By Rose Sklar
Thinking of selling your home? What home improvement will give you the most bang for the buck? In today’s real estate market, the key to getting top dollar for your property is called Staging. If your home is over 10 years old, consider the following questions:
When was the last time you painted?
What major home improvements have you made?
Start with the curb appeal: Paint the front door, change out the door knockers, trim the landscape and put in fresh mulch and flowers. Stress appearance, not function. Create the illusion of space by neutralizing colors, removing any heavy draperies or ornate light fixtures. Clean the windows and open up the shades. Remove personal items. Take out old bulky wall units, refresh linens and towels and most importantly clean and de-clutter.
Renovations to sell with the best return on investment would include Kitchens and bathrooms. According to HGTV, small bathrooms and kitchen renovations recoup at near 100%. Not up to a complete remodel? We recommend what we like to call a “Mini face lift” This involves a range of improvements starting with small cosmetic repairs first, prioritizing kitchen and bathroom hardware and light fixtures, followed by countertops and backsplash. We love reglazing “ugly tubs and vanities” with glaze paint. We encourage bringing them up to date with new silestone/quartz or granite countertops, refacing or painting cabinets and new appliances if necessary. According to Lori Cesario with Margo Home Interiors, “When selling, appearance is more important than function. Sad to say, but it's better to put that $800 into paint or flooring, rather than a new water heater. As long as the water heater is functional, keep it. A new water heater will not impress buyers. If a home inspector eventually says the water heater must be replaced, you can always replace it then, or knock off an equivalent amount from the sale price. But appearance is something that is not negotiable, and in fact is something that may only register with home buyers on a subconscious level.”
Hands down, the best money spent on a home is to paint it. Most homes we go to were decorated and painted more than 10 Years ago with dark out of date colors. This turns off buyers and they will typically move on to the next home. Today, it is a buyers market and they have plenty of other choices. Millennial’s in particular, account for 30% of current home sales and they in particular do not want their parents or grandparents home. They rarely will even look at a home that is dated. If a seller does not Stage or paint their home, they are eliminating the millennials.
Other soft costs that we recommend: sanding wood floors or cleaning and color sealing tile floors vs new flooring. Remember, appearance is most important.
Why should I have my home staged?
According to Jill Gold, stager from Style My Home, “You will sell it 78% faster, according to the Real Estate Staging Association National Stats. That means 30 days on the market vs.100 days.Your homes final selling price will be 6% to 10% more money. That means if your home is worth $600,000, you stand to gain (or not lose on markdowns) $36,000 to $60,000. The price for Staging is usually far less than your first price reduction.”
95% of home buyers look online to decide which homes to tour. If you want to stand apart from the rest a Staged home with great photos attract more buyers to your home… lots more. Your home will lose about 1% a month while on the market, according to Zillow. A vacant home must add carrying costs to that amount: mortgage, lawn care, HOA dues, electric, water, insurance, etc. Home staging services cost only ½% to 1% of home value.
So let’s recap. Agents are much more likely to show a home that they know is staged and the buyers are much more likely to identify a home to see that is staged. The best home improvements projects and mini facelifts are those that make the home more functional and enjoyable. Once the house is ready to sell, photography, video and social media presence are a must.