If you’re thinking of selling your home, you’re likely considering what kind of changes to make before putting it on the market. What will buyers want? Should you remodel the kitchen, add a second story, or install a fancy new shower? In order to get the best price for your home, careful consideration of your market’s viability is important.

The people who will know the most about your area’s market are real estate agents. Real estate agents are selling homes in your area every day, so they know exactly what buyers want. Then take a look around your house. How out of date is it? You may not care about trends in home design, but your buyers will. That doesn’t mean you have to do a complete makeover, but making it look like it’s been updated in the last 20 years is a good idea.

Next, look around your neighborhood. If you live in an inexpensive neighborhood with small, basic homes, you don’t want to spend $50,000 on a kitchen remodel because there’s no way you’ll get that money back. But if the homes in your neighborhood are worth $500,000, the $50,000 kitchen remodel might make sense.

If your home needs more basic repairs, you should do those first. If your home has a leaky roof, it will not sell except to bargain hunters who are looking to flip it. That’s fine if you want to sell it as quickly as possible, but the sale will be at a lower price. When considering whether to repair your roof, call a reputable roofer and get an estimate on how much it will cost. If the roof isn’t that old, you might be able to repair it without investing in a full replacement. Other basic repairs may include your heating and air conditioning units, water heater (if it’s really old), siding, and foundation. 

For cosmetic purposes, it’s true that the kitchen and bathrooms are the most important parts of the house for buyers. But a huge remodel with a lot of extras isn’t likely to recoup your investment. You’re more likely to get your money back if you do a basic update of the kitchen or bathroom, unless they’re in really bad shape to the point where the home won’t sell without repairing them. Resurface or paint your cabinets and update cabinet hardware instead of replacing all the cabinets. Install a modern kitchen faucet or updated sink and remove formica countertops for a more durable alternative.

There are many updates you can make yourself, including painting walls and trim. You can change dated light fixtures for more modern options at a reasonable price. Brass and gold-tone fixtures evoke a 1970s feel, which most buyers don’t want. Touch up outdoor trim to make it look newer and do a little landscaping to give your home some curb appeal. Consider replacing your front door or giving it a new paint job. First impressions are important to home buyers, so make sure your home is ready. 

When you put your home on the market, make it as clutter free as possible and remove all items that are personal to you. Your buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home, and your items get in the way of that. Replace light bulbs with brighter ones and open blinds and curtains. The more light, the better.

If you plan to stay in your home for a little while longer, go ahead and do the project you will enjoy most. Whatever home improvement projects you want to complete, do your homework and hire reputable professionals. Nobody wants to buy a home that was remodeled poorly. Then sit back and wait for your home to sell.

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