First Person: We Sold Our House in 2012

Yahoo Contributor Network

We recently sold our home back in February 2012. It was on the market for roughly 8 months before we got a seller willing to buy. Here is some of what we did to renovate our house so that it was presentable.

We only spent 1% of our asking price on the total budget for renovation. We didn't make money back on all of our projects. We started with the kitchen, which we got 65% of what we spent back. We learned from our realtor that most buyers don't want to renovate the kitchen after they buy. The cabinets were cleaned and sanded. We got rid of our old track lighting and replaced with task lighting underneath the cabinets. The back-splashes were replaced with new tiles. Our laminate cabinets and counter tops were replaced with granite. We kept the cooker, dishwasher and refrigerator, because they were already new from 5 years ago.

In our bathrooms, we changed the light fixtures and the vanity. We changed the faucets, taps and shower heads, making sure we stayed under $200. We added some extra shelves and cupboard organizers. We didn't have that high a budget so we decided to not get things like a Jacuzzi or anything spa-like.

We got a 70% return on new coats of paint for the areas that we wanted to paint. Our realtor gave us a marvelous tip, that buyers seem to be more attracted to neutral colors than extreme colors like red or green. So, we decided to paint our maroon walls into a beige color in our living room and dining room. We replaced our old carpets and our old floors with hardwood and laminate, which offered the highest return in today's market.

We replaced our outside doors and windows, because we learned that it would save on energy costs. Landscaping is the most important as it's the first impression the buyer would get as they would drive up to our home. For about $100, we cleaned our front yard, replanted some flower pots, and put a nice fancy welcome mat on the front door.

We decided not to finish the basement, because we would not be using it. We decided not to add a swimming pool, despite the fact that our back yard was big enough for one. We worked with a contractor to make sure that our renovation budget stayed under 1% of our resale price. So perhaps it was pure luck, or hard work. Either way, we hope you have the same success as we did in selling our home.

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