Renovating for Resale

Renovating for Resale


The weather is cooling off, the holidays are around the corner, and people are filled with a sense of coziness of the home. But maybe you have your sight set on a new home for next year’s festivities and you are thinking of marketing your existing home to sell this coming spring. As you look around your house and consider its features and selling points, you may decide to renovate during these cool months. If so, read on for some helpful Do’s and Don’ts of renovating your home for the purpose of selling it.

The first thing to know is that renovations do not always “pay for themselves” in the traditional sense of cash dividends. In other words, if you put $20,000 worth of work into your home, you may not necessarily sell the home for $20,000 above its existing value. While the appropriate renovations may or may not increase the value, they will improve the likelihood of selling the property, and selling it quickly. Most buyers want an updated home on which they will not have to do immediate work.

Reno Do #1: Renovate the kitchen. Having an updated kitchen, including stainless steel appliances and beautiful countertops in granite or engineered stone (such as Silestone) is a big selling feature to potential buyers. Other updates, such as cabinet refacing and modern sink fixtures and knobs, can make an aesthetic difference without breaking the bank. Knocking down a full or half wall to connect the kitchen to a living room, den, or dining area can make the lay-out of the home feel more open and the kitchen more spacious.

Reno Do #2: Renovate the bathroom. Make sure the bathroom is clean (floors, toilet, even the grout!) Ensure the plumbing is all in good working order. A leaky toilet or a bath tub that can’t hold water will turn off potential buyers. Update the color of the tile to keep the bathroom from looking dated. Adequate lighting is also important to buyers. Consider updating the light fixtures or adding a window for natural light. Reglazing the bath tub may also be a way to make the room look newer without replacing the entire tub. Make sure the vanity is modern and consider using a recessed vanity to add space to the bathroom.

Reno Do #3: Add a sprinkler system. If the outdoors need some work, install a sprinkler system instead of costly landscape renovations. While curb appeal is important, everyone wants a green lawn. Installing a sprinkler system with automatic turn on and shut-off that is programmable may be a huge feature for the buyer who wants a beautiful yard without constantly worrying about watering.

Reno Do #4: Technology sells. Wiring the home with speakers throughout the house that can be controlled with a single remote to pipe music throughout the house is a cost-effective boost to a house’s selling ability. Consider also installing surround sound in a space likely to accommodate a television.

Reno Don’t #1: Don’t install a pool. Many homeowners do not want to deal with the maintenance and liability associated with pool ownership. Others may fear accidental drownings, especially families with small children. Having a pool may also increase the cost of homeowner’s insurance. Finally, since the swimming season in middle Tennessee is less than half the year, home buyers may prefer a yard instead.

Reno Don’t #2: Don’t convert spaces from their original use. Converting a bedroom into a library or wine cellar may suit your needs but may be a deterrent for future buyers who need the extra bedroom. And converting a garage into a music studio may work for some people in the industry. But most prospective buyers want a place to store lawn care equipment, sports equipment, and vehicles. If you do convert a space, make sure it can easily revert back to its original purpose.

Reno Don’t #3: Don’t install carpeting. Hard floors, whether wood, tile, concrete, or laminate continue to be the preference of homebuyers. Hard surfaces are easier to clean, do not show dirt as much, and may reduce allergies. So investing in carpeting may actually be detrimental to the value of your home as you try to sell.

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