Small Changes to Sell Your Home for More

Small Changes to Sell Your Home for More

  • Ken Licata
  • 05/31/21

Readying a home to sell can prove a considerable undertaking, and one of the key considerations is whether you've done enough to generate your target value from the sale. Especially if you hope to take advantage of a seller's market similar to the one we currently find ourselves in, maximizing your home's value is of vital importance.

However, what if you find yourself beyond a reasonable timeframe to make any meaningful upgrades? What if you don't want to or simply cannot put forth the occasionally large investment it takes to add valuable updates or improvements?

Don’t fret. There is a lot of flexibility and a broad array of options for improving your home without a massive time or financial commitment, meaning some improvement strategies can cost less than $5,000. In many cases, even less than $1,000 is enough to prep your home for sale and get the most out of the transaction. Let's take a look at five areas where you can make small changes to sell your home for more.

Kitchen Updates

Homeowners and prospective buyers alike claim the kitchen as the single most important room in the house. For many families, it's a hub of activity, meaning it’s more than a place to cook, but an area to converse, hang out, and start or end the day. This means the kitchen is a high-priority item when listing your home; you’ll want to impress interested parties.

The best part about the kitchen is that it doesn’t have to take much to ensure this area shines.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to make extensive updates to your kitchen to wow potential buyers, but it does require you to be thoughtful in your updates.

In fact, you can get by with budget-friendly improvements totaling less than $5,000 in order to make the room stand out in a competitive marketplace. For example, if your kitchen has been updated in the past, a new set of stainless steel, energy-efficient appliances, and a fresh coat of paint are enough to generate higher offers.

If you don't want to shell out that much money, more targeted improvements will go a long way to enhancing the space. A new sink, repainted walls and cabinetry, updated lighting package, or new fixtures and cabinet hardware are all simple projects that will give your kitchen a boost. Depending on your kitchen's square footage, even new flooring or a new or updated backsplash will add considerable pop without too much of a financial commitment. Any combination of the above will prove beneficial and improve the kitchen without fully making it over. 

Bathroom Spaces

Bathroom updates can prove a tricky proposition for home sellers. It is rare that bathroom renovations return any measurable ROI, as almost any full-scale renovation will net you a less than 70% return. In fact, the grander the renovation, the lower the ROI.

However, bathrooms remain a focal point for home shoppers. Master ensuites and general bathrooms around the home are scrutinized by prospective buyers, and they’ll want to make sure these are a great space to get their day started or end their nights just before bed.

So, how do you offer great bathroom spaces without losing too much of your investment? The trick here is to aim small in your updates. For example, when it comes to bathrooms, buyers want light, lots of it. In most cases, you can update a bathroom lighting package for less than $500, including fixtures and bulbs. Of course, the bigger the bathroom, the bigger the bill, but there's no need to do anything over the top.

You may also want to pair your lighting upgrade with a bright paint scheme or new fixtures to match the now illuminated space. In some cases, mainly those homes approaching seven figures, new fixtures and cabinet hardware will actually up the ante without overextending your investment. Buyers will also appreciate newly installed, efficient toilets. It proves an underrated selling point and a fresh start for the buyer. In sum, a simple yet bright and airy bathroom with only the necessities updated pumps up your home value far more than any opulent makeover.

Smart Staging

When selling a home, staging is one of the more essential aspects of ensuring your property casts a positive impression on every buyer who tours it. Cleaning, decluttering, and moving out the old "lived-in" furniture for a fresh (and considerably more streamlined) look and feel is paramount for generating top dollar for your home.

The caveat here is that staging does require some financial planning, especially if yours is a large home, and the staging is needed for more than six weeks. If it's fewer than four weeks, you can get by with staging for under $5,000, which can be even less if you stage strategically.

With staging, opt to only stage a room or two, smartly highlighting your home's flexibility while saving the personal essence of your home. For example, transform a bedroom into an office or home gym, make an awkward-sized den a media room, or flex a forgotten formal dining space into a child's playroom or a private sitting area.

However, there's more you can do to show off your home than just traditional forms of staging. Cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing a home will do wonders for improving its showability. For example, during the decluttering process, pay specific attention to your closets. The majority of homebuyers will note closet space as one of the most critical elements they seek out in a home.

Show off yours by going through every closet in your home and cutting each one's contents by half. Give what's left the room to breathe by spacing everything out. Even with small closets, you'll create the illusion of roomy interiors and plenty of space to spare. This strategy works for other areas, such as your garage, kitchen cabinets, the pantry or laundry room, even the storage space in your attic or basement.

Intelligent Home Technology

Innovative home technology is entering an exciting expansion phase and rapidly coming into its own as a sought-after amenity for home buyers. While it's difficult to pin down an exact ROI for smart home features, buyers who understand its usefulness see it as a premium feature, and there's no doubt smart technology is growing in popularity and importance.

The critical point to consider is that to the younger homebuyer, smart home technology is vital to the home feature, and the market is currently being flooded with millennials looking to buy a home. The question remains: what exactly are these younger, tech-savvy homebuyers looking for in a smart home? It’s actually only two key things: a smart programmable thermostat and a wireless security system.

Smart thermostats are popular as they take the guesswork out of managing a home's comfort systems and do so while saving money and conserving energy. What makes them intelligent is their easy configuration that fits seamlessly into a homeowner's lifestyle, something critically important to younger homeowners. You can add this valuable device for less than $250 or a pair for less than $500. The second item, a wireless security system, costs about the same and is yet another intangible that ensures your home is a more attractive purchase than another listing without the smart feature.

The most favorable aspect to both upgrades is that even if they don't substantially increase your home's value, they ensure your home gets more looks from potential buyers and will help it sell faster.

Modest Exterior Enhancements

Finally, let's head outside, and take stock of the area that many home sellers often overlook in the listing process — their property's curb appeal. Most homeowners fail to give the outside of their home the attention it deserves. When upgrading to sell, a home’s exterior can prove to be costly in the end, as home buyers form their initial opinion of your home based on its exterior. Unfortunately, this opinion rarely changes, regardless of what they see inside.

Luckily, it doesn't take much to spruce up your yard to save yourself a bad first impression. Simply trimming back overgrowth and ridding your yard of dead leaves and branches will often breathe new life into your landscape. Another inexpensive tactic includes power washing your home's facade, driveway and walkways, and any patios or decks.

If you're feeling even more industrious, touching up the exterior paint won't break the bank and gives your property's curb appeal a huge shot in the arm. Should you want to avoid that extreme, clearing out planters, adding new mulch and low-maintenance plants in pots on your front porch will add welcome pops of brilliance that leave a lasting impression.

Finally, if you haven't yet noticed, potential home buyers love great lighting, and they love it as much outside the home as they do inside. Adding lighting across critical areas of your home — motion lighting in front; bright, welcoming lights at every entry; and decorative string or landscaping lighting on your patio or throughout your backyard — will significantly improve your property's nighttime appeal, as well as its sense of security.

If you're ready to list your Staten Island home, contact Ken Licata today to start the selling journey. From Annandale real estate to Clove Lake or Dougan Hills homes for sale, allow Ken and his team's years of experience and expertise to be your guide to the Staten Island luxury real estate market.


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