I made several home improvements to my house when I bought it with resale in mind. It's not that I didn't want to personalize my home since I was going to be the one living in it. I'd just heard so many stories of friends and neighbors "flipping" their properties that I looked at certain improvements as a bit of an investment within an investment.
In other words, I could always add my own personality with removable curtains and paint colors. But when it came time to sell my home, what solid improvements or renovations did I make that would garner a higher selling price?
Choosing the gourmet kitchen
I love to cook without a doubt, but I could cook with an electric tea pot if I really had to. I decided to have professionals install maple wood kitchen cabinets, granite countertops and a decorative backsplash. Most real estate agents will say it's the kitchen that sells the house. I invested in the upgraded stainless steel appliances with resale value in mind.
Laying down wood floors
I tried to find maple hardwood floors that would complement the maple wood kitchen cabinets. I had the hardwood floors placed in the great room and dining room. Originally, I was going to leave the base of the staircase carpeted, but the wood floor salesman explained that one day prospective buyers would see the carpet and be turned off.
Parting with some favorite things
When I went to sell my home, I found out that the prospective buyers expected to keep my chandeliers. They also wanted the drapes. Even though drapes and lighting fixtures can be changed out, it paid to find ones that had some universal appeal at listing time. I also had to part with my special closet organizing system.
Landscaping for the next owner
I thought of the possible issues that a prospective buyer might have when I started landscaping my yard. With a barren backyard, I could have planted trees anywhere on the lot. However, I decided to leave plenty of space off the porch in case a future owner decided to put in a swimming pool. I also chose the St. Augustine grass that is a bit fussier, but appears healthier and more vibrant. When it came time to sell a few years later, I wasn't frantically putting in new sod or removing weeds.
In the end, my improvements worked. I was able to sell my home for 30 percent more than I purchased it. Of course, it's not always easy to get an appraisal to work in the seller's favor. But, having a home that is universally appealing does draw several buyers. In the case of my house, there was a bit of a bidding war, which is the only good kind of war to have.
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