Have you had an opportunity to follow how the real estate market is performing in the last several months?

If you haven’t heard, it’s VERY active.

Interest rates are still low. This is allowing potential buyers to purchase more home for the money, while making lower than normal monthly payments. As a result, there are many buyers in the market scouring the current inventory and looking for the perfect home to purchase.

But for anyone who has been looking to buy, they will tell you there’s an interesting phenomenon taking place. The good homes disappear in a day with multiple offers made. This results in higher-than-asking-price opportunities for sellers. As a potential buyer, it’s incredibly frustrating. As a seller, it is delightful.

So, what’s really going on? There is a significant shortage of good housing inventory. By good, I mean a home that is ready to be moved into without a long list of renovations needed to bring the home up to date.

Put on your “buyer’s hat” when you think about selling your home. Focus on those things you would want in a home, and you will very quickly identify the list of ways to increase the value of your home in 2021. Does your list match ours?

  1. Update Your Kitchen
  2. Update Your Bathrooms
  3. Replace (or properly maintain) Your Home’s Exterior – Specifically Windows & Doors

Let’s dive deeper in the list:

KITCHEN UPDATES

The kitchen is the heart of every home and is a primary space driving your home’s value.

We often encourage homeowners to consider how long they plan to be in their homes before engaging in a complete kitchen renovation. While we do them every day, we can’t, in good faith, suggest to a homeowner that only plans to be in their home another year or two that gutting the kitchen is a great idea. For shorter-term homeowners, the best route is to upgrade the countertops, add backsplash tile and replace the sink, sink faucet and garbage disposal. Is it a mistake to replace dated light fixtures or upgrade appliances in this shorter-term approach? No, but be careful how much you invest in your project!

Remember, a buyer is looking to minimize the investment they must make as soon as they move in. They won’t mind changing things over time, but they don’t want several projects prior to or after moving in. The less the buyer must do, the more attractive your home is. You might strongly consider doing a few of these things soon enough that you can enjoy the space yourself too! Who knows, it might extend the time you are willing to stay in the home!

A final note on kitchens: If your cabinets are very old and in bad shape, don’t spend $15,000 putting quartz countertops in thinking it will help you sell the home. From experience, we can tell you the first thing a new buyer does is call us to remodel the kitchen because the cabinets are old and they literally throw away your $15,000 countertops. It’s sad, but true!

BATHROOMS

Like the kitchen, the state of the bathrooms in a home are a critical deciding factor for potential buyers because of their extensive use daily, and their high costs of remodeling!

We find the master bathroom is the most critical, because of its impact on the actual people purchasing your home. It’s a gateway to the potential homebuyer’s mind.

“Sure, the kids can work with the dated bathroom down the hall for a while… no big deal.”

“The powder bath is a small space, so it can’t possibly be that expensive to update when we get around to it.”

“The master bathroom is the space we’ll use daily. That’d be expensive to remodel! At a minimum, we want to purchase a home that has a master bath we can be comfortable in the day we move in.”

While not every home buyer thinks the same, you can be sure that the state of your bathrooms plays a role in the purchase of your home. While it is often okay to install a new floor, paint the walls and add new countertops to take your eye away from the age of the space of a hall bathroom, the master bathrooms should be looked at like the kitchen.

We suggest only completing master bathroom remodels if you are staying in the home for 3 years or more. Anything less warrants a facelift if Return on Investment (ROI) is your motivation. This could be countertops, flooring, wall painting and new plumbing fixtures as a starting point.

A final note on bathrooms: We get questions weekly about the need for tubs in the bathroom when they don’t get used. First, there needs to be a tub in the house somewhere. Babies don’t take showers and you will limit your buyer pool if you have no tub in the home. However, more and more master bathrooms have large showers with no tub because showers get the daily use. Our recommendation is that you keep a tub in the master bathroom if the space is so large it warrants a tub, even if you won’t actually use the tub frequently. While this does increase the renovation price, some bathrooms become very awkward with unused space if they’re not laid out to utilize all of the bathroom space and often it is the presence of a tub that fills that void and brings the entire space together.

HOME EXTERIOR – WINDOWS & DOORS

There is absolutely nothing worse than looking at a home where the windows won’t open and the doors won’t close. Add rotted siding and you’ll scare away any potential buyer. Who wants to spend money on new windows and doors? NOBODY! It is the least enjoyable place to spend money. But, it’s important that you properly maintain them. Even keeping a good coat of paint on them can make them last years!

If they no longer function properly, there are many levels to the window and door products on the market. You don’t have to select the most expensive option to sell your home, just choose a reputable manufacturer when you make the decision to replace windows and doors.

The most important item on the home exterior is the front door. It’s the jewelry to your home and it’s the focal point when your guests arrive. This is an area where you should think about what you want. It’s important to know that there are levels of products and price points for front doors, like any project, but you do not have to break the bank to create an inviting space at the entry to your home!

Exterior siding is another key item for resale. Potential buyers expect it to be properly maintained, but not necessarily changed and updated to their liking. There are many things that buyers will look at when they pull in the driveway. They’ll look at the yard. They’ll have a sense of the location and the schools and they can see how the neighbors take care of their homes. The exterior siding serves as the first impression of your home.

A final note on home exterior: The exterior of your home simply says, “This house has been taken care of and would be a good place for us to live” or, “this one is going to need some work”. Both answers are okay, but one brings a higher price at the time of closing.