Thanks to the abundance of home improvement and house hunting TV shows, potential homebuyers are savvier than ever. Not only are they looking for must-have man caves, open concept living areas, granite countertops, and double bathroom sinks, they are also keeping an eye out for budget-busting repairs or upgrades they can tackle upon moving in. If an alert and educated buyer spots a worn-out HVAC unit, antiquated appliances, or water damage, they’ll either ask for a reduction in selling price, or worse, walk away.
Even if a homebuyer does move forward with purchasing your home, issues may inevitably be brought to light by the home inspection that is strongly encouraged by mortgage services. Professional inspections, while not required for most mortgage loan programs, are a huge benefit for potential buyers.
While appraisals, which are required by lenders, will determine a home’s value based on its appearance, location, number of rooms, age, style, and other surface-level elements, an inspection reveals potentially costly issues that aren’t always evident to the naked eye, like foundation cracks, outdated plumbing, attic and roofing issues, termite damage, and electrical systems that aren’t up to current codes. For an additional cost, inspectors can perform tests for environmental contaminants like radon, asbestos, mold, or lead, which have to be professionally eradicated. Although an inspection is relatively inexpensive at an average cost of only $300 to $400, it can save a homebuyer from buying a home that will end up costing them thousands in repairs.
So where does this leave you, as a home seller? Although it may seem counterproductive, you may need to invest in upgrades and improvements to make your home more attractive to buyers and to be able to sell it for top dollar. Again, if we’ve learned anything from the house flipping show craze, it’s that when it comes to homes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, consider making these three improvements to increase your chances of selling your home for the maximum price.
Start at the top
The roof of a home is one element that is evaluated by both appraisers and home inspectors. During an appraisal, the age, material, and appearance of your roof will be included in the overall evaluation of your home’s value, while an inspector will dig a little deeper. The American Society of Home Inspectors require an inspection of not only roofing materials, but also roof drainage systems, flashing, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations. If any of these elements are missing, improperly installed, or defective, homebuyers will see the dollar signs or improvement projects necessary to keep their new roof from leaking or falling into further disrepair.
Spending a lot of money to replace your roof just prior to putting your house up for sale may be overwhelming. HomeAdvisor estimates that a new roof could cost anywhere from $1,200 to $30,000. Of course, this price depends on a number of factors, including your location, the materials you choose, the square footage of your roof, and what materials have to be removed. The good news is that new roofing provides one of the best returns on investment at 109 percent. This means that if you spend $7,200 on a new roof, your home’s value increases to $8,150.
When selecting a roof for your soon-to-be-on-the-market home, consider options that will be attractive to the majority of potential buyers. Although today’s roofing comes in a variety of materials and colors, not everyone is going to appreciate a bright red roof or curved ceramic tiles. And while wood shingles and slate are attractive, they’re also impractical and expensive for the typical single-family home.
Standard asphalt shingles are the least expensive and most widely-available roofing option, and come in a variety of nondescript colors. A typical asphalt shingle roof can be guaranteed up to 30 years by the manufacturer, which is a great selling point.
Metal roofs are also growing in popularity and can last up to 50 years. Everlast Roofing, Inc., a roofing material provider in the northeastern United States, recommends metal roofing for residential use not only for its durability, but also because its overlapping, interlocking panels create a water- and wind-resistant seal and its deep grooves naturally siphon off water. A model like Everlast II™ also provides an appealing board-and-batten look, which would complement several styles of homes and appeal to potential buyers.
A strong foundation
Many people may be familiar with the adage that a house build on a rock foundation will not fall, but those built on sand will never last. While a literal rock foundation isn’t necessarily required, a strong, sound, and stable foundation is imperative for a long-lasting, durable structure. Because the foundation is in many respects the most important element of a home, foundation repairs must be addressed as soon as possible — and especially before you list your home.
A thorough evaluation of a house’s foundation is a crucial part of an inspector’s routine. They’ll look for tell-tale signs of foundation problems like large cracks in the exterior and interior walls, cracks in basement floors, doors and windows that don’t close properly, bowing basement walls, and sagging or sloping floors. According to Acculevel, a home foundation repair specialist serving Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, foundation damage can stem from changing soil conditions, improperly compressed soils, erosion, plumbing leaks, or improper drainage.
Foundation repairs typically range from $1,843 to $6,370, but larger projects involving installation of heavy-duty hydraulic piers that lift your foundation can be a little more expensive. Depending on your foundation’s issue, repairs could entail raising the foundation, excavating around the walls, stabilizing or reinforcing walls, installing piers, and/or sealing cracks. However, these investments could increase your home’s value by up to 15 percent, according to Acculevel. Buyers love the option of a basement area that is dry and structurally secure enough to become an additional living space!
Interior bang for your buck
A functional and relatively up-to-date kitchen is one of the most highly-sought-after items on buyers’ lists of must-haves. Even though those TV shows give the impression that nothing less than a six-burner professional oven, a gorgeous farmhouse sink, and an island the size of a king bed will impress house hunters, real-life professionals recommend only a minor kitchen upgrade to make your home more attractive to homebuyers.
On average, a kitchen remodel costs between $12,548 and $34,181, or $75 to $250 per sq. ft. This is a pretty wide range of pricing, and there are certainly improvements or renovations that could double or triple these estimates. However, those are not the kind of projects you’ll want to tackle to prepare your home for sale.
A good rule of thumb for a minor kitchen remodeling project is to budget $10,000 to $15,000 for traditional surface improvements that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Not everyone is going to appreciate double ovens or a glittery backsplash, so opt for neutral — but not cheaply made — appliances, cabinets, floor treatments, and countertops. Ensure that your appliances are all in working order, doors and drawers can be opened easily and without hitting other structures, and that everything is clean inside and out.
Simple updates like refacing cabinets, removing wallpaper, adding a tile backsplash, or changing out cabinet hardware can make a huge difference without breaking the bank. Kitchen updates can provide up to a 100 percent return on your investment.