By making the right investments in your home, you will not only cause buyers to fall in love, but you will also make a profit when you sell your home. Depending on your neighborhood, your price point, and the size of your home, the following improvements will generally produce at least $2 or more in increased sales price for every $1 you invest. And anything that increases your price will also reduce your “days-on-market.”
- Granite countertops in the kitchen.They are almost a necessity in the Raleigh area if you expect your home to sell for over $250,000. You should be able to get them for $45 per square foot, installed. Go with a standard, lower-priced choice. For higher-end homes, consider granite in the master bath as well. For homes under $250,000, consider granite-looking laminate countertops, or if there is an island in the kitchen, you can consider putting granite there only.
- Stainless steel appliances. You should be able to get a refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher for under $2500. If your current appliances are white or cream color, this is especially important. Black appliances may be okay if they are fairly new.
- Replace old carpets. If they are over five years old, they will not look new when cleaned, unless they are very good quality. New carpet also helps a home smell new.
- Remove wallpaper. Buyers today strongly dislike wallpaper, except for a very subtle pattern in the powder room.
- Refinish dull and scratched hardwood floors. Shining floors make a stunning impact on buyers.
- Paint. Go with a medium beige in the inside, darker than what was, in the past, considered “builder beige”. It makes the home look more expensive and makes white trim “pop”. Paint your front door and shutters black.
This advice is subject to modification based on the specifics of your home, and over time as buyer tastes evolve. In a few years buyers will probably love wallpaper again. I recommend getting the advice of a staging consultant who works with real estate agents. Most interior decorators do not specialize in preparing homes for buyers.
Fixing problems is always better than offering an allowance, because to make up for the problem you will have to reduce your price more than it would have cost you to fix it.