10 Home Remodel Tips for a Successful Renovation

10 Home Remodel Tips for a Successful Renovation

The number one factor people consider when buying a home is location — a home should be close enough to work, the right school, and near the amenities. A close second is the way the property looks and the amenities on the property itself. Some buyers want a gas stove; others need an accessible shower. Three bedrooms might be the perfect fit, or four bedrooms might be the bare minimum. As a home seller in Houston, your home is already in a great location. But you can make your home even more valuable by strategically remodeling it and making it pop among other homes for sale in the area.

Here, we have compiled 10 remodel tips homeowners have used for years to beautify and upgrade their homes in preparation for a sale. 

10 Remodeling Tips that will Help you Save Money while Boosting Your Home's Selling Potential

Some of these tips apply to the planning stages of getting your home ready for the market, while others can help you navigate the renovations themselves. Use each for a successful renovation that fits your budget, timeline, and capacity.

1. Decide when you want to put your home on the market and whether you want it updated or move-in ready

Renovations take time, especially while many contractors struggle with material and labor shortages. If you need to sell your home and move out quickly, you might opt for some bare-bones (but still valuable) changes, such as interior paint and new light fixtures. Alternatively, if you have time or are not on any particular schedule, you can focus on maximizing your ROI.

Similarly, consider the degree to which you want to renovate your home. There are three basic tiers:
  • As-is: If you are not interested in renovating, you do not have to! However, this may limit interest in your property or the potential offer prices you get.

  • Updates and upgrades: You might pick a handful of projects with the best results, such as upgrading the lights, installing new flooring, and installing new countertops.

  • Move-in ready: A complete renovation that modernizes your property will get the most eyes on your property. With a savvy real estate agent and a network of contractors, you can get a significant return on this kind of project.

2. Choose the remodel and upgrade projects with the most potential

Some remodeling projects have a higher ROI than others. For example, a swimming pool is an expensive project, and you will pay far more than you will see in your home's resulting appreciation. The National Association of Realtors annually documents the remodeling options with the biggest impact. Recently, those projects have included refinishing existing hardwood floors, installing new flooring, and upgrading the insulation. Different neighborhoods and regions will have slightly different trends and metrics.

3. Shop around for the right contractors and services providers

Once you know what projects you want, shop around for the right contractors. Along with standard factors such as experience and price, you will also want to consider the speed and transferable warranties. These considerations become a priority when making renovations for a future buyer rather than for yourself. Ask them for recommendations if you are already working with a real estate agent. Chances are they have a network of local professionals and have seen their work first-hand.

4. Decide where you can DIY to save money

Depending on your availability and interest in taking on some of the renovations, there are some projects you can do yourself to save money. Installing kitchen cabinet handles can be an afternoon project. So can recaulking your home's showers and tubs. You might even take on more complex tasks like painting the bedrooms, installing modern closet shelves, and planting new landscaping plants.

However, some tasks should be handled by a professional. Installing a new water heater or other appliances, installing new carpet, and any plumbing or electrical upgrades should be done by licensed contractors.

5. Think of your remodel as a business project

When spending money on renovations, letting your personal preferences or style guide your decisions is easy. However, it is important to think about the upgrades as would a real estate investor or a third party — what will appeal to the widest number of prospective buyers? Focus on general changes that matter to buyers, even if they are options that don't necessarily fit your style.

You might even visit open houses or browse listings online to see what common upgrades you see in your neighborhood.

6. Be strategic about building materials

It is important to pick neutral and advantageous building materials. Look for standard, popular, and neutral options. You can even ask your contractors if they have excess materials from previous jobs that are available at a discounted rate.

Alternatively, work with contractors who allow you to provide your own materials. Then you are just paying them for the labor and warranties, and you can look for affordable materials at home improvement stores.

7. Declutter your home and start packing as early as possible

No matter the size of your renovation project, start decluttering and packing as early as you can. This makes it easy to manage the projects, stage your home, take photos, and allow open houses. No one wants to see someone else’s things in photos, so while you’re cleaning up and putting away to prep for a renovation, consider what things are really worth hanging onto.

8. Keep good records, receipts, and warranties

Throughout the renovation, diligently track your receipts, communications, and warranty documents. It is important to ensure you stay within your budget, and receipts are handy for returning any excess materials. Also, if you keep your warranty documents or documents about the completion date for contracted work, your real estate agent can add them to your listing details. This makes your home more appealing and provides upfront proof of the quality of the upgrades.

9. Clean matters most, new matters second, and fancy matters third

No one has a limitless budget for renovating their home. So if you are trying to prioritize renovations and decide which changes are the most important for selling your home at a good price, follow this order. Prospective buyers care a lot about seeing a clean home. If a bathroom renovation is not within the budget, then new caulk and a good scrubbing can do the trick. Dirtiness will be more memorable than new installations.

When you have the budget, prioritize upgrading older things: worn countertops, original lights, and aging carpets. The replacements don't have to be expensive or fancy — modernity matters most here. Also consider that tastes vary, so what one might consider fancy, another may scoff at. Keep it simple, elegant, and attractive across the board.

10. Never skip the landscaping!

Finally, many people focus on the entirety of their homes but often forget the exterior. Spending a few hundred or a few thousand upgrading your curb appeal with newly painted gutters, seasonal plants, and fresh mulch beds will make your property pop. Remember, this is the first thing prospective buyers will see when approaching your home – give them a reason to want to come inside!

Strategize with a realtor to pick the renovations with the biggest impact on the bottom line

These remodeling tips will help you strategically renovate your home to include what homebuyers care about most. If you work with a realtor from the start, we can give you personalized recommendations for your home based on trends in Houston and surrounding areas, and the renovations in homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood. For some helpful insights, reach out to Eastwood Realty. We are here to help you sell your home every step of the way.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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