Thinking Remodeling? How to maximize value vs. cost.

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Are you thinking of selling this year? With home price gains slowing in many areas of Ohio, chances are you have thought about updating your house to get top dollar when you sell. But did you know many of my 2014 buyers were looking for on thing above all else: a move-in ready home. This is a trend that I'm sure many other Realtoers can attest to. But before you go spending thousands of dollars, you should think long and hard about what move-in ready really means and more importantly what the net gain in value added will be from any updates.

To many buyers move-in ready doesn't necessarily mean the fancy home you might have seen on one of those home improvement shows. Most buyers would describe move-in ready as a home which is well maintained and with enough updates to meet their expectations. This would mean that the home has appliances that are not damaged or broken, a regularly serviced HVAC system and most of the other small home maintenance projects squared away. This goes without saying that the home must be clean as well as structurally safe and sound. 

But what about updates? 

According to Stacey Moncrieff of NAR, "Just how much sellers can expect to recoup from home improvements depends on the job and the region of the country they live in. There are also factors that vary from house to house and sale to sale, such as what updates are typical for the neighborhood, the quality of the work, and how important the improvement is to a particular buyer."

Here are some quick tips:

  • Relatively simple and low cost projects can offer a greater ROI. Many of the best ROI projects are replacement projects that improve or update the home's features.
  • First impressions are important. Tackle projects that are centerpieces to the room like light fixtures, bath fixtures, painting walls with fresh neutral colors, or other replacement items that can be done DIY.

To help give you a better idea of which projects make sense for your home, you can use the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report as a starting point in discussions with buyers and sellers about the cost and value of remodeling.