Many clients ask what improvements will help their house sell, while requiring minimal investment. The answer largely depends upon how long you plan to stay in the property and when it will be put on the market. For example, a fresh coat of paint or a professionally landscaped yard are improvements that can be made quickly and that will increase appearance and curb appeal tremendously. If you plan to stay in your house for a while, however, you might want to consider more significant improvements that you can enjoy for a few years before listing your house.
The Miami Herald has shared this fabulous article regarding how to decide which home improvements to make before putting your house on the market:
Q. What’s the best relatively affordable (under $2,000) home improvement to improve curb appeal or resale value? My wife and I have been thinking about investing in a pretty extensive paver patio to increase our home’s curb appeal and resale value (and, of course, to use and enjoy over the summer). However, I’m wondering if we’d be better off investing in replacing our somewhat dilapidated garage door or installing a new front entry door before we invest in a “lifestyle” type home improvement. Any ideas?
Joshua P., Indianapolis
The answer depends on what your plans are with your home. Do you plan to move within the next year or two? If so, replacing the garage door and front entry door might be the way to go. The exterior of the home is what is going to make the first impression on a buyer, so neglecting obvious repairs or damage could be an automatic turnoff for the prospective buyers before they ever step foot inside or go beyond to see your pretty pavers out back.
Adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to update and freshen up a home, inside or out. You can also make some aesthetic improvements to your landscaping for a minimal investment, simply by clearing dead plants and weeds, trimming overgrown bushes and shrubs, planting some fresh flowers and plants and adding mulch to flower beds. A well-designed landscape can add 7 to 14 percent to your home’s value.
If, however, you plan to stay in your home for a few more years, the garage and front door are functional and in good shape, then adding a paver patio might be the way to go. You’ll increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value, and like you said, you’ll also get to enjoy the area while you’re using it. In fact, hardscaped exterior living spaces are the hottest trend now. More and more homeowners want to take their entertaining and recreation options outside. The great thing about a hardscaping project is that you can also do it in phases with cutoff points, so that the project is done within your budget and doesn’t look incomplete. For example, this year you could add a paver patio and next year add a fire pit, seating wall, or outdoor kitchen.
Whatever you decide, if you enlist the help of a contractor, be sure to do your homework first, get at least three bids for your project and hire a company that is reputable and is properly licensed and insured. Be sure to ask for references and check into the company’s past work. Doing a little research in advance can ensure the job is done well and within your budget.