Basically, a well thought out and planned remodel can be the best investment while riding the wave of the economic tide we are experiencing lately.
The Remodel Magazine 2009 Cost vs. Value report was released at the end of last year. This is an annual feature from the Realtor Magazine published from the National Association of Realtors, and this particular issue is considered a guide for agents in advising Sellers. Many Sellers ask what they can do for their home that will make the most sense and bring the best value when it comes to recouping the expense. We as real estate professionals have the answers on an annual basis as to cost vs. value.
Most real estate agents would agree that a minor kitchen or bathroom remodel will make any home more attractive to today’s buyers looking for value. A major remodel works for an owner if they plan on staying put. For those looking to sell on a budget, I recommend upgrading to Energy Star appliances first. New cabinets not in the budget? Then consider looking in to a procedure called “toning” for cabinets. Different from shading, the best way to describe the two is “toner is made using pigments and a shading stain is made using alcohol based ngr stain”. The best resource I found is http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Shading_and_toning_defined.html . I have to admit I previewed a home listed by a Group One agent in Boise that had the cabinets “toned” and they were remarkable! Who would have thought oak could look so good….Other small upgrades can be new hardware as in hinges & pulls, a painted accent wall, and of course, clearing the counters. Remove the clutter!
Other upgrades in the list of top remodel payoffs are a front entry door and converting attic to usable living space. Makes sense! The front door and entry area are a Buyer’s first impression, a common feature area that makes or breaks a Buyer’s initial reaction to a home they are looking at for the first time. I absolutely recommend keeping the front entry clear of leaves, debris, and cobwebs. Converting empty space to livable space? No brainer. I just toured a new listing that made excellent use of the attic space: it went from two cramped rooms to three usable rooms plus a full bathroom. Very clever, and very well thought out design. Kudos to that idea master!
Of course, there are other upgrades to consider, but the most effective will always be a kitchen, bathroom, front entry and making living space from what was previously non-usable space. Get those tool belts out!