Find a Balance
When it comes to houses, fix it like you plan to stay in it and pay attention to the market. Unless you happen to own that one faultless house that every U.S. citizen dreams about but never finds, selling your home will require some measure of home improvement. If you want to increase the profit, the remodeling must be balanced and well applied.
Start with a bit of observation. Consider the design points that make your home unique. Focus on the outside as well as the inside. Don’t overlook the importance of indoor air quality and don’t miss the value of creating enticing curb appeal. Also be sure to set an eye for basics such as curtains, blinds and other fundamental items that present the “feel” of a home.
When planning the modifications, think like a homeowner, but keep the mind-set of a real estate agent. Find a balance between what you like and what actually sells. Don’t get lost on a vanity trip.
Bone up on current home improvement concerns, finance plans and basic cost issues. Spend some time browsing the home improvement section of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website. It's not just about getting loans. The information offered by HUD ranges from how to fix a faucet to what you need to know concerning “the facts and the pitfalls of home improvements.”
Focus on Curb Appeal
According to Remodeling Magazine, the following ten projects – all focused on curb appeal – promote the best return on your remodeling dollars. These are simple, value-added improvements – not vanity makeovers:
- Exterior Siding – Replace old siding with high-end fiber cement. Cost: $15,000 or less. Payback:78%.
- Entry Door – Replace that cracked and discolored entry door with an inexpensive steel door. The payback: 73% on $1,300 or less.
- Attic Remodel – Turn the attic into an extra bedroom. Remove a dormer. Install a shower. Revamp the flow of heating and cooling. Add Insulation. Update the lighting. Put in four vinyl windows. Polish out the walls and ceiling. Average cost: $50,148. Payback 72.5%.
- Minor Kitchen Remodel – Put new hardware on the cabinets. Add some Blinds.com blinds over the sink. Install new faucets, a new sink and laminate countertops. Top it off with a quality selection of new appliances. Cost: $20,000. Payback 72.1 percent.
- Garage Door, Midrange – As a low cost improvement, a midrange garage door update can really pump up a home’s curb appeal. Cost: $1,500. Payback 71.9%.
- Garage Door, High-End – It’s all about curb appeal. The payback on a high-end garage door update performs just as well as the midrange counterpart. Cost: $2,994. Return 71.1%.
- Deck – New wood decks are not as expensive as composite materials, but the return on investment brings a healthy balance at a lesser cost. On average, a wooden deck runs around $10,350. Payback: 70.1%.
- Vinyl Siding – Foam-backed vinyl siding provides several value-added services. It helps maintain a steady temperature within the home and it lends a fresh look on the curb. Cost $14,274 for an average project of 1,250 square feet. Payback: Around 70%.
- Midrange Vinyl Siding – More expensive than basic siding and high-end fiber cement, midrange replacement vinyl siding provides stronger, longer-lasting protection for the home. Cost: $11,729. Payback 69.5%.
- Windows – For holding back the elements, you can’t beat the performance of double-pane vinyl replacement windows. They are easy to clean, double-hung and easy to install. Plan the project around using low-emissivity glass, insulated units and simulated wood-grain casings. Cost for 10 3x5 windows including installation: $14,328. Payback: 69.1.