The Silver Bullet of Upgrades When Selling Your Home

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Sorry to break it to you but there is no silver bullet. Every home is different. Every market is different. Every price point is different.

But making smart upgrades to your home before bringing it to market is still one of the best ways to ensure not only a fast sale, but also remains the best way to extract every last drop of potential equity from your home at closing. Good upgrades will get you a 200% or higher return on your investment. Bad upgrades might not net you anything extra at closing.

So does your home need upgrading before you go to market?

Chances are if it wasn’t built in the 2000s or later you can get a healthy return with a little renovating. The other benefit is that you will be able to differentiate yourself from competing homes that don’t necessarily have those upgrades and compete on an even footing with those that do.

So where should you put your money?

That depends on a number of factors. What is your budget? Don’t despair if it’s only a few hundred dollars. I’ve helped homeowners make impactful changes that have contributed to a fruitful sale for less. That being said, you’re probably not going to have much luck renovating a full bathroom for that amount. What are competing homes offering? If every home in your area and price point has granite in the kitchen and you have laminate from the 90s you probably can’t compete without it. But at certain price points a high end upgrade like natural stone countertops may just be an over-improvement with no return to you as a seller.

But are there improvements that are a sure thing?

If you’re toying with the idea of selling in the near future can you get a jump on it with a sure fire project guaranteed to translate to dollar signs? Sorry folks but not really. If you’re doing it yourself, a new coat of paint in a contemporary neutral – like a cool gray tone – can be accomplished on the cheap and is likely a good start. But beyond that you should probably fall back on the opinions of an expert. The bottom line: ask a Realtor you trust. It is not uncommon for me to start working with a seller as early as 6 months or more before they intend to bring their home to market.

People don’t often realize that we are here to help even if it is months before the sale. I can do my job as your agent much better if I have a more desirable product to present to the public. You can get more at closing. Everybody wins. There is nothing more disappointing than meeting a seller for the first time who has poured their savings into all the wrong places with hopes of positioning themselves for a quick sale at top dollar. The buyers that I work with from day one always have better outcomes.

I guess maybe there is a silver bullet after all: a good Realtor.


About the author

Steve Smith
Senior broker and team leader at Irish Realty, Steve has been a top producing agent since 2005 and has represented clients in transactions totaling well over $130M in career sales. With a broad experience base that is not simply limited to single family homes, coupled with his market leading track record of success, Steve has established himself as one of the South Bend area’s most respected Realtors. You can follow Steve on Facebook and several other social media platforms.

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