For most of us, our home is probably one of the biggest investments we'll ever make. In the past, it was possible to sit back casually and watch our equity grow with little or no effort. These days equity is not given, it must be earned. We can no longer count on the market and Buyer demand to propel our homes toward higher values. It is time to get proactive. It is time for home improvements!
Depending on the age, size, and location of your home, there may be any number of potential improvements. However, there are a few upgrades that will almost certainly increase the value of any home. Remember, most home-buyers are looking for a home they can move into quickly and easily. They don't want to deal with the hassle of remodeling...so if your house is outdated or missing key features, they're likely to keep looking. As a homeowner, you have the opportunity to make those key changes at your own pace, so that the potential future buyer won't have to. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 home improvement areas you'll want to focus on.
1. The Kitchen: The FIRST thing buyers look for in a house is a great kitchen. Your kitchen may not necessarily make you, but it can definitely break you. Wood paneling, wallpaper and brown appliances will induce projectile vomiting from today's buyers. Seriously...I've seen it happen. Start with upgrading appliances, then move on to walls, cabinets and counters. Don't worry about moving walls around unless you have a large budget and you're sure it makes sense relative to the potential sale price down the road.
2. Deck/Patio space: Outdoor living and entertaining space is a big priority for many buyers. If you have a deck or patio already, make sure it looks its best. If you don't, give it some serious consideration. Even something as simple and inexpensive as rock or concrete pavers can make a huge difference.
3. Siding Replacement: While not a particularly exciting project, siding is a big deal, especially if you've got worn out vinyl or damaged wood siding. Try upgrading to a cement fiber product. It comes pre-painted and lasts longer than anything else. Buyers will see that your home has the mark of quality and credibility before they even open the front door.
4. Window Replacement: Windows are easily taken for granted...by owners. Buyers will notice if they are outdated, inefficient, or damaged.
5. Landscaping: Do not underestimate the value of curb-appeal. If your home doesn't look good from the street, many buyers will never even see the inside. A tastefully designed yard, even a modest one, will go a long way toward making a good first impression. Lose the garden gnomes...I know, I know, I love them, too...but not everybody has such good taste.
Here's a crucial tip: When considering remodels from an investment perspective, you would be wise to consult a local real estate professional who knows your market. You DO NOT want to go overboard on expenditures if your market doesn't support a commensurate price increase.
Click here for more information on Portland real estate!Rob LeRoy is a Seattle real estate agent and social media marketing coach with eXp Realty.