Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remodel before selling?

Despite home price drops in many cities, remodeling projects are holding their own as a way for owners to add value.

Another good reason for that remodel is the fact that buyers are having to put more money down to get a loan, so they are using up their available cash just to get the house. Remodeling loans or second mortgages are hard to come by, consequently, buyers are starting to forego the sweat equity or light remodel homes in favor of completely "done" properties.

So what project should you tackle? Adding a bath to a one-bathroom house, adding a legal bedroom, or putting on a nice, big deck are examples of projects that are really going to help sell your home and make it more liveable. New windows, energy efficient heating and cooling, fresh paint and carpet are excellent. Custom projects that suit your hobbies or personality are a bad idea for a return on your investment. But sprucing up the house so it belongs in the twenty first century is a fabulous idea, and doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

My house was built in 1992. It should be in pretty good shape, right? Well, if I were going to put it on the market, I'd have to replace all the carpet, the kitchen appliances are well-used and looking worn, the bathroom faucets are dated, and my kitchen needs a facelift. Last year we replaced all the siding, and installed new windows in the front half of the house and a brand new deck. Things fall apart and if you don't constantly keep up with it, the scope and cost of the projects can be huge. But light fixtures, faucets, paint and great accessories will do wonders.

If your house was built in the 70's or 80's, the style may need some tweaking. Lots of wooden railings, wood paneling and angled vaults? They'll require modern paint colors, great flooring and new railings to step into 2010.

Please check with your Realtor before you install granite counters into granny's 1940 house. Period updates are worth a lot more than a kitchen that looks like it came out of Home Depot, and your Realtor can supply you with photos of other properties that were done right. Nothing is worse than the cost and effort of a bad remodel that doesn't gain you anything in your sale. Let's work on the project together and get you the most bang for your buck.

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