One of the most frequent questions home sellers ask is: “What’s the smartest way for sellers to add value to a home and attract buyers?” The key to getting the top dollar for your home is to make sure it’s in a desirable location, is structurally sound and is as visually appealing as it can be. Of these three things, homeowners have the most control over visual appeal. There are some projects and quick fixes that you can make to add value to your home that don’t require a lot of money, but offer a big return at closing.
If you are thinking of selling and want to discuss how your home will be appraised, viewed and valued – please contact us! We’d love to give you a customized recommendation that factors in your home’s location, existing features and budget.
The Smartest Way for Sellers to Add Value to a Home and Attract Buyers is Not Found Inside the Home
It may surprise you to know that you can make the most impact when you put your home on the market – by making an amazing first impression outside. That’s right, the answer is not found in the kitchen or bathroom, but in your front yard’s landscaping and design – or, it’s curb appeal. Sean Conlon, real estate mogul and host of CNBC show The Deed: Chicago, agrees that it’s the first thing people see, and first impressions matter the most for home buyers.
“Your lawn should look beautiful. Your shrubs should be nice and colorful and well taken care of. … Your shutters and windows should look nice. When people pull up, they should go, ‘I could picture myself pulling up in the evening and this being my home. That’s what curb appeal is.” ~ Sean Conlon
Even in the tight Northern Virginia and Washington, DC markets, where housing inventory is low, it’s vital to set your home apart from the others on the market. Having the most beautiful lawn and entrance (curb appeal) is the way to get buyers to want to come into YOUR house more than the others.
Outdoor Projects that Appeal to buyers and won’t break the bank
For this discussion, we are choosing to include the top projects that attract buyers
Whether it’s a bold new color or touching up the existing stain, making you front door ‘pop’ is a budget-friendly way to draw in buyers. Not sure what color to paint your front door? Find color tips and inspiration from Houzz.
If your budget allows, consider replacing your hard-working existing front door with one that makes more of a design impact and can improve energy efficiency. Expect to pay anywhere between four-figures to five-figures for a new door of distinction.
According to HouseLogic swapping out a worn out or damaged door with a new steel or fiberglass door is a curb appeal project with high payback for sellers since the cost to replace is relatively low.
“It gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of transforming the look and feel of your home,” says Brandon Erdmann, president of the remodeling firm HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee. “Plus, old exterior doors can be a huge source of energy loss. So you’re improving the look of your house, improving energy efficiency, and you’re able to do it without breaking the bank.”
According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s NARI’s 2015 Remodeling Impact Report, a new steel front entry door has a national median cost of $2,000 installed, and can recover 75% of that cost at resale.:
|Steel Door||Fiberglass Door|
|NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate||$2,000||$2,500|
|REALTORS®’ estimated cost recovered||$1,500||$1,500|
|Percent of value recovered from the project||75%||60%|
Cost Recovery for New Front Door
Update exterior fixtures
Another lost cost way to upgrade that makes a big difference is updating your home’s exterior fixtures: porch lights, garage door lights, walk way lights, door knocker and door bell, mailbox and house numbers. Are they weather-worn, mismatched or just outdated? Here’s your chance to coordinate the small, but important, features that prospective buyers see in the first glance of your home.
You can find these items online or at your local hardware store, just be sure that the pieces you pick match your home style. So, if there are cute numbers with garden embellishments, but you have modern contemporary home, this improvement would take away and not add to your home’s appeal.
According to Houselogic exterior lighting can get a 50% return on your investment (the cost of installed fixtures are $150-$250) and it’s a feature that has high appeal for buyers.
90% of buyers say outdoor lighting is on their list of desired home features. ~ Houselogic
Lawn and garden
Make sure you have the most beautiful entrance on the block with garden beds, shrubs and trees that are well-pruned and color-coordinated. Remove weeds, dead plants and trees, and keep your lawn as green as possible. Consider hiring a lawn and garden professional to do a big spruce up and regular maintenance in the weeks leading up to listing your home for sale. Good landscaping can add up to 28% to overall home value, says landscape economist John Harris. If you list during the spring or summer when your garden and lawn is active, it may be difficult to keep up with this important element of curb appeal – so professional assistance could be invaluable.
Also, make sure your mulch is fresh (and not too close to your foundation), maintain your walkways, front steps and hand railings to be sure they are weed-free, all hardscaping (pavers, brick, concrete) is in excellent condition and there is no rust to be found.
Don’t forget about adding trees! They provide beauty, comfort and energy efficiency and definitely add to your home’s value at resale. So spruce up your spruce or add a live oak to up your appeal. Not sure what trees will give the best return? The National Tree Benefit Calculator can help with that! Click here to use it!
Spruce up your home’s siding
Whether you have stone, brick, stucco or vinyl siding, power washing these surfaces and gutters is a must. If you have heavy grime or mildew, make sure to use more powerful additives like bleach and/or TSP.
Adding a hardscape exterior is not cost-effect and not likely to bring you a favorable return on investment. However, if your home’s vinyl siding is in bad shape, you are likely to see a bump in home value that justifies the cost.
|Vinyl Siding||Fiber-Cement Siding|
|NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate||$12,000||$19,100|
|REALTORS®’ estimated cost recovered||$10,000||$15,000|
|Percent of value recovered from the project||83%||79%|
Cost Recovery for New Siding