Your home is likely the single largest purchase you will make and your greatest investment. When you sell it, you obviously want to get the greatest return on that investment. A quick Google search will serve up dozens of articles on the things you can and should do to make the most of your home’s value before you sell. A lot of them have great advice – but there are some things we’d like you to consider as well when looking at what will enhance your property values.
1. Do your homework.
Before investing in a makeover of your home or remodeling of any kind, research the market where you live. If you’ve been in your home for a while, you may not be aware of what the market is like. “In a competitive market like we have in Vancouver, British Columbia, I wouldn’t recommend sellers do anything beyond basic cleaning and perhaps some staging to show the space at its best,” explained Judith Harris, general manager at FirstService Residential. “I’ve seen homes have nine competing bids within hours of going on the market. It’s so competitive that there aren’t many upgrades you can make and get a significant return on that investment.”
Aviv Zumin, president of FS Realty NYC, agreed. “In New York City, I’ve seen realtors suggest kitchen upgrades, for example, that don’t pay off, and in this tight market, those kinds of upgrades aren’t necessary unless the appliances are 20 years out of date,” he said. “In older units, such as some of the older co-ops—and those can be 80 years old or more—a bathroom or kitchen update may help. But the smaller your unit is, the smaller the profit margin will be. If you have a 400-square-foot studio, there isn’t a lot you can do to dramatically increase its value.
Keep in mind that if you live in any kind of managed community, whether a condo or co-op building, strata, townhome or single-family home, you may need approval from your association to complete remodeling work. Check your governing documents, and consider your time frame. If you need to move for work, for example, you may not have the time to go through the approval process to bring in a contractor who will replace your carpets with wood flooring or remodel your bathroom. “In a New York City apartment, a homeowner can’t even replace a window without going through a process,” Zumin said.
2. Make the most of your space.
First, fix the basics: fresh paint if needed, a deep cleaning of carpets and floors, repairs of anything broken. If you have a townhouse or single-family home, make sure that your lawn and landscaping are well-trimmed and in good shape. Power wash the driveway or garage floor if needed. Make sure that everything is clean and tidy.
Then focus on what people see and how that makes them feel. Zumin suggests hiring a stager, an interior designer who can help make an apartment or small home feel more spacious. Stagers know how to warm up cold spaces and make any room seem more inviting. A stager will help you remove anything dated or shabby and minimize personal items so that buyers can envision themselves in the space. A stager will also know how to properly photograph your home, to show it off in online listings. If the home is empty, they may rent furniture to make it seem homier. Open windows to make small rooms seem brighter and larger. Zumin asserted that the value of investing in a stager diminishes the smaller the unit is, so take a close look at the market, as mentioned above, and consider possible returns before making that call.
3. Sell your community too.
Trent Harrison, president, MidAtlantic, at FirstService Residential, said that he thinks a lot of homeowners forget about the value of their communities when selling a home. “Everyone has a pool. Everyone has a clubhouse... But what if you have a lifestyle to sell, along with your home?” he asked. “Talk about the things that set you apart from other neighborhoods. Talk about the family events, programming and activities like fitness classes, hobbyist clubs, Yappy Hours or movie nights. Talk about your association as a warm and welcoming place that people want to live. Having a great lifestyle is just as important to buyers as the physical home they want to purchase,” Harrison asserted. “If the community has a bad culture, that’s not desirable. So if yours has a great culture, make sure that buyers know that.”
And if your community doesn’t have a great culture? “Create one!” Harrison suggested. “I tell people they need to build their communities by getting involved as soon as they move in. Not only are they building a great community they can sell later on if they need to, they’re building a great community they can enjoy at the moment. Everyone getting involved is giving back and that improves resident lifestyles and enhances property values. There is no downside to getting involved on a programming or event committee.”
Selling your home is always a big deal, regardless of the reason. You want to make sure you get the highest possible value for the lowest investment. By knowing your market, making basic repairs and refreshes and using your community as a sales tool, you can enhance your property values without spending a fortune.
To learn more about how a professional property management company can help enhance your property values and improve your lifestyle, contact FirstService Residential
, North America’s property management leader, today.
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