With the spring selling season in full swing, now is the time for clients to improve their home and make it more appealing to potential buyers, even if they don’t plan to put it on the market right away.
Where to start? Peter Chovanes, a Realtor® with Van Guard Properties in San Francisco, advises clients to start with the four home improvement basics: foundation, roof, plumbing and electrical.
Of these, the roof is most important.
“I am almost always asked ‘How old is the roof?'” he says. “And keeping the roof in good shape alleviates other problems. For example, water can run laterally, and once a leak starts it can follow plumbing and even electrical conduits. So what you think is a plumbing leak might really be a hole in the roof.”
Fix-up steps with an eye toward selling one day
Repair: First take a good look at the state of the home, inside and out. Fix the obvious areas that need maintenance.
De-clutter: Find ways to store odds-and-ends in containers and cabinets, or donate belongings to charity.
Lighten up: Brighter, light-filled rooms are more appealing and make a house feel more spacious. Consider replacing heavy drapes with shutters, shades or blinds.
Add eco value: Replace old windows with energy-efficient versions to reduce home energy costs and add value.
Update: Water heaters, furnaces and toilets are also good to update for energy and water conservation, though newer ones probably won’t add significantly to the home’s value.
Refinish: If wood floors are looking tired, refinish them. Replace worn carpeting where possible.
Kitchen cleanup: The kitchen is an obvious focal point for buyers. Consider a light upgrade in the kitchen by replacing the sink or replacing cabinets. If you’re planning to replace counters, try solid surface quartz-based materials, which have become the popular alternative to granite.
Better bathrooms: Bathrooms are typically less expensive to remodel than kitchens, so there is more potential for a return on the investment. Buyers frequently request double vanities and a walk-in shower, so consider upgrading accordingly.
Remodel: It’s usually more cost-effective to remodel attics and basements than to add entirely new rooms.
Spruce up: Add curb appeal by weeding and sprucing up the garden with low maintenance, drought-tolerant plantings – also called xeriscaping. Giving the front door a new coat of paint is a low cost way to add curb appeal.