Agent: Remodeling Projects that Bring Best Value for Resale

Sometimes minor updates and projects that highlight a home's positives can add more value than investing in major projects.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Home Staging® and CEO of stagedhomes.com, always says.” The way you live in a house is not the way you sell a house.” Staging has become a critical component to effectively market a home, but it certainly is not the only thing necessary to see a SOLD sign on the yard.

There is a time during the process of preparing to sell that every seller thinks about doing some type of remodeling to enhance the value of the home. The time to really do that remodeling is way before you decide to move so that there is a chance for the homeowner to enjoy the remodel before selling. Why is that important?

Remodeling’s “2011–12 Cost vs. Value Report,” www.costvsvalue.com lists the return on investment for 35 remodeling projects. The information was compiled in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine and NAR’s (National Association of REALTORS®) HouseLogic.com Estimates for construction costs were compiled by HomeTech Publishing.

The estimated costs and returns were derived from a survey of more than 3,000 REALTORS® conducted last summer here in the Seattle area. It may surprise many and lead to a more critical evaluation of what exactly are the necessary improvements that should be done to enhance the return on investment.

As in past years, REALTORS® picked exterior projects to recoup the most at resale. For a mid-range home, replacing the front door brought an 80 percent return and replacing windows brought a 79 percent return. Low on the list were major additions such as complete new kitchens and baths. For the upscale home, garage door replacement and replacing the siding with cement based products were high on the list. In both instances, minor updates to the kitchen were important. Before hiring the contractor, review a full list at www.costvsvalue.com. Then decide if major remodeling is the right path.

Shirey Contracting is an award winning remodeler and custom builder that provides creative design-build solutions for projects of all sizes. Donna Shirey has long been a proponent of incorporating earth friendly building materials in all of her projects. When asked if homeowners seek out energy efficient products, Donna Shirey replied that she was disappointed that most owners are not looking at including energy efficiency in their remodels. Since more buyers are looking at comparable properties that offer such features, even minor repairs that incorporate innovative designs can be cost effective.

Craig Smith, Craig Smith Construction, Inc., discusses all options with his clients before starting a project. Craig is seeing a change in what is happening in the market. Today, his clients are calling for more upgrades to existing structures. Kitchens and baths are high on his list of improvements. He believes it is logical to evaluate the return on investment coupled with the length of time a homeowner plans on staying in a home when designing a remodel.

Highlighting the positives can sometimes add more value than investing in major projects. Low inventory could signal the increase of homeowners deciding to stay in their homes instead of moving.

So what are the main things a seller should consider when listing? A clean, well- organized home that showcases the positives is imperative. Arranging furniture that allows an open, easily negotiated space makes a home look and feel larger than it is. Offering home warranties shows that a seller is confident on the condition of a home as well as a way to repairs any problems that are found in the first year. Replacing the front door or garage door if necessary and maintaining a well groomed yard complete with new bark and flowers.

These certainly are not the only things that could add value. But, low cost items like these could actually add more to the rate of return than more expensive options. With buyers looking for a deal, a lower price on a home may be more desirable. Doing the remodeling after buying maybe the best way for buyers to get exactly what they want.

Bringing in a stager or a REALTOR® with staging experience is worth the investment. You can be confident that there will be a 100 percent return.


Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 09, 2012 at 05:24 PM
A good article! I've done a lot of "serious remodeling"- after the sale for the new owners who soon know what they want to change or improve. J- http://jgknols.wordpress.com/article/my-jg1-website-246qxuxd260sm-180/


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