Low housing inventory and high buyer demand have resulted in bidding wars even for homes that might normally linger in cooler markets. If you're thinking of selling a property that has increased in value, you might be tempted to list it without doing any repairs or upgrades.
It's understandable that you'd be reluctant to pour tons of money into renovations when so many eager buyers are snapping up homes sold as-is, but you're leaving money on the table if you don't make any improvements to your home. Consider these relatively quick and easy ways to add even more value to your home.
1. Spruce up the entrance
Curb appeal is everything when it comes to attracting buyer interest, but that doesn't have to end at a beautiful lawn and garden. Replacing, or even just repainting, your front door can add value to your home. According to Remodeling's Cost vs. Value Report, you can recoup 65% on a new steel door and 60.9% on a fiberglass door. Even a fresh coat of paint on an existing door can make an impact. A Zillow survey found that painting your door black could increase your home's value by 2.9%.
2. Replace the garage door
Although some garages have been converted into living spaces as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), most are used for storage, and therefore, homeowners tend to care more about what's behind the door than the actual door itself. However, a new garage door tops Remodeling's list of value-added home improvements with a whopping 93.8% return on investment (ROI).
3. Make minor repairs
Do a walk-through of your home and make notes of any repairs that you've been putting off over the months and years. Is there a loose door handle? Tighten it. Does the junk drawer in the kitchen stick every time? Unstick it.
If you're handy, these repairs will take no time; if not, they are worth hiring a handyperson to do them for you. HomeAdvisor (owned by Angi) reports that an independent handyperson will run you between $55 and $75 an hour. Buyers like seeing a well-maintained home, so making small fixes can go a long way.
4. Replace some windows
Homeowners often get chills up their backs, whether it's because of drafty windows or the thought of spending money on replacing them. At an average cost of $850 (per HomeAdvisor), they can definitely add up. While replacing all the windows would certainly add value to the house, it does result in a large chunk of change that you don't want to lay out, especially if you're leaving the home.
However, you can replace some windows, such as the ones on the bottom floor or only the front-facing windows. Buyers like to know that new things are not only installed but also can save them money, and new energy-conserving windows can cut down on heating and cooling costs.
5. Update the kitchen and bath
Without a doubt, homebuyers desire and even expect an updated kitchen and bath. However, you don't have to go high-end with a renovation unless you're in a market that calls for it. According to Remodeling's Cost vs. Value Report, a minor kitchen remodel will recoup 72.2%, and a midrange bath remodel will get back 60.1%. You'll actually score less at resale if you go high-end with either remodel; the data says ROI for upscale kitchen and bath redos are 53.9% and 52.8%, respectively.
6. Add smart technology
A smart move would be to install smart devices that save money. If there's one thing buyers love more than new appliances, it's new appliances that can save them money. A smart thermostat, for example, doesn't cost much to install but goes a long way with the ability to control heating and cooling remotely. The same goes for doorbell cameras that can be viewed via smartphone or tablet, providing much-needed peace of mind when homeowners are away.
7. Finish the basement
Any opportunity to create more living space in a home is a win for buyers, and that includes subterranean space. That doesn't mean you have to convert your basement into a basement apartment, gym, home theater, or (wo)man cave. You could just do a bit of work to remove any of the darkness and dampness inherent to basements so that yours can be used as storage.
8. Create a low-maintenance yard
Unless buyers have a green thumb, they probably like the idea of a beautiful yard on principle but aren't as enthused when it comes to maintaining it. Do some yard work to clean up flower beds and tidy the lawn but also consider adding low-maintenance features like drought-tolerant plants or hardscaping, such as a concrete or paver patio.
Completely paving over the yard is neither necessary nor as low-maintenance as people think -- you do have to pressure wash it from time to time, as well as fix any cracked pavers. But unless you have a sprinkler system installed, buyers typically don't want to inherit extensive lawn-and-garden maintenance duties.
9. Paint the walls a neutral color
Homebuyers like a blank canvas, so they can envision themselves living in the space. That's kind of hard to do when there's a crimson accent wall in the living room or floral wallpaper in another. You might have enjoyed this look while you lived there, and there could very well be a buyer who shares your taste in decor. However, buyers would much prefer the chance to place their own mark on the space. This would be a good time to remove any wallpaper and paint over walls in neutral colors.
With such high demand for limited inventory, it's tempting to leave your space status quo. But as a savvy real estate investor, you'll want to profit as much as you can. This list of fixes won't break the bank or take a lot of time, but they could pay off with higher offers and a quicker sale.