People want to know, what makes a home “updated?” What updates are necessary for a home to be considered “updated” to market standards? An updated home is a home that has been improved to comply with today’s standards. Today’s home buyer (2016) expects an older home to have updates, or to be priced accordingly. Even in tough Seller-markets, a home must be updated in order to get top-asking price for your neighborhood. This article will describe the different things you will want to do to your older home in order to get top-dollar in the marketplace.
The kitchen is the most important room in the house, and therefore needs to be updated first. It should be light, bright, open, spacious and neutral. Here are other updates needed in order of importance.
- Granite Countertops – This is a must in most neighborhoods. Granite countertops not only add to the value of your home, but help it sell much faster too. Choose a neutral color in beige or grey that matches with the rest of the homes color motif.
- New Appliances – New appliances are paramount to an updated home. Anything that’s over 10 years old tends to look ancient and can date your home causing it to sell for less than top dollar. New appliances include: New ovens, microwaves, ranges, dishwashers and vents. Stainless steel is the preferred type of appliance, with black appliances coming in second. White appliances are completely out-of-style.
- Plain Walls – People want plain walls. They want grey first, light beige second, white third. Anything on the walls, including a border or color can date your home. People like a clean look that will suit their own preferences. Grey, beige and white do the trick. Plain walls are preferred throughout the home.
- New or Refurbished Cabinets – New cabinets in white are the preference of most buyers here in 2016. However, you don’t have to replace your cabinets. Buyers are just as happy with painted or refurbished cabinets, just as long as the cabinets are sturdy and in good condition. Oak, cherry are okay cabinet colors as well. Pine stained cabinets are now outdated.
- Open Layout – Many of the older homes have kitchens that are enclosed and separate from the rest of the home. Nowadays people want open kitchens that are practically combined with the living areas. If your kitchen is enclosed, you may consider knocking down a wall to open it up. Remember: Openness trumps cabinet space.
People are often more interested in the aesthetic updates to a home than they are to the mechanics of the home. Meaning, you can get away with an older A/C, but forget getting top dollar if you have old carpet. Here are some other must-haves for an updated home today.
- Hardwood Floors – Hardwood floors are perhaps the most important aspect of the home, apart from granite countertops. People prefer hand-scraped dark colored floors, especially if the home is over $300K in the DFW area. Homes under $300K can get away with other types of hardwoods, as well as laminate flooring.
- Laminate Flooring – If you choose to do laminate floors, I recommend using an upgraded version that looks most like hand-scraped hardwoods. The cheaper laminates look cheap, but still help the home sell much better and for more money than carpet.
- Ceramic Tile – Very few homes have linoleum anymore. Ceramic tile in a neutral color is the preference for bathrooms and kitchens.
- New Paint – Neutral color paint is a must with clean walls with no nail holes, smudge-markets, scuffed areas is preferred by home buyers today. Grey is #1 and beige is #2. Accent walls are not recommended because every person has different tastes. Keep things neutral.
- Flat Ceilings – Get rid of popcorn ceilings. People despise popcorn ceilings, and the process of fixing them can be expensive, especially if your home has vaulted or cathedral ceilings. If your home still has popcorn ceilings, which are considered unsightly as well as a health hazard, then you will need to price it accordingly. The new home owner will want to get this done in the future.
- New Fixtures – Gold fixtures are out, pewter or brushed metal fixtures are in. This includes door knobs, ceiling fans, etc… Gold trim anywhere says that your home is from the 90s and will decrease the value of your home when you go to sell.
- New Windows – You can get away without having new windows, but if your windows are old and have broken seals, you might as well invest in new windows, or else the buyer will ask for them anyway. You need good windows to get top dollar.
Bathrooms are usually the last to be updated, but are still very important, especially those bathrooms on the ground floor. Bathroom updates needed include:
- New tub and shower – An updated home includes an updated tub, shower and fixtures. People want a tiled shower with a tiled pan.
- New Shower Door – Buyers prefer the frameless glass shower door and will pay more for a home that offers this.
- Plain Walls – Again, plain walls win over wall paper.
- New Mirrors – People want decorative mirrors with borders. Any color is fine.
- New Cabinets – People like double sinks in the master with bureau type counters best, so long as the cabinets are fresh and clean looking.
- Granite Countertops – Granite is preferred in the bathrooms with under mount sinks.
Exterior updates are less required than interior updates, however, there are a few things you want to consider about the outside of your home for getting the best resell value.
- Front Door in Good Condition – The front door does not have to be new, but needs to be in decent condition, ie: clean, new paint or stain.
- Clean Landscaping – No need to go all out as landscaping is not what people care about, however, it is important to have trimmed bushes, mowed lawn, etc…
- Gutters & Drainage – Gutters need to be free from damage so that the home looks well taken care of.
- Fence Stained and in Good Condition – An old fence dates the home and should be updated, repaired or stained in order to garner top dollar at the closing table.
There you have it!!! A nice list of things to do to update your home. Of course, you can do it yourself, but it’s best to hire professionals for the most appealing finished look. If you have these updates done, your home should sell within days in the DFW market. Give me a call to discuss buying or selling a home today!