An article I read said that the eyes of buyers light up today when they see a home description containing the the words/terms: granite, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen, stainless steel appliances - but this of course may change in the future.
If your long term goal is to stay in the home for 5-10 years, then with almost any improvment your beneift is "quality of life". It's your home, enjoy living in it.
If the goal were to sell it for maximum profit in a year, maybe it's more of a business/investment question. The very best improvement is probably to add move living space (permitted, of course). Depending on the particluar details, adding a master bedroom with bath and walkin closet to a two bedroom home would make a significant increase in value.
As always, I recommend determining what you are trying to achieve, go from there.
You didn't ask, but the worst improvement is to over-improve for the neighborhood.
But now, what about a row house? or a colonial? or a victorian home? Does granite even work in here? In these homes the mechanicals - the guts are the most important value, double paned windows, 220 wiring, good plumbing, heat and a/c... whether or not the counter is granite is the last thing on a buyers mind if the windows are old, or the ceiling has a leak in it... in these homes the roof and mechanicals make all the difference, b/c the whole home will be personalized, and the buyer will invest in whatever kitchen they want. In the end you have 2 different buyers and 2 different types of properties. So you need to ask yourself a very important question: "Who is the buyer of my home?" Are they techies? or are they gardening types? Do they value sunlight or proximity to a night club - this will dictate how "pret a porte" the home needs to be to demand high dollars.
Sur egranite is nice, but if I want a home with a western or 1950's feel, it just won't go and the 50K you spent in your kitchen will mean nothing to me b/c i want to rip it out.... and that's assuming that I even care to cook...
I agree that granite can be overdone, and for a while there every remodel seemed to look the same. However, I think ANY current remodel choice will be hard-pressed to out-ugly orange shag carpeting. As someone who buys buildings for my own account and fixes them up and sells them as well as for clients, the best things you can do to beautify your home in terms of return on investment are as follows:
1. Outside - initial impressions set the bar for expectations, so even if you gut the inside if you don't address curb appeal you are starting from a negative position.
2. Kitchens & Baths - these rooms are used all the time and remodeling these are your best bets to increase sales price. We are seeing more marble and cesarstone these days on countertops.
3. Roof - one of the first questions potential buyers and agents ask is how old is the roof.
4. Plumbing and elec upgrades - even though you can't see these for the most part it give a potential buyer peace of mind.
Since we do these a lot we have a long list of contractors and material suppliers I'm willing to share upon request.
There are other things you can do, but those would be based upon specific property needs.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
Focus on simple Items:
Fresh Neurtal Paint
Updated Electrical plates and switches
-Pretty much try to make the house feel fresh and new.
I do think Granite/Corain/Quartzite etc etc is a really nice touch to any home kitchen/bath...but keep it clean an neutral and try to appeal to as many people as possible....
Also - Curb Appeal and the FRONT DOOR - If your front door looks like poop what kind of first impression do you think you just made? - Paint the door, get new hardware, kick plate too. (Don't go over the top - unless its a Million Dollar House) - Next is Foyer - often overlooked but aside from the Front(Curb Appeal) its the first and last place a buyer looks when inside the house! - Make sure everything from this vantage point is appealing!
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