Dear Shanon, What are some home improvements I can work on now, in preparation to sell in the spring
Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Every home requires different things that can be done to spruce it up and increase value. I advise clients to start in the places we spend the most time: the kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. On the interior, hone in on the opportunities in your home to add additional bathrooms or create greater functionality in the existing ones. Update the tile and shower, and if you don’t have a lot of room in your budget keep it simple by updating the vanity, mirrors, fixtures, and some cute new rugs and towels.
If you’re going to work on the kitchen; then start with the countertops, and cabinets and update the backsplash. Yes, buyers like stainless steel appliances but keep in mind oftentimes refrigerator and washer/dryer units are not always included in the sale. Going green and adding some Smart technology to improve the functionality of your home will not just improve your home’s value, but will also help improve your current cost on utilities with updated thermostats, solar panels, lightbulbs, and more.
Please remove outdated wallpaper. Most buyers don’t like looking at it, let alone removing it themselves. Unless it’s up-to-date with the trends or a historic home, it is something that today’s buyer just simply doesn’t want to deal with and can’t look past in photos.
Another big question I get is on flooring. If there are significant marks and stains, then consider your replacement options like hardwood and tile floors, as they are perceived as high value by buyers and will get you a good ROI (Return On Investment). You can certainly offer a “buyer credit” as a negotiation tool in your deal, thinking buyers will want to pick out their color and type, but you’re pretty safe if you stay within your home’s expectations of cost and quality, and, no kidding, go with grey it’s grey plus beige as it’s a popular color right now because it lives in the family pf neutral tones and color hues. Other areas that make buyers swoon are reconverted attics, basement, and my favorite – a large mudroom with a sink, please.
For the exterior, your curb appeal should be a priority, so keep that top of mind in the process by making sure it always looks presentable. Believe it or not, buyers will stalk the property by doing drive-bys before scheduling an appointment to view it with a REALTOR®, so take advantage of making a good first impression by having new mulch and making sure the front door is clear of any debris with only inviting things like plants and welcome mats. You can even paint your front door red or purple as they are appealing colors in feng shui, or go with today’s popular colors of yellow and blue.
Also, before you go busting out walls with new floorplans, work within the space not just from the inside but look at creating additional living space outside. I’m a huge fan of “California rooms” as they are big selling points for most homebuyers because who doesn’t like the ability to cook and entertain without having to run in and out of the house for food and supplies? Start by creating an outdoor cook space with a grill and throw in a mini bar if you have the desire. If you do not have a designated space to allow for this, create one by adding a covered terrace or expanding the area with a gazebo.
Set a budget and draw a line in the sand of how much you’re going to spend on upgrades. There might be other priorities like the roof, HVAC, siding, and other system maintenance that might require your attention first.
Your REALTOR® will be happy to get you set up on a Seller Market Watch Report in the interim until you’re ready to go live with your listing. They’ll also be happy to speak about the special things needed for your unique home on how you can add finishing touches that appeal to the standards of today’s buyer. Just remember, if you’re waiting until Spring to make all of these magnificent upgrades, your friend’s neighbors are probably waiting too! So expect increased competition and higher buyer expectations. Happy Selling!
Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Published Medford Sneak Preview Magazine - November 2018
Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.