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Boosting Your Home's Value: Renovations To Consider Before Listing (Is It Worth It?)

When preparing to sell your home, strategic renovations and repairs can significantly enhance its appeal and increase its market value. Local real estate agent Jamey Gelardi of Houlihan Lawrence, a seasoned professional with a keen eye for market trends and owner of a renovation business, shares insights on key renovations to consider before listing your property.

A den prior to renovations by Jamey Gelardi.

A den prior to renovations by Jamey Gelardi.

Photo Credit: Jamey Gelardi
After renovations by Jamey Gelardi were complete.

After renovations by Jamey Gelardi were complete.

Photo Credit: Jamey Gelardi

Curb Appeal Matters: First impressions count, and the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers see. Invest in landscaping, fresh paint for the front door, and clean outdoor spaces. According to Gelardi, "Curb appeal is crucial for drawing in potential buyers. A well-maintained exterior sets the tone for what they can expect inside."

Kitchen and Bath Upgrades: Kitchens and bathrooms are often focal points for buyers. These renovations can get expensive and Gelardi doesn't necessarily recommend renovating just for the purpose of a sale. "If your plan is to sell in the near future, 1-3 years from now, then renovations make sense if they are needed and the homeowner has time to enjoy them," he explained. "If your timeline for selling is within the year, maybe consider updating fixtures, countertops, and appliances to give these spaces a modern and fresh look."

I’m looking for consistency and I like to look at the overall condition of the house before deciding on a renovation project. If most of the house has been renovated and there is one bathroom that isn’t up to par with the rest of the house, I might recommend upgrading that one particular bathroom. On the other hand, if all the bathrooms are in need of a renovation, I do not recommend renovating everything for multiple reasons. Renovations are expensive and time consuming. These days it can takes several weeks for items to come in, delays can disrupt your timing on the market and it's hard to guess what potential buyers might like. I have seen brand new kitchens and bathrooms completely gutted and redone because the new buyers had a different vision. I don’t see owners get the return on investment they're hoping for unless they have time to enjoy the upgrades before they sell. Instead, save the money, time, and disruption to your home life by pricing the home appropriately, and leave the large, costly decisions to the next owner.

Energy-Efficient Improvements: Eco-friendly features not only attract environmentally conscious buyers but can also lead to long-term cost savings. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows, appliances, and lighting. "Buyers are increasingly looking for homes with energy-efficient features, and these upgrades can make your property stand out," Gelardi noted. "An easy and inexpensive upgrade I recommend to sellers of older homes is simply replacing outdated recessed lights with new LED hi-hats and dimmer switches, which are aesthetically more attractive, provide better light, and save in electric costs."

Smart Home Technology: Integrating smart home features can give your property a modern edge. Consider adding smart thermostats, lighting, or security systems. According to Gelardi, "Buyers are drawn to the convenience and efficiency of smart home technology. It adds a contemporary touch to the property."

Small repairs: Addressing many of the minor repairs needed in a home can go a long way. All homes have small issues that homeowners have overlooked for so long that they don’t notice them anymore. When scrutinized through the eyes of potential buyers, they're more noticeable and can impact the sale. Examples are leaky faucets, closets with missing or non-functioning doors, loose handles and hardware, locks that don’t work, missing receptacle and light covers, drawers that don’t close properly, small holes in the wall, etc. While not technically renovations, they are inexpensive fixes that Gelardi highly recommends addressing.

Fresh Paint: According to Gelardi, this is probably the biggest bang for your buck. Paint will help freshen up the home and get rid of any scuffs and scratches that have occurred over the years. "Remove any old wallpaper if possible, and stick to neutral tones for a broad appeal," he suggested. "This allows potential buyers to envision their style in the space."

Most importantly, Gelardi emphasized the importance of consulting with a real estate professional before embarking on major renovations. "Knowing the local market trends is crucial to determine which upgrades will provide the best return on investment," he advised. By carefully selecting renovations that align with the overall condition of your home and current market demands, you can maximize your home's value and appeal to a larger pool of potential buyers. Visit Jamey Gelardi's website for personalized insights or to find out what your home is worth.