Whether you are renovating a home to prepare it for sale or just want to improve it, renovations can be expensive so it’s important to find a contractor you trust and ensure your upgrades add value to your house. Renovating a home can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you have several ideas or projects you want to accomplish. If you have any issues with the basics- your roof, HVAC system, plumbing, or flooring and walls- they will be your first priority. If everything is in good working condition, you may decide to focus on the kitchen or bathrooms which typically have a high return on investment. So once you’ve decided on your project, what should you do next?
1. Set a Budget
Your budget may look different if you are improving upon your dream home versus if you plan to sell your home in a few years. Not all upgrades will pay for themselves when it comes to selling a home. However, if you are improving on a home you plan to live in for several years to come, it may make sense to splurge on amenities that you would want regardless of resale value. A big part of the budget is deciding on materials. In most cases, you want to balance your splurges with economic substitutions. You may decide on an upscale laminate over true hardwood floors or choose a cost-effective neutral tile in the bathroom paired with a top-of-the-line tile for an accent strip. After getting some estimates, you may find that you do not have enough saved. It’s a good idea to review loan options and talk with your mortgage lender.
2. Devise a Plan
Get together all the information about your project including everything you want done and desired materials. You may decide to create your own plan or you might meet with a pro, like an architect or interior designer. It’s a good idea to establish early on how involved you want them to be in the process since hiring an architect for the full job (assembling a team of contractors, overseeing construction, designing every aspect of your renovation) could be costly.
3. Create a List of Candidates
Your realtor, friends and family, and social media platforms can be a good springboard for you to start a list of people/ businesses you may want to use for your renovations. You can find more candidates through an online search as well. Then you will want to narrow down the list by looking at reviews carefully.
4. Interview the Best Candidates
Now you can verify with each candidate that they are licensed and insured as well as inquire about their past work with renovations similar to yours. You can request references and then make sure they check out. Next, you should set up in-person interviews. This ensures you will work well with your contractor and they get a chance to see the property/ area you want renovated. This will help them give you an accurate estimate; you may even decide you want to pay for a “hard estimate” at this time to be sure you will stay within budget (which can be particularly important if you plan to sell soon and want the best return on investment).
5. Select a General Contractor
Now you are ready to hire your General Contractor (or plumber, painter, designer, etc). You want to be present but avoid micromanaging since that can slow down the renovations and add unnecessary tension. Since you’ve been thorough in your selection process, you can be confident in your team to produce high quality work. That said, it’s always a good idea to let your GC know how to get in touch with you when you aren’t home if they need a decision on purchase or design. Your freshly upgraded home is now ready to be enjoyed, or perhaps, sold!
As most people know, Spring can be a great time to list your house. I have found that often buyers who have looked all winter are often ready to make a move on the right house when it comes on the market.
I think this Spring will be particularly good due to continued lack of inventory and historically low interest rates. In other words, the normal lack of inventory due to the slower Winter months only adds the to general inventory problems of today's market and is multiplied by a lot of ready and able buyers with low interest rates!
The following are some simple tips for getting your house market-ready in time for the Spring:
1. Declutter and Clean Your Home
Having a clean and organized house will instantly make the rooms look bigger and show off the best features of your home. Buyers appreciate having lots of storage space and with knick-knacks out of the way, the closets and other storage areas will look more spacious. If you aren't ready to purge everything, you can rent a storage space while your house is on the market. Keep your house as clean as possible so it is always ready to show and make a good first impression on potential buyers.
2. Make Updates and Repairs
Now would be a good time to review the Pre-Home Inspection Checklist to see what updates your house may need. Be sure to fix leaky faucets, running toilets, squeaky doors, etc. Painting neutral colors and replacing hardware, particularly in the kitchen, are relatively quick upgrades that can impress potential buyers.
3. De-Personalize Your Home
Decluttering your home and painting neutral colors are both important aspects to creating a blank slate so that buyers can easily envision themselves living in your house. Put away most framed photos, toys, personal keepsakes and similar items.
4. Stage Your Home
There are several advantages to staging your house; buyers view the house as well maintained and the furniture placement will help highlight the strengths of your house while minimizing any flaws there may be. This will also maximize the space and make the house look inviting. Staging a home includes the exterior to improve its curb appeal. Fresh paint, a mowed lawn, and landscaping will all ensure a great first impression before potential buyers even enter your home. Contact me if you would like to have a professional stager and myself tour your home and provide consultation and possibly pieces to complement your home.
5. Prepare for Professional Photography
The majority of potential buyers will see photos of your house online before they see it in person. In fact, bad photos could discourage them from seeing your house at all! The first step to taking flattering photos is to maximize both artificial and natural light in your home. Clean windows, replace burned out bulbs and add more lighting fixtures or stand alone lamps to make the house look bright and cheery. Professional photography will put your houses' best foot forward by ensuring the pictures are; clear, crisp, high resolution and taken from the best angles. Tips on preparing your house for pictures can be found here.
6. Pricing Your House
Your listing agent is an invaluable asset to you as you prepare to put your house on the market; they provide a wealth of knowledge regarding the local housing market and determining the value of a home. It's important that the asking price be competitive; if it's too high, your listing may get overlooked and after sitting on the market, buyers may wonder why the house hasn't sold. If you want to discuss your the market value of your house email me here.
Advertising your home by posting pictures online is one of the first and most important marketing steps you will take when selling your home. More and more people begin their search for a new home online and their first impression of your home will be shaped by the quality of your pictures. What many people don’t understand is the prep that the homeowner will need to complete before the photographer begins shooting the property. Below is a detailed checklist of the most common preparations one should do in order to be fully prepared for the professional photographer.
If you are doing preliminary research and want to see how you can further prepare your home for sale, it doesn't hurt to prepare your home for a home inspection. Check out the blog linked below.
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