Author Topic: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling  (Read 4222 times)

darkhorse

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Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« on: July 26, 2014, 07:12:09 PM »
New to the forum, and very excited to find something I didn't know that I was looking for. While I feel I'm getting a somewhat late start in this game, I'm already taking some significant steps, thanks to this forum. I do have a few questions on home upgrades that I'd like to float here (not much luck with an archive search).

We plan on moving to another neighborhood in about a year. The primary reason is that our neighborhood public school is quite bad (we've done the research). This probably sounds bad to some on various levels, but it is what it is. Our city's public school system does allow a lottery to a neighboring school, but it is far from a guarantee.

With a probable move in mind, I'm wondering what kind of home upgrades makes sense, if any, to maximize the value of our home. I'm thinking along the lines of upgrade paths from "disrepair" to IKEA-ish, not perfectly functional/cosmetic to opulent.

Not sure this information is needed:

50's 2400 sq ft 2-level daylight ranch
Estimated value (conservative): $410k
Owe: $275k

Areas of concern:
 - most of the windows are older single pane with aluminum frame. ugly and inefficient with marginally functioning hardware. 10-year old vinyl windows on the lower level. Functional but ugly.
 - composite roof has the "look" of "probably gonna need a roof in the next five years". no problems/leaks whatsoever, but I can see some inspector calling it out
 - main bathroom is an old remodel with REALLY cheap stuff. Needs everything, including bathtub, but no pipes/electrical needs to be moved
 - deck needs complete refinishing
 - front door is horribly ugly. an old people door with gold and glass.
 - most walls do not have insulation. needs blown-in insulation

Highlights:
  - really nice kitchen I completely remodeled (except countertop install) 5 years ago
  - very nice refinished hardwoods and new carpet throughout
  - everything else is solid, with nice paint inside and out (of course we'll touch up before sell time). newer heat pump, newer electrical panel. Landscaping is nice

I'm very handy and would take on all the areas of concern, except maybe the door hanging. The deck is a no-brainer as it's mostly elbow grease, but the other items are spendy.

 - windows, would probably go with fiberglass paintable frames, est $5K
 - roof, no idea as I haven't priced it. Maybe $3K??
 - bathroom, my BOM comes in at just under $3K. That's all new cabinets, toilet, bathtub, new tile, paint, floor tile, etc.
 - front door, $600
 - blown-in insulation, again, no idea

All the upgrades will take our home to turnkey, completely dialed. What I don't know is if the sum of these upgrades could actually go beyond break even, and into profit. My gut tells me they can, as we're in a very hot market. It seems like we may have a better outcome by addressing these items to prevent a line item negotiation for individual repairs from the prospective buyer. These are impossible questions to answer with certainty, but I'm struggling with this and would love some feedback!

« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 07:16:04 PM by darkhorse »

MayDay

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2014, 07:33:01 PM »
Here is my anecdotal opinion as a person who has done a lot of house shopping lately.  Fwiw. 

Bathroom:  probably worth it if the current one is really bad, as hiring it out will cost $$$ and most people will hire it out.  Just pick really neutral stuff, not trendy.  Subway tiles, etc.  No accent tile. 

Roof:  leave it alone.

Windows:  leave them alone, as everything I have read says you will never see the money back.

Door:  I could go either way, depends how awful it is. 

Deck:  we are currently in process of refinishing ourselves, and having gone through that hell, I would pay more to have it alread done.  But I have a feeling most people would think, "oh, no problem, that will be easy to take care of".  If you can do it, go for it.  But be aware of the amazing suckage of the project.

Insulation:  sadly I don't think you will get anything back for this.  If you just love the planet, do it, but I wouldn't do it for financial gain. 

StarryC

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2014, 09:02:31 PM »
Another buyer opinion:
Who is your likely buyer?  It sounds like there are several issues, some big some small some shorter some longer term.  If you think your house is on the low end of your neighborhood, maybe do nothing.  You can sell it as a "fixer."  You won't get as much money, but you won't spend any either.  The risk if you do kind of surface/ temp fixes is that you get a fixer-upper style buyer anyway and they factor in replacing all of those repairs anyway. 

How quickly will you be wanting to sell it?  I think putting in a new door and fixing the bathroom probably won't INCREASE your value, but they might help it sell more quickly.  Probably also true of the deck- it can be seen on the MLS listing and might make someone come see it. 

I agree with May Day that since a buyer can't see the insulation you won't get the money back.  Once they move in, they will get the tax breaks and the utility benefits if they want to do it.  I think that's probably true on the roof.  An old roof reduces the value, but a new one doesn't really increase it. 

I don't think anything you do will eliminate negotiations once you have an offer, so take that into account in your pricing. 

greaper007

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2014, 09:11:09 PM »
You'd be really surprised with what you can do with some of the refinishing products on the market these days.   What exactly is wrong with the bathroom, can you post a picture?   You can refinish the bathtub yourself, install new trim for the b-tub fixtures and throw in a new builder grade vanity for less than $200 or so.    Painted tile is an option, or just laying $100 worth of tile could look great.

Is there anyway to paint the front door?   I did this with a big ugly screen door at my last house and it came out great, 6 bucks worth of spray paint.    Hanging a door isn't all that bad, you'll need someone to help you hold it, and some way to mortise out the hinges.    Chisels work great and they get you in touch with your builder roots, or you can buy an inexpensive jig that you use in conjunction with a router.



greaper007

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2014, 09:14:07 PM »
Also, have you thought about renting our your house?    You have a decent amount of equity and I bet your loan is lower than the current rental market rate.    Rentals still seem to be pretty hot in most markets and rent fast as a lot of people still can't get loans.     If you did that, you wouldn't have to fix anything until it broke.

totoro

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 09:43:06 PM »
IMO only these are worth it prior to sale:

1, main bathroom remodel

2. deck  refinishing

3. change the front door

The rest won't pay off likely.  And blown-in insulation can be problematic. 

You might want to research the health risks: http://www.ehow.com/list_7179510_hazards-blown-insulation.html
 

deborah

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 11:00:55 PM »
Look at other similar places in your area, or get a real estate agent in and ask them. Check for the quality of different rooms in the same house - and see what the standard is for your type of house. If your bathroom is terrible and your kitchen is magnificent, there's a mis-match and you won't get the price your kitchen deserves, or you won't sell as quickly as you should. Forget things people can't see.

defenestrate

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 11:14:34 PM »
IMO only these are worth it prior to sale:

1, main bathroom remodel

2. deck  refinishing

3. change the front door

The rest won't pay off likely.  And blown-in insulation can be problematic. 

You might want to research the health risks: http://www.ehow.com/list_7179510_hazards-blown-insulation.html

totally agree. Do not waste your time doing the insulation--buyers rarely take this into serious consideration. Windows are a bit tricky as it will be taken into consideration. Perhaps leave windows as a negotiation point, it is always good to have something to give to the buyers...

DoubleDown

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 11:22:12 AM »
IMO only these are worth it prior to sale:

1, main bathroom remodel

2. deck  refinishing

3. change the front door

The rest won't pay off likely.

+1

AlanStache

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 12:02:22 PM »
If you know a realtor or have one you would likely use can you have them come out as a friend and see what they say?  Mention to them the deck/door and bathroom, see what they say the price differential might be. Also be aware of what the rest of the neighborhood is selling for and understand that even real money upgrades might not change the basic facts of the house that set most all of the price, location-sq feet-bed/bath count.  That said a really ugly bathroom might turn some people off - they wont pay more for a nice bath but would not make an offer on a place with an ugly one.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Home upgrades that make sense prior to selling
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 12:22:02 PM »
I would pay for a nicer bathroom.

If I was into a house and it has a grungy, depressing bathroom, it will immediately knock down the price in my head. I will probably overestimate how much it money and effort it would take to fix it. There could be mold and who knows what else. Bam. I just knocked $10,000 off the house when it may have only cost you $5,000 to fix it up.

But if a realtor tells me the bathroom is newly remodeled with a rainshower head and it looks all nice and spa-like, I just did a quick calculation on what you probably paid for that and it will work in your favor in negotiations. And I am FAR more likely to put in an offer on this house than if I had seen a toilet with strange stains.

On the other hand, a crappy deck wouldn't bother me. Just like the lack of a deck wouldn't bother me. That can be fixed at some point in the future when I feel like tackling it.