If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may also be considering what updates need to be made in order to increase the overall value of your home. Maybe you’ve spent time and money updating the interior of the house but the exterior is still in serious need of attention. Are there stains on the carpet or outdated wallpaper on the walls? Besides the kitchen and bathrooms, what are some other good remodeling projects to invest in before selling? Each house is different, and the decision to spend more time and money on fixing things also depends on the current condition of the market.
Nebraska is known nation-wide to have an affordable and healthy housing market. According to a national analysis by Redfin, Omaha homes are, on average, only on the market for about 10 days and usually receive at least two offers. Homes are very likely to sell around their listed price. However, even though it’s a hot seller’s market and you can probably get away with fewer fix-ups before selling, a home that needs a lot of repairs will deliver a lower price in any market. Buyers might not even bother to look at a home that needs too much major work done.
According to Kyle Rasmussen with Z Design Tile and Stone Showroom, if a homeowner is considering selling in the next 4–5 years and their home is out of date, they should strongly consider updating their home, specifically their kitchen and master bathroom. This will allow the homeowner to enjoy their renovation for a few years while increasing their chances for a quick sale and for a higher asking price.
“The three main areas a homeowner can update to attract more buyers are the master bathroom, kitchen, and living room fireplace,” Kyle informed us. “These are the focal points of the home and when updated are sure to excite any potential buyer. Tile plays a major role in both the kitchen and master bathroom so it should be updated to today’s standards. Geometric designs in smaller areas and large tile in open areas will help sell your house quick. If the homeowner is looking to sell their home in the near future and not dive into a big renovation, a fresh coast of neutral colored paint and a new kitchen backsplash will go a very long way.”
Z Design Tile and Stone was built to provide gorgeous tile, amazing service, and design assistance. They have interior designers on staff who will sit down with clients and take the time to help the them select the perfect combination of tile and the right tile layout for their space. This hands-on approach sets Z Design apart and allows the client to make educated decisions to help sell their home.
If you’re wanting to sell your house, getting a pre-inspection of your home before putting it on the market is a good idea. Normally, the buyers are the ones who set up formal inspections, but doing it beforehand can put you ahead of the game. For one, it automatically opens a gateway of trust between buyer and seller. You can foreclose all issues up front, repair them beforehand, and protect yourself from any potential claims your buyer may attempt to make later.
Most buyers want a home that’s in move-in ready condition. So after the inspection, it’s helpful to make a list of everything that’s defective, broken, or worn out. Smart sellers will then weigh the cost of the proposed improvements against the home’s market value after the repairs or upgrades are completed.
David Wetig from American National Bank gave us more insight on the matter: “As home values have been increasing over the past few years, more homeowners are considering the option of remodeling and making improvements to their current home. Some are doing it because they see it as being more cost effective compared to the cost of purchasing a new home in order to obtain the features they desire while others see it as a way to attract buyers and receive top dollar for a home they wish to sell. It’s currently a strong seller’s market, and buyers have been facing inventory challenges in certain price ranges. A seller that has made quality improvements and upgrades are typically experiencing high demand for their home and, in a lot of cases, receiving multiple offers. As a homeowner, careful consideration should be made regarding which improvements provide the best return on the investment and which would be considered more of a personal preference and may not lead to a higher resale value.”
David went into more detail about which aspects of the home should be first considered for remodeling.
“The first suggestion is remodeling the kitchen,” he said. “Since the kitchen is considered the heart of the home, upgrades in this area generally pay off. However, you don’t need to invest in a deluxe gourmet kitchen that doesn’t fit with the rest of the house. Fresh paint, energy-efficient appliances, granite countertops, new backsplash, and quality hardwood or tile flooring will make a big difference.”
“Another area that draws the attention of buyers are the bathrooms,” David continued. “If you only have one bathroom, it would be worth the money to add a second bathroom, if possible. Can you convert a closet or an area under the stairs to add a half-bath? When remodeling existing bathrooms, look to purchasing fixtures, sinks, and toilets on sale at major home improvement stores. The last area for consideration is the ability to reinvent a room to add more useable square footage for other needs a potential homeowner might have. This is much more cost effective in comparison to doing a new addition. Options might include finishing a basement, converting an attic into a bedroom or recreational room, or turning space above a garage into an apartment. Rooms that offer versatility have a greater appearance to potential buyers.”
Lastly, David provided a list of eight things to get done before putting your house on the market:
- Consider the curb appeal. It’s the first impression your home makes when a potential buyer pulls up to the house so make sure your yard looks neat and tidy.
- De-clutter living areas. If the home is cluttered, it automatically seems smaller to buyers which will make them question whether or not it will meet their needs.
- Depersonalize your space. You should remove all personal items, family photos, bold artwork, and any furniture that might be less appealing or a distraction so that potential buyers can visualize their own belongings in the home.
- Repaint walls to neutral colors. Bold accent walls may be your style, but it’s best to go with neutral colors when you prepare to sell.
- Touch up any scuff marks. Be sure to clean and touch up baseboards, walls, and doors to show your home is cared for.
- Fix any loose handles. Failure to pay attention to these small details can create uncertainty in a potential buyer.
- Conduct a smell test. Invite an unbiased third party to your home to try and detect any pet smells or lingering odors. If the smells are pervasive, prepare to do some deep cleaning.
- Clean, clean, clean. You want the home to look spotless.
American National Bank works with customers to determine the best method to help finance a homeowner’s renovations and improvements. They will look at the current value of the property and any debt owed to determine if a cash-out refinance or a home equity loan would provide the necessary funds to cover the costs of the improvements. Home equity loans give you the freedom to do everything from remodeling your kitchen to consolidating your bills. Their fixed-rate home equity loans mean low interest and affordable, predictable monthly payments. If equity is limited, there are renovation loan programs available to American National Bank customers that will take the anticipated value of the property after renovations into consideration. They provide experienced home loan originators to determine the product that will best fit their need.
As David mentioned, homebuyers pay extra attention to the quality of the bathrooms in a house. If your house doesn’t currently have a bathtub, that could be a deal breaker for a family with kids or homebuyers who are elderly or disabled. At Bath Fitter, they have a variety of options to fit any and all bathtub needs. With over 30 years experience, their team of experts will install an attractive and functional bathtub in as little as one day. Bath Fitter is able to avoid the mess and time of a traditional renovation by measuring, custom designing, and installing a new acrylic bathtub liner right over your old one. Unlike porcelain, fiberglass, or enamel surfaces, acrylic can be maintained and kept looking brand new with a simple buffing compound. Basically, Bath Fitter tubs last longer than traditional tubs. Also, because acrylic is colored all the way through, minor scratches won’t show as much and deeper ones can be buffed out, unlike in conventional materials.
Along with bathtub renovations, Bath Fitter can also do shower renovations and tub-to-shower conversions. They have a plethora of accessories, colors, and styles to make your bathtub or shower fit into whatever style you have going on in your bathroom.
Bathrooms are one of the key rooms in a home that should be repaired, remodeled, or added before selling. Having enough functional bathrooms should be the goal before listing your home.
“The quality of bathrooms in a home is important to potential buyers,” Lallenia Birge with Big Birge Plumbing confirmed. “One leaky faucet could deter an interested buyer. While it may not bother you, buyers are just seeing money towards a water bill dripping down the drain a dollar at a time. Recently, more and more people are looking into our water-saving options and efficient fixtures. We also have our eco-friendly, low-flow toilets. They help save money on water bills, and they’re a big selling point to buyers. At Big Birge Plumbing, we understand the importance of both budget-friendly and aesthetically pleasing bathroom options for people remodeling to sell. Lately, I’ve seen a big shift of people wanting energy-efficient yet high-performance toilets, sinks, and faucets in their bathrooms. They’re definitely a highlight on a house tour, especially if you’re able to compare your water bill from before and after the remodel. Some other simple fixes in the bathroom are re-grouting the tile, replacing caulk, and changing mirrors.”
Sometimes, a bathroom is just too outdated to work in your home. If you have a sleek, modern aesthetic all throughout your home, but your bathroom looks the same as it did when Reagan was in office, it’s probably time to invest in an update.
Big Birge Plumbing does all things plumbing for bathroom and kitchen remodels, and their team is known to take pride in their work, be prompt and efficient, and to leave your home as clean as they found it. This family-owned business can help you with your clogged toilets, drain cleaning, water heater repair, gas or water piping, and more. They provide clean, trustworthy plumbers who are licensed, bonded, and insured.
When it comes to plumbing, it’s best to let the professionals take care of the work. You might be tempted to figure a problem out yourself in order to save some money, but there is a reason it takes so much training and experience to be considered a master plumberman. You’ll likely end up spending more money if you go down the DIY path and the problem ends up getting worse because you didn’t completely know what you were doing. The same is true with it comes to electrical work. Not only can it be costly to not let a professional do the work, it can be dangerous. Dealing with wires and outlets is serious work. If you’re going to be doing a remodeling project, chances are there will be electrical work involved. Langer Electric provides excellent and affordable electrical service to clients in Omaha and the surrounding area. The company strives to have repeated good experiences with its customers. Owner Chris Langer has many years of experience, and it’s important to him to keep his services affordable.
Aside from overseeing the wiring and panel work during a project, Langer Electric also installs light fixtures. “LED lights, in my opinion, are a valuable addition to any home,” Chris shared with us. “They cut down your energy consumption by over 80% and add so much more light compared to incandescent lighting. Potential buyers will be impressed with this aspect of a house.”
Something both sellers and buyers need to keep in mind when either preparing a home for sale or looking at homes to buy is air flow efficiency. We spoke to Gunnar Guenette from Getzschman Heating to learn more about how a simple test can increase your resell value.
“At Getzschman Heating, we have our G-Verify system where we go out and essentially test all the airflow in your home,” he explained. “We make sure that the complete system is running at maximum efficiency. If it’s not, it’s best to get it fixed and add that as a plus of your home. Also, most people don’t realize that just replacing the furnace doesn’t always fix the problem. It’s best to know what’s actually going on with your airflow than to just make a guess based on what you read online. Just getting your home tested could increase your resell value since you and the buyer know for sure that your home’s heating and cooling systems aren’t costing you extra on utilities bills.”
“You’ll have to consider the age of the system,” Gunnar added. “After 10–15 years, your heating and air conditioning systems will definitely require major repairs. Potential homebuyers know this if they’ve done their research. To increase your chances of getting your desired asking price when it’s time to sell, make sure you’re updating your systems on schedule.”
Getzschman Heating is one of Nebraska’s premier heating and air conditioning repair and installation companies. They pride themselves on being a family business that has been locally owned and operated since its inception in 1960. They offer a 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee that they put in writing since, to Getzschman, no job is complete until the customer is absolutely satisfied. When you contact Getzschman, you’ll be able to talk to a real person, not a machine, to receive service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They give free estimates, day or night any day of the week, to make sure that you know exactly what’s going on with the repair or replacement process 100% of the time.
Another home system that requires routine maintenance is a septic tank. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, more than one in five households in the U.S. rely on septic systems. It can sometimes be off-putting for potential buyers who are unfamiliar with septic tanks. The best thing to do to prevent confusion and concern during the selling process is to make sure to regularly take care of your system while you’re living in the home and to perform a complete septic assessment before you sell. Aimee Hoffman, office manager at Midland Pumping Service, shared some more information with us.
“Well, to start, septic tanks should be routinely pumped every 3–5 years,” Aimee stated. “The frequency of pumps is determined by your household size, septic tank size, amount of waste generated, and other factors. If you don’t do these regular maintenance checks, you could end up spending thousands of dollars to repair or replace your malfunctioning system. Some banks won’t give mortgages to potential buyers if there are any issues with the septic system, so it could also limit your number of offers.”
“Other than the issue of selling, not following through with proper maintenance of your system could be a threat to you, your family, your neighbors, and the environment,” Aimee continued. “Improperly treated sewage has the potential to contaminate all nearby surface waters. Malfunctioning septic tanks release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals to local waterways. You can promote the health of your system by not flushing random items and chemicals, like paper towels, paints, coffee grounds, kitty litter, and dental floss. Basically no non-biodegradable products should be put into your septic system through drains or toilets.”
Another factor to consider, especially if your house has remodeling done or if you’re planning to remodel, is whether or not your septic tank is sized for your home.
Midland Pumping provides superior pumping services, which are always prompt and affordable. They offer free estimates, a knowledgeable staff, and more than 25 years of experience. Midland Pumping can help you with pumping and drain cleaning, grease trap systems, and septic tanks.
Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet is how profitable upgrading the electronics in your home can be. While many people believe that upgrading the technology of a home is not such a good idea because of how quickly it evolves, it’s actually the opposite if homeowners are smart about how they invest in it. Technology still develops quickly but definitely not as fast as it used to. So, if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next five years, a technological upgrade can boost your home value as much as 3–5%.
Doug Dushan from Echo Systems told us more about what electronic system upgrades can do for potential sellers.
“Technology has become a much more common expectation from buyers,” he stated. “Cleanliness and organization is just as important in this respect as it is in the fit and finish of the home. Having three remote controls on a coffee table doesn’t induce a picture of ease and comfort that potential buyers desire. Clients often come to us for advice on this when thinking of selling their home. Just as a homeowner would consult an interior designer, realtor, or furniture stager in the selling process so should clients consider contacting an electronic systems provider with an aesthetically minded focus.”
“When selling a home, the technology really sets the mood for the potential buyers,” added Doug. “Soft music, surround sound, and hidden technology is soothing and definitely a selling point. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the upgrade while you still live in the home! Distributed music, but particularly outdoor sound, has become an important feature in helping clients imagine a relaxed and pleasurable lifestyle as they survey their new potential home. Security features such as cameras can also be a powerful selling tool, as clients will envision how they and their family will feel safer in their new home. For some people, security systems are a must-have, and they’re willing to pay the price for their security and sense of well-being.”
Choosing the right home automation company is a crucial part of the upgrade. Buyers definitely notice the difference between the seamless integration of technology throughout the home and spotty and hard-to-operate technology. It’s important to have a team of professionals who you can trust to handle the demands of the project and, most importantly, exceed your expectations. That’s why Echo Systems believes no one should settle for sub-par service. They use technology to elevate your expectations of what a home can be. They provide only the most exceptional support and system solutions. They make sure every design, installation, and application of technology in your home is the best it can be within your budget.
While the structure and internal functions of a home are going to be where the major value is derived, the exterior of a home shouldn’t be overlooked. First impressions mean a lot when the market is this fast paced. Smart sellers want buyers to fall in love with the home before they even step inside.
“Though it can be one of the more costly remodeling undertakings, replacing old siding will attract more potential buyers,” Darren Johnson from Exterior Options told us. The siding is the most noticeable part of your home from the street. When trying to sell, neutral choices normally do the best. Just changing your house from a blue to a grey can make the price point jump up. Whenever you choose to add something to the home, make sure it appeals to as many buyers as possible. Renovations that nobody likes won’t add any value to the home. Next, I normally say look at the gutters and the roof. Those areas are what people will look at in terms of how recently they’ve been updated since they can bear the brunt of the negative consequences of an old, leaky roof.”
“A trend I’ve seen is that people are leaning towards energy efficient windows,” Darren added. “People are always looking to lower their heating and air conditioning costs, and new windows can pay themselves off over time. At Exterior Options, we specialize in double hung windows, bay windows, picture windows, palladian windows, and French doors.”
Exterior Options has been making homes look great in the Omaha area since 2003. They specialize in siding, windows, doors, decks, gutters, fences, hail damage repair, and more. They always work to improve the exterior of your home by executing your project with quality products, expertise, and top-notch customer service.
Even though Omaha is currently a strong seller’s market, there are still many improvements and remodeling projects you can carry out to ensure you get top dollar for your home. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local experts who are committed to getting your home in the best condition before it hits the market.