The plethora of home improvement and home buying shows have convinced most sellers (and many real estate agents) that an updated kitchen, and specifically granite countertops, is all buyers care about. But, believe me, water in the basement or coming through a hole in the roof trumps granite.
For their “2017 Cost vs Value Report”, Remodeling Magazine compared the average cost of popular remodeling projects with the value the projects retained. At the top of the list in our market for a mid-range project was (fiberglass) attic insulation ($1,510) with more than 200% of the cost recouped. This was followed by a new garage door ($2,181) with 127.9% of the cost recouped.
The findings tell us that when renovating for resale, sellers should take care of the basics first. Sellers should anticipate the structural and systems issues the inspector will find. There is no doubt that if a buyer’s home inspector makes note of poor or non-existent insulation, that buyer will be thinking more about the thousands of dollars of heating and cooling costs in the years to come. A pre-listing inspection can be a great guide as to how to best spend renovation dollars before a sale.
Of course, an updated kitchen is a great selling point. But you may be surprised to learn that the report stated that a major, mid-range kitchen remodel ($75,398) only returned 78.4%. A minor kitchen remodel ($26,166) returned 92.1%! That means spending more does not always result in a similar increase in the return on investment.
If you are years away from selling your home then renovate, remodel, and upgrade for your own comfort and enjoyment. However, if you are making improvements to get the most when selling, keep in mind the cost versus value.
I got into real estate sales by accident in 2006. At the time, I recently earned a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Lehman College in The Bronx. I had a very entrepreneurial mind and was ready to make my mark in the real estate world. I immediately purchased three multi-family houses in Binghamton, NY. They where fully occupied, however, the manner in which they were being run was not up to par. My brother helped me renovate several units, I let several tenants go and began renting primarily to Binghamton University students. After that, I hired a manager and was on my way.
Without question my favorite part of the business is working with first time buyers. In many cases it is much easier working with clients that have previously bought or sold, however, these transactions can lack enthusiasm. Buyers that have purchased before understand the lengthy process and usually know what's coming next. The first time buyer tends to be younger and has no idea of what to expect. They depend on my guidance and advice right through closing. They embrace challenges with a nervous yet positive outlook and every showing is an adventure. On the other hand, it's rather upsetting when a relationship builds with these clients for several months and comes to a sudden halt after a successful closing. I keep in touch of course with all of my clients but a hello every now and then is quite different than the four days a week contact over a several month period.