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Be smart when it comes to making home improvements before putting your home on the market. Some things make good sense while others simply cost money and are impossible to recoup.
I found a great article by author Sid Davis that shares some great tips for choosing makeovers that sell. I thought I would include some of his great home age related tips below. I agreed with his statement that in this market that potential homebuyers will be passing up your home if there are others with better landscaping, less flaws, less handyman work and even if they don’t like the way the home smells.
I really liked his tip of paying for a pre-sale inspection (typically $300-$350) then fix these issues prior to putting your home on the market. The items fixed can be added toa pre-sale buyers folder. What a great marketing tool! Now they look at your home and see that it is move in ready.
Homes often have items to be fixed due to their age while also offering some great appeal. Below is a great tip sheet on areas you might consider first in making updates to market your home. These are according to “Making Hard Cash in a Soft Real Estate Market.”
Pre-’60s homes: Add power, check pipes, remove carpeting
Below those carpets is often hardwood flooring a huge bonus in today’s homes. On the down side most pre 60’s homes need to have the electric service updated. Between the 1960’s until today we have gone from having 60amp service to200 amp service in today’s homes. It takes lots of energy to run today’s electronics and appliances. Wiring is another consideration. Older homes sometimes have aluminum wiring that no longer meets codes and should be replaced. Plumbing is your next consideration. If your lucky you have copper pipes as galvanized pipes corrode over time and can begin leaking.
’60s homes: Replace windows, update cabinets
Changing out those old, single paned aluminum slider windows can save you 25% on heating and cooling and you can update that kitchen by replacing kitchen cabinet hardware. If your cabinets are hardwood you will want to consider cleaning, or re-facing the cabinets.
’70s homes: Update kitchens and baths, lose wild colors
Tone down those crazy colors. I grew up in a home with a puce green tub and toilet. What were we all thinking back then? I had friends who had the bright orange or red carpets and countertops. Luckily these went out of style, but sadly they are still our there in homes of the 70’s era. Simply bringing in some updates will bring these homes up to date. This is sometimes as easy as a fresh coat of paint. Modern epoxies can be used to bring new life to those green bathtubs and toilets. Good news! Dated exteriors can be transformed reasonably in the same fashion.
’80s homes: Upgrade countertops, ditch wallpaper, detail
Here I really liked the author’s advice. Look at your neighbor’s homes. If they have granite then so will you. If they have Corian then that is what you will go with. Wallpaper was another 80’s trend that will totally date your home. Consider getting rid of all of the wallpaper and opt instead for some neutral painted walls. Take some time to replace or upgrade dingy switchplates, worn doorknobs and trim molding.
’90s homes: Upgrade appliances, clean or replace carpeting
One would think that with a 90’s home you would have less upgrades than something from the 80’s but often those appliances only last 10-15 years so updating them is a good idea. Generally furnaces last 12-14 years, air conditioning about 10 years, and the water heater, stove/oven, washer/dryer and the dishwasher will be going soon too. These are good items to replace sooner rather than later. The bonus is that with the new Energy Star appliances you will find that these new appliances might actually pay for themselves. Davis recommends waiting on the roof however. Instead have it inspected and include the information in your buyer’s packet. Lastly, make sure those carpets are clean. When potential buyers see clean carpets they immediately think that they can move in rather than having to do a bunch of immediate clean up work before they can move in. You want them to see your house as their next home!