Renovating to Sell: Common Mistakes

In terms of renovations, we have seen it all! When you are upgrading or renovating parts of your home - either for yourself or in preparation to sell, you want to stick with areas that are important to buyers and places that will translate into a good return on the investment, either by a higher sale price or a faster sale. We've already shared how-tos and to-dos about staging (a case study, the importance of) and how to prepare your condo for sale, so how about we focus on some DON'Ts for a change...

Don't...

...Leave your kitchen cabinets without knobs!

Nothing says "I cut corners!" like forgetting important finishing touches, such as, say... HOW TO OPEN A CUPBOARD. 😛 If you took the time, and likely large expense, of renovating a kitchen prior to putting your home on the market, go ahead and spend the extra $100 for knobs and handles on the cabinetry. Leaving them without looks like an "i" without a dot above it; you can read what it's supposed to mean in the sentence, but it just looks wrong. Not only do knobs and pulls finish the look, they also serve to give a sense of style to the room and can make a space look sleeker or more traditional depending on what you choose.

Why, yes, I did actually just buy these from a big box store, install them myself, and potentially forget to properly connect the faucet. Why do you ask?

Why, yes, I did actually just buy these from a big box store, install them myself, and potentially forget to properly connect the faucet. Why do you ask?

Why yes, I did think out this kitchen for both look and functionality! Thank you for noticing.

Why yes, I did think out this kitchen for both look and functionality! Thank you for noticing.

...Install Cheap Countertops!

Are you sensing a theme? Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the home when it comes to making the decision to buy a property. Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens. And just like leaving off knobs and pulls, installing cheap granite with no movement that is sold in-stock at every home box store sends the same message: I don't care enough to do it right. (Which, consequently, leads to buyers wondering what else isn't done right that they can't see...)  We aren't saying you need to spend top-dollar to put in state-of-the-art quartz or super-unique solid surface countertops, but if you are going to try to make a statement, don't make it with cheap granite!

No personality...

No personality...

Pizzazz galore!

Pizzazz galore!

...Install Thin Granite!

Don't waste the money on granite if you are going to drop in 1/2" thick granite.  It looks cheap and most people will just see the renovation as something they'll need to replace to get to current standards anyway.  Hence, they'll see more dollar-signs instead of a newly-updated space, which is entirely opposite of your point. 

This thin-granite look doesn't make a statement. :-(

This thin-granite look doesn't make a statement. :-(

Wow  is what this 3" granite says!

Wow is what this 3" granite says!

...Just Update Part When The Whole Room Needs It!

Sometimes it draws more attention to outdated aspects of a space by updating some but not all older features.  A full-on outdated bathroom with small tile and older cabinetry, with the right staging and accessories, can look classic and full of ecclectic personality! But updating the yellow laminate countertop in this same vintage space to something chic and new will only call more attention to those parts you didn't update, like the shabby shower door and outdated tile. 

Cute & Vintage

Cute & Vintage

Chic & Current

Chic & Current

Some monstrous hybrid of the two!

Some monstrous hybrid of the two!

...Invest Where You Won't See Return (Unless It's Necessary!)

There are updates that add tremendous value to your home: the roof, AC, and appliances are the first that come to mind. Then there are the things sellers update because they think they will see that money come back.  A couple places where you might skip updating unless you have a necessary repair or replacement are:

  • Windows: If they open and close and lock, let them be. Replacing can be both expensive and time-consuming, given that window replacements require permitting.
  • Water Accessories: You need to have a water heater; don't worry about upgrading the size. Likewise, water softeners are a must for few, and a plus for most. Don't add just to sell.
  • Places you can't "see": As long as your majors are covered (like AC and roof as mentioned above), other "guts of the home" renovations might not bring back the return you desire. Stick to repairing and refreshing areas that potential buyers will see while they are making their first impression of your home -- in the photos! Internal home issues can be brought to the table and discussed during inspection and negotiation periods, but you never get the chance to correct the first impression! So de-scuff the moldings, repaint the weird wall colors, swap out antiquated fixtures for something more current, and yes, please hang some inoffensive art to keep it interesting!

We often meet with our past and future clients when they are considering renovations to help discern the essentials from the unnecessary and we would love to be the one you call if you need that kind of input!  Please don't hesitate - we have lots of opinions backed up by experience and we enjoy sharing. :-)