The housing market is slowly returning to life, and that means homeowners looking to sell are presented with the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the wait. Don’t unload your property in a down market – improve the value of your investment to increase your return when the market’s recovered.
In short – pimp your crib. Take this time to improve your home in the right ways and the market will reward your patience. That said, don’t just throw in a pool and expand the garage. This is a time for strategic crib pimping, not a time for creating a money pit.
Here are five home improvements that will make your property into prime real estate when the time is right.
Remodel the Kitchen
Just don’t go overboard. The folks at HGTV estimate you’ll recoup from 60 to 120 percent of your investment, and that investment doesn’t have to break the bank to look good. In fact, the opposite is in order – buyers want you to be conservative.
A fresh look is great, but it shouldn’t make the kitchen seem alien when compared with the rest of the house. You can make it bigger, just don’t let it take over. Keep it simple with some fresh, modern paint and new, Energy Star appliances. With the Energy Star Rebate Finder, you can even save some money in the process.
Add or Improve a Bathroom
If your house only has one bathroom, add one. With HGTV estimating a recoup of 80 to 130 percent of the cost to add a second, there’s little chance you’ll have anything to lose. You might gain a bit of heft in your asking price, though, and the home’s future residents will gain a second bathroom. They’ll be as happy as you are with this decision.
That said, you shouldn’t neglect that first bathroom. In fact, you shouldn’t neglect any bathrooms. A set of clean, modern bathrooms will make a positive impression on everyone who tours the home. An old bathroom with a broken toilet, on the other hand, leaves a different kind of impression.
Improving the energy efficiency of a home is a sound investment in its worth to potential buyers. Efficiency upgrades are a fact of life in our evolving world, and the less a new owner has to do to bring their home up to par, the better.
You can start with Energy Star windows. HGTV estimates that you’ll recoup 60 to 90 percent of the $7,500 to $10,000 cost of replacing the windows in an average-sized home. The upgrade will also qualify you for a 10% green energy tax credit and potentially even more credits depending upon your state.
If you’re looking for a smaller investment in the home’s efficiency, look to its insulation. Most of a home’s energy is used in the heating and cooling of the interior, and investing in a thermal leak detector can show you exactly where you’re losing money.
If you really want to impress energy-conscious buyers, take it a step further and invest in a new, high-efficiency water heater and Energy Star qualified heating and cooling equipment – most buyers are well aware of just how important these upgrades are to an energy bill.
Go Greener with a Home Rainwater System
Home rainwater collection systems are becoming increasingly popular as the costs of the utility rise. These systems can be as simple or as complicated as you can imagine, and the extent to which a family would wish to rely upon one is completely up to them to determine.
For example, if you have a large property that requires lots of water, a rainwater collection system can be paired with an automatic sprinkler system to ease the burden that lawn care places upon your utility bill. More importantly, it can prevent potential buyers from worrying about the burden it will place on theirs.
Best of all, even the maintenance concerns of such a system are put at ease by the advanced flow capabilities of modern valves. Both you and the potential buyers can rest assured that contemporary systems like these require very little cost or effort to maintain.
It’s the Simple Things
In the end it’s the simple things that matter most – the simple things, and keeping it simple. New home buyers simply don’t want to take on the costs of caring for a pool or a hot tub. They don’t want to take on the responsibility of extensive landscaping, and they don’t want to feel obligated to use the gourmet stove that added thousands to the cost of the home.
Neither do buyers want to take on the responsibility of putting a new coat of paint on a worn wall. They don’t want to hire a plumber to fix the irregular water pressure, they don’t want to hire an electrician to rewire that ceiling fan you bungled and they certainly don’t want to replace a leaking and moldy roof.
They want a home – that’s why they’re home buyers. When you’re dreaming up new improvement projects to increase the value of a property while you bide your time on the market, just imagine what you’d want to buy (or not want to buy).