Though the real estate market is slowly but surely on the rise, housing inventory remains low, with February 2013 being the lowest point in three years. Many homeowners are postponing selling in the hopes that the value of their home will increase. If you happen to fall in this category, ready to sell soon, or have recently put your house on the market, we’ve got a few professional tips from a Bay Area realtor to add the most value to your home and get the most bang for your buck!
1. Fresh Paint, Fresh Look
One of the simplest and most cost-effective things you can do to update your home is slapping on some fresh paint on your walls. Sticking to neutral paint colors is also advisable, as it looks crisp, clean, and allows the buyers to see the space as a blank canvas for their own vision.
2. Landscaping: More Green = More Green
Potential buyers aren’t just in the market for what’s under the roof. Making sure that your house has substantial curb appeal is just as important. Here are a few, easy ways to beef up your landscaping:
- Plant shade trees. If you aren’t planning on selling your house now but are thinking about doing so down the line, consider planting shade trees. Fully grown shade trees can cut a house’s cooling costs by as much as 40%! Not only are you saving some green in your wallet, you’re also saving wildlife by providing birds and other critters a “home” of their own!
- Include colorful flowers. Adding pops of color to your yard could also make dollar signs pop up in your home’s value. Some colorful, easy-to-maintain, and inexpensive plants you can use are marigolds, pansies, snapdragons, and alyssum. You can find these in trays of 6 for only $2 to $3 at any nursery, Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
- Think Local. Planting local and drought tolerant flora are also ideal because they require less water and maintenance.
And, if you’re willing to go the extra mile, add some unique features to your backyard, including an outdoor area for socializing, especially if you live in California, where the beautiful coastal weather just draws everyone outdoors all-year round. Consider adding an outdoor fireplace/sitting area (please refer back to our outdoor fireplaces blog for ideas.) Including this exterior addition can go a long way in property value especially in the Bay Area real estate market.
3. Kitchen Remodel = Kitch-ing!
As the saying goes, the home is where the heart is. And, in a home, the kitchen is the heart. It can also be considered as a glowing gold mine. Kitchens are worth the most per square footage compared to any other room in your house. Nowadays, it is common to find many homes with outdated kitchens, mostly because the cost to break down those cheap laminate doors could also break your bank. However, you will find that it will also bring you the most profitable return. Make the following updates, if you haven’t already done so:
- Upgrade kitchen appliances. If your kitchen appliances are 3-5 years old or older, it’s time for an upgrade. Buyers are crazy for stainless steel or professional series lines because of the sleek, “designer” look it exudes.
- Replace cabinetry with wood. Avoid using cheap laminate cabinets and replace your cabinets with durable wooden ones. Set yourself apart from competitors by including some unique details, such as custom woodworking or a wine rack. If you’re working on a tight budget, you may also consider re-facing your existing cabinets and simply installing newer, modern hardware.
- Install new countertops. Most outdated kitchens are still using cheap, old field tile. Install granite or marble countertops to add opulence and depth to your kitchen. It is the first thing that buyers will notice and look for in a contemporary home, like the beautiful white Calacatta marble in the Artistic Tile kitchen (bottom). And, if you want to make even more of a statement, consider putting in a backsplash, much like the mosaic tile backsplash seen in the New Ravenna kitchen above (top).
4. Master Bathroom or 5-Star Spa?
Hardworking homeowners need as much relaxation at the end of the day as possible. What buyers are now in search for is a spa-like retreat right in their own home. Here’s how you can achieve this:
- Upgrade outdated tile with glass or natural stone tile. Upgrade those hideous salmon pink ‘70s tile and rotting linoleum with top of the line stone and/or glass tiles to create a luxurious spa look and feel.
- Add a Tile Medallion. The addition of a tile medallion could also bring a unique touch to the space (see our tile medallion blog for more information.)
- Old bathroom fixtures must go. Rid your bathroom of rusting fixtures and replace them with contemporary pieces, such as a rain showerhead, which have become a popular choice in newly renovated bathrooms.
- Go bigger and deeper with soaking tubs. If you can, invest in a large, deep soaking tub with jets. This machine will wash your financial woes away once your house’s “SOLD” sign goes up.
Now that you’ve been equipped with the proper tools increase your home’s worth, get your garden gloves and hardhat on, and begin the process now! Visit our showrooms in San Jose, Burlingame, and Pleasanton for new, updated stone and tile to replace the ancient ones you’ve got in your kitchen and bathroom.
Photo Credit: (In order of appearance)