonial home or a spIit level with Prairie/Arts and Crafts style lighting. It's just...wrong. If you're selling in the winter, you still need to increase value and stage the outside of your home. If nothing else is possible, place some attractive planters next to the front door.
10. Smart Doorbell. Is there such a thing as a smart doorbell? Considering that it is relatively inexpensive, provides video and audio of people at your door, and functions as a security measure wirelessly, I'd say that's pretty smart! Statiscally, most buyers will replace the front door bell because it is often broken. Why not show your intelligence and provide the most updated door bell?
Popular trends tend to show buyers you are keeping your house up-to-date. But keeping current is costly and may not meet your needs or fit the buyers' taste. Don't risk putting in that sliding barn door just to look trendy. You may find that buyers are sick of it and are on to the next fad. I'm about to begin a much-needed update on my home. It was last renovated 22 years ago. I will keep you posted on my progress. I would love to hear about some ways you are updating your home!
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Judi Berger is an attorney and real estate broker who is blogging as she begins a new chapter in her life.