Freedom is a big part of being a homeowner as you can transform your space, indoors and out, as you please. What’s more, there is inspiration to be found everywhere!
Projects around the house can be planned and executed for any number of reasons. With the real estate market still going strong, one of the prime goals for many homeowners is getting their house ready to list for sale.
While many remodeling efforts are done with a new look, better function and personal enjoyment in mind, resell remodeling is all about the things that need to be done to get your home sold. This of course varies for each home, but there are some good rules of thumb as far as projects that provide a better return on investment than others.
First, you’ll want to assess anything that appears dated. If there’s wallpaper, you’ll probably benefit from getting rid of it. Fixtures are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace, such as lighting, outlets, handles and knobs, etc. For resell remodeling, it’s mainly about the little things you can do at a reasonable cost that will make the biggest impact.
A fresh coat of paint is one of the less expensive ways to freshen up the look of the home’s interior when you’re getting it ready to list and show, so it’s almost a given to get a home ready to list. Backsplash tiling is another great example of a way to incorporate color that can be easily adjusted, of course not as much as paint, and also serves the purpose of transforming the look of a house.
New finishes of any kind are going to be attractive to buyers. While some projects you can easily tack DIY (Do It Yourself) style, others are best left up to the professionals. Either way, the materials you pick will largely determine the cost of the project.
With the reputation of being a specialty store without the specialty prices, you can achieve a stunning look while staying within just about any budget you’re working with by getting your materials at Ceramic Tileworks Center. “We offer over 250,000 feet of inventory to choose from, all available for purchase at our location, so you won’t have to order and wait,” says Jason Tidblom with Ceramic Tileworks Center. “A lot of times resell remodeling projects need to be completed in a short window of time, so that convenience factor is valuable in this particular scenario. We take a consultative approach to working with clients, so our experienced staff will be able to offer a host of targeted options to choose from depending on your specifications, whether it’s tile or countertops. You can also pick up any other supplies you’ll need such as underlayments, mortars, grouts and caulks—with all of the materials in-hand when you walk out of the door, it will save you valuable time that you can put towards getting the project done.”
While the little things do make a big difference, always deal with the major issues first. If you are already aware of the outcome of an inspection, which will happen down the line, you may as well address the issue right away to avoid anything that would put the sale at risk. You’ll want to address anything that would be a major turn-off too. If there’s a permeating odor, you’ll probably be looking at replacing the carpet or you may even want to have your air ducts cleaned out. As you’re the one living in the home you may not be the best judge of these things, so get someone else’s outside opinion and take it to heart.
Cleanliness is key, particularly with respect to staging the home. You’ll want to attend to every little detail, from cleaning the windows and dusting the sills to cleaning around the floorboards and inside all of your cabinetry. Similar to having a car detailed prior to selling it, hiring a cleaning company will ensure a thorough, professional job is done, so if it’s in your budget it’s definitely worth it. Decluttering is also important, and along with creating an open and inviting space, you’ll also want to eliminate any personal touches—it’s imperative that the potential buyer seeing themselves living in the home.
Hardwood floors remain very popular and sought after, but if you have them, you’ll want to make sure they are looking their best. Also, if you’re looking at replacing the carpet in an older home, you may find a hidden gem in the flooring underneath!
“For homes with any existing wood flooring, your Realtor may suggest that the floors be refinished before putting it on the market,” advises Dan Rhedin with Heartland Wood Floors. “For floors that show obvious wear, especially around where stools, tables and chairs are placed or in any high traffic areas, they’ll most likely need to be sanded before putting the home on the market. As far as condition goes, many floors fall in between too far gone and possible acceptable to sell the home. We can help evaluate whether it needs to be sanded completely or just recoated. Sometimes you may want to sand just to update the color, especially if the old finish has given the floor a yellowish, golden look.
For the seller, depending on the condition of the flooring, we suggest waiting to see what the comments are like from potential buyers. With the current seller’s market, it is easier to take a chance on not sanding the floors before listing. Also, sometimes the seller can use the estimate price to negotiate the sale of the home, thus having the new owner get the work done. The new owner is then able to customize their color at that time as an added benefit. Buyers generally want options, so having information on refinishing can be helpful for them.”
While there are many things that are obvious to address, there may be some things that you wouldn’t be able to tell either way unless they were obviously not working without having them checked out by a professional. For sellers, getting a home inspection performed prior to when a buyer decides to move forward and initiates one can be very revealing as to what you’d want to address before you list, and also with identifying the hierarchy of what’s most important. Here’s what you need to know about home inspections:
- Do your homework. Inspection companies are not all the same. Talk to them and ask them what they cover. Understand their fee structures, what they do and don’t test, extra charges you may incur, etc. Also ask about credentials and experience to get a feel for their competency and skill level.
- Are you talking to the actual person who will be doing the inspection or will it be another employee? Are they willing to meet with you in person at the conclusion of the inspection to discuss the findings and answer your questions? Is it a locally owned and operated company or a national franchise? If it’s the latter, do they have local references for you to contact?
- Ask about any warranty that the home inspector offers covering their specific services. A home inspection is NOT a home warranty. Those are available for a homeowner to purchase, and are generally a good idea.
- Understand that a home inspection is simply a visual review of the various systems in a house. It is not an in-depth, invasive analysis of the home. Your home inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. They are not an electrician, a structural engineer, a plumber, etc. Their role is to identify areas of concern and either recommend repairs or additional in-depth analysis of a particular area.
- An inspector cannot, with certainty, determine how old a water stain is, how old termite damage is, how long a pipe has been corroded, or predict the service life left in an appliance or shingle. They can give you estimates and averages, and that is what you should take them for. Estimates. Averages. Not guarantees.
- Radon testing is becoming more common as there is a lot of radon in southeast Nebraska and it is proven to cause lung cancer. The only way to know if your house has it is to measure for it. You can have very low radon levels while the house next door can be off the charts. If your house is high, lowering it is a priority.
- If the house has been vacant a while, rubber seals in stools, dishwashers, and faucets may begin to drip or leak after being pressed back into service. A roof that appears fine may leak, and your inspector may not be able to detect that in dry weather. Again, your home inspector cannot look behind walls, inside of pipes or water heaters, scope sewer lines, etc. Those are specialized inspections that your home inspector may recommend if they suspect a problem, or you can also elect to have those done upon request.
Regarding hidden issues that will eventually come to light, Marcus Hellwege with Great Plains Landscaping and Great Plains Epoxy advises, “Water drainage issues from the past are a major red flag that no one wants to deal with, let alone right after purchasing a home. Many times an effort has been made to try and hide these issues by installing new carpet, drywall, and painting over areas that might be rotted. The first areas that I always check for drainage problems are:
- How many times does the sump pump go off?
- Are there any cracks in the foundation or basement floor?
- Has water got in through windows, low areas or caused hydro pressure on the walls?
- Is there a spring or high water table causing flooding?
- Do the gutters have problems, from being full of junk to not having enough downspouts?
- Does soil need to be added around the foundation to push away water that settles along the foundation?
Luckily, there are a number of ways to solve these types of issues, but some are more costly and take more time than others. This might include adding soil along the foundation or installing larger gutters, drainage tile, French drain, rain gardens, interior drain tile or adding sump pumps. Directing the flow of water away from the house is key!”
As far as features of the home that he’s found to be more attractive to potential buyers, Hellwege adds, “While it’s a largely still a seller’s market, the trend with current home buyers is that they still want everything new or as close to that as possible.
As previously mentioned, flooring is a very popular project to take on specifically to help sell a home. When it comes to choosing the flooring you’re going to have installed, there are many options that are worth exploring and ones you may not even be aware exist! Epoxy flooring for garages and lava flow or flake in basements, patios and concrete floor areas are the most popular as far as residential applications, and with good reason. Epoxy can be less expensive than tile and sometimes even carpet. It is also easy to clean, very durable, and requires low maintenance. We can give those tired floors a new look!
From a landscaping perspective, buyers want clean planting beds without a lot of clutter and a new palette to work with once they are the homeowners. Easy maintenance is attractive too, particularly for those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands, which is a significant percentage of the population these days.
No matter what type of remodeling project you’re considering, be careful in who you hire and get at least 3 bids. Ask a lot of questions and do not go with the cheapest price; instead, opt for the best design and plan when hiring out work to help renovate or sell a house.
From landscaping and tree trimming to epoxy and correcting drainage issues—all of the little things matter.”
Your property and its curb appeal is what will make the first impression on a potential buyer, so it only makes sense that it’s just as important to address as anything inside of the home. You’ll want to clean out flower beds, trim the bushes and trees, fix any peeling paint or damaged fencing, keep your lawn cut and edged, get rid of any leaves or debris that have settled into areas of your property, seal cracks in the driveway, replace broken sections of sidewalks, and so on. Adding a pop of color with flowers or freshening up the plant beds with new mulch can really transform the look of a yard without making a major investment. This also might include ensuring that doors open and close correctly, garage door rollers are lubricated and openers operate correctly, drains clear well, gutters are clean and spikes aren’t loose, and the seals around sewer vent stacks are in good condition. Hiring a handyman to go over your house and fix all of the little things shows a potential buyer you have cared for the home. The saying holds true: You only get one shot at a first impression.
If you do decide to take on a major outdoor project that’s deemed necessary to sell your home, it’s crucial to know exactly where your property lines are. You may be in a rush to get the project done, but keep in mind that it will be a major, potentially costly, setback in the long run.
“Knowing where your boundaries are on any lot will not only help you assess your landscaping projects accurately, but it will also give you the peace of mind that you are only improving upon your own property and not your neighbor’s by accident,” advises Toni Montana, owner of Land Survey Inc. “Furthermore, making sure that the property is properly surveyed is a major advantage to any seller, because the information can easily be presented to buyers so that they know exactly what they are buying.”
Above all, keep the big picture in mind with any improvements you do to your home. While you may be living there for a number of years, it likely won’t be forever; eventually it will come time to sell. Personal tastes do vary a great deal, but it’s wise to express that in ways that can be adjusted to a more universally-pleasing look when the time comes. When weighing out the pros and cons, your best bet is to get outside opinions directly from the professionals.
Finally as one last piece of advice, homeowners who remodel without considering that value of the other homes in the neighborhood can find themselves in a bad position later on down the line. Be very careful on overspending and then getting stuck with a home that’s not priced comparatively as this can be a disadvantage when it comes time to sell.
With so many different ways to improve your home in order to make it more attractive to potential buyers, it’s important to target your efforts towards what will provide the best return on investment. When all is said and done, the best feeling ever is seeing the SOLD sign in your yard as a direct result of your resell remodeling efforts!