Timelines for home improvements to reap the best ROI

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There are those homeowners who care little about making improvements to their homes for anyone but themselves. Their homes are their castles, and whether each improvement they make brings a ton of added value to the home is not a big concern because it’s hard to even fathom the idea of selling.

And then there are those who consider it prudent to be judicious about the improvements they make to their homes as well as the timing of them. Some in this group have a plan to sell and either move up or downsize within an arbitrary time frame. Jobs, family demographics changes (family planning or empty nester status) often change the dynamic of their plans.

But what upgrades are the most salient choices for those who not only want to live well, but also add a good return on investment (ROI) as they go along? “Home sellers are often told to make upgrades to their house before they sell,” says Realtor.com’s Cathie Ericson. But when is the most logical time to get those home improvements underway?

Striking a balance between personal enjoyment and future ROI can be a conundrum. “After all, the sooner you remodel your kitchen or retile the bathroom, the more you’ll get to enjoy it all yourself,” says Ericson. “But if you make those improvements too long before you sell, you risk them looking run-down and outdated by the time you want to market your home. So, when’s the right time to give the green light?”

So Ericson researched such questions in the hopes of ending your misery now. She offers home improvements that make you happy now and still look fresh enough to fetch top dollar when the time comes to sell.

If you know that you’ll be in your home no more than 7-10 years, Ericson suggests redoing your landscaping. It’s one of those projects that actually improves with age, since shrubs and trees only improve as they mature — especially if you plant a row of trees for privacy along a fence or property line. Landscaping, unlike decor, never really becomes outdated. But think twice about elements like a meditation nook, bocce ball court, or koi pond — all of which may require maintenance. Keep your additions relatively mainstream and user-friendly.

Next, Ericson says to update the garage door. “Believe it or not, updating your garage door is the top upgrade you can make in terms of return on investment.” Since garage doors can last for up to 40 years, this is an update you can enjoy right now, without worrying about taking a depreciation hit.

Replacing your roof is not for the faint of heart, but if your roof is not a concrete tile or metal roof and more than 20 years old and you plan on selling, you may want to replace it. New roofs are a great selling point.”

If you think you’ll be selling in five years or so, it’s a good time to start thinking about big-ticket items that will affect your resale and that you won’t want to pay for all at once. These include replacing HVAC systems, plumbing—anything whose average life expectancy is relatively long, and where you want your listing to showcase that these key systems are less than five years old. Plus, you can enjoy them all now. Look for anything with a warranty as well — windows and appliances, etc.

Like a garage door, your front door is an important part of your home’s curb appeal and future value. A front door changeout can make your house pop as well as potentially increase energy efficiency. “Front doors can last for decades, but they are also exposed to the elements, so this is a good time frame to allow you to enjoy the aesthetics and energy savings, without running the risk that it will look too weathered come sales time,” says Ericson.

If you’re just a few years out from the prospect of selling, it’s time to really start getting serious. Now is the time to consider that kitchen or bathroom remodel. “This can be subjective, but you’re probably safe doing an overhaul in this time frame if you are hoping to get some personal enjoyment out of your updates,” she says. But choose your decor carefully to avoid being stuck with an upgrade that’s already dated. Get the opinion of a local real estate agent to steer you to cost-effective updates that will increase the value of your home without over-improving it. But beware of DIY if you’re not a seasoned home improver. Hiring a professional is going to be cheaper in the long run, because the DIY look is unappealing to your potential buyer.

Then start organizing. Clean out storage areas, closets, cabinets, the garage, the attic—anyplace you have an accumulation of stuff. It’s a good practice anyway. This is also a good time to get a professional home inspection done. Surprised? “Very few sellers do this, but it’s smart to have your home professionally inspected right about now, so you won’t run into any nasty surprises when selling time rolls around. And if selling is a few years out, you have time to gather the financial resources to repair anything major. It’s always less expensive to repair items ahead of time than to get into negotiations with a buyer.

If you think you’ll be selling in a year or less, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Attend to all the high-traffic areas, as well as make improvements that will freshen up your listing — such as redoing your flooring (replacing carpet, especially), refinishing hardwood, and updating tile surfaces that look like 1996. Plus — a fresh coat of paint is like giving your home a new lease on life and is one of the less costly improvements to make at this time.

Then on to the little touches that make a big difference to a potential buyer — things like bedding, throw pillows, chair cushions, patio furniture, shower curtains, plumbing fixtures, cabinet pulls—all the embellishments that provide the “lipstick” for the foundational elements. Now is the time to shop sales, scour Home Goods, or Wayfair your life away for a while.

Realtor, TBWS


All information furnished has been forwarded to you and is provided by thetbwsgroup only for informational purposes. Forecasting shall be considered as events which may be expected but not guaranteed. Neither the forwarding party and/or company nor thetbwsgroup assume any responsibility to any person who relies on information or forecasting contained in this report and disclaims all liability in respect to decisions or actions, or lack thereof based on any or all of the contents of this report.

Paramount Residential Mortgage Group
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Brian Voytko

Mortgage Advisor

NMLS: #437292

The Mortgage Whiz

Company NMLS: 338923

Cell: 215-407-3832

Email: BVoytko@PRMG.net

Web: http://www.mtgwhiz.com

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Brian Voytko

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Mortgage Advisor

NMLS: #437292

Cell: 215-407-3832


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