Updating and beautifying your home is a sure-fire way to get more potential buyers in the door. However, many sellers make the mistake of making too many upgrades or upgrading things that do not increase the property value. Some people even make upgrades that end up turning OFF buyers! Before you take a sledgehammer to the bathroom wall or make a trip to Home Depot, consider making only necessary repairs and only the upgrades that will pay for themselves by substantially increasing your home’s value.
Upgrades to Avoid:
Don’t Add a Pool Unless YOU are Swimming In It
You will not be able to add the price you pay for a pool onto the previous value of the home. It doesn’t work that way. We have seen people spend over 50k to add a new pool, only to be able to add a couple thousand to their asking price. Typically pools will increase the value of your home by 7%. The median sale price in Birmingham is $206,000 which means adding a pool to your home would net you $14,420 more. When most pools go for $30k and up, it doesn’t make much financial sense to add one unless you plan on swimming in the pool yourself for years to come. A pool will end up costing you more than it adds value. Point blank: A pool doesn’t provide returns. Not only will you not be able to get your money back from it, you could potentially turn away buyers who don’t want the hassle of maintaining a pool. No bueno when you’re looking to sell!
Don’t Get So Personal
There is a reason Realtors usually recommend removing any personal items. Avoid overly customized designs. This can include overly designed kitchens, baths and anything else that you consider one of a kind. Consider toning down bold colored rooms and creating environments that are a bit more neutral. A can of paint is a lot less expensive than a total room redo. And on that note…
Don’t Decide for Your Buyers
If there are obvious repairs or upgrades needed, don’t make them. Instead, provide a credit to the buyer, so they can have things done the way they want. It can be a great incentive when buyers have the ability to decide on the details of the home. People will be attracted to the idea of choosing their own countertops and lighting fixtures. Some people, like myself, would much rather do the work themselves rather than hire someone. This way I know when and how it was repaired. I would much rather take a credit than the seller make the repairs knowing I would take more pride in it if I did it myself. Point Blank: Don’t make upgrades based on your own personal enjoyment or taste.
Leave the Basement Alone
Do you have a house with an unfinished basement? If, so… leave it that way. The costs to finish the basement aren’t worth what you will get back. Plus, many buyers will choose to renovate those areas on their own terms. If you haven’t renovated it while you lived there, there is no reason to do it now that you are trying to sell. Point Blank: An unfinished basement is best left that way.
Make the Space Intentional
Keep the rooms as they were intended. Extra bedroom? Keep it a bedroom, not an office. Let the prospective buyers decide how they want to use the space. A room conversion will only knock down the perceived value. A 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home will get more traction than a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom + den at the same price. Also, a gym/office/library/breakfast nook can become confusing. Point blank: Plan your space with purpose.
What are the Neighbors Doing?
Take a look at other homes in your neighborhood and keep your upgrades somewhere in the middle. If you go too far with your add-ons, you will be targeting high-end buyers. And maybe your neighborhood isn’t known for that. In addition, you will alienate buyers who love your neighborhood but don’t want to pay the high price. Point blank: Keep your property competitive within your neighborhood, but don’t take it too far!