Top 3 Upgrades to Consider Before Listing on the MLS

(November 6, 2013)

Selling your home is not as easy as you might want it to be, even in today’s market. In fact, it can be downright hard when your home doesn’t have all of the benefits and upgrades that other active properties in the area offer. For this reason, many people consider upgrading their home before they sell, feeling they can recoup the money on their investment by getting a higher price for the home. While this can work, you have to make sure you are choosing the right upgrades for your property. Listed below are the top three upgrades I feel are usually worth your time and money. You should consider these if you want your property to show well, if not better, than the others on the market.

1. Remodeling the Kitchen

The kitchen is generally the smartest area of the home to remodel, as old and outdated kitchens can turn a homebuyer off very quickly. My recommendations are to refinish or replace the cabinets, swap out the countertops (granite is not as expensive as you think), install new flooring (especially if you currently have linoleum), and replace old appliances. Make sure you keep the upgrades in line with the style of the rest of the home and the other remodeled homes on the market. And choose finishes that are appealing to the widest audience possible. For example, potential buyers may not share your passion for purple. Remember, you’re not going to be living in the home for much longer, so avoid personalization.

2. Remodeling the Bathroom

The bathroom is another area that is worth upgrading before listing. Since bathrooms are such small spaces, a light remodel shouldn’t be too costly if you’re careful. Think neutral tile flooring, new vanity (or at least countertop and faucet), and new shower tile. If replacing the tile in the shower is beyond your budget, consider porcelain refinishing. Once again, think about what a potential buyer would want from the property. If your sink is shaped like a seashell and your toilet is pink, it’s time to upgrade.

3. Landscaping

Upgrading the inside of the house is important, but the interior is not the only thing to consider! The curb appeal of your home is a huge selling factor. In fact, it’s the first thing people see when visiting the property. If you have an unkempt lawn and overgrown hedges, it’s time to get those gardening gloves out. Sprinkle some fertilizer on the lawn, rake up dead leaves, and plant some colorful flowers. You want the first impression to be “welcome home”, not “enter at your own risk”.

Is it Worth the Time and Money?

Before you dust off that hammer, be sure that the time and the money you are putting into the remodel is worth it. Are the upgraded homes nearby selling for that much more? Will you get your investment back and then some? Usually the answer is yes, but in some markets this isn’t the case. Remember that remodeling takes time, and time is money (mortgages, taxes, etc). And you must be prepared for unexpected fixes that arise during the remodeling process. Lastly, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t have the time or money to fix up your property. There are other alternatives to selling your property that don’t involve remodeling or even real estate commissions, for that matter. Ask me today about what they are, or read about them here.


Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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