Remodeling for Resale

I’ve decided I want to be a color consultant.  Seriously.  I think the job would be so fun.  I can’t tell you the number of rooms I have painted in the last 10 years.  Countless.  I’m a bit of a painting fanatic.  Every house we move into I paint almost every room.  Honestly it’s the cheapest way to make my new house my home and I find painting a little therapeutic.  I get this “high” deciding what color to paint what room.  I LOVE and obsess over it.  I also LOVE to figure out ways to make our houses better for resale value.  We have known with each house that it is not our “forever home”.  This perspective really helps when trying to remodel.   We have learned over the years where to spend our money to get the most bang for our buck.  I feel like I could totally buy a house and flip it for a pretty good profit.  If only the money were there for that type of risky investment.  HA!  Back to the point….I hope I can share with you a few tips we have learned along the way.

First up….Paint.  I’m a firm believer that if you like a color and want to live in it – go for it.  JUST REMEMBER – not everyone likes bold color statements so when it comes time to sell, you will more than likely have to repaint if you went with crazy color choices.  The only exception I see to this is kids’ rooms.  Most buyers will look at bedrooms and either be “oh this will work perfect for little Johnny” or they will say “well we will have to repaint”.  Let’s face it, we parents will do anything for our children when it comes to a new house and their rooms.  Other rooms, on the other hand, we aren’t so anxious to repaint.  I’ve never let the color on the wall scare me away from buying a house….but then again, I love to paint.

Second….bathrooms and kitchens.  These rooms are the two most used rooms in the house.  If they are outdated, you will definitely get your monies worth whatever work you do to these rooms.  When we bought our house in Vegas, the bathrooms were outdated and “well-loved”.  We didn’t want to spend a ton of money so we did what we could to update the look.  Here’s our before and after of the master bathroom:
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We basically spent our money on new granite countertops.  The rest were smaller items such as new sink faucets and lighting.  Then my handy husband framed the mirror and I refinished the cabinets.  We didn’t want to spend the money on new cabinets so I used Rustoleum’s Cabinet refinishing kit and I think they turned out so much better than I expected!  We did a similar thing to our kids bathroom.  Here’s the before and after of theirs:
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Those two rooms alone got us WAY more money for the house.

Next up:  Flooring.  Another upgrade we did in Vegas was put new carpet throughout the house.  This was more of a must than a want.  The previous owners had cats and dogs and they had destroyed the carpet.  My opinion on flooring is – if it’s not worn out, don’t waste your money.  Don’t spend your money on changing carpet if it’s not desperately needed.  Now, if you want to change carpet to hardwood – I think it would be a wise investment.  I hated the tile we had in Vegas but really….not worth the cost or effort for resale.

The truth about Basements – If it’s unfinished, think about finishing it.  We did this with our very first house.  We literally doubled our square footage of the house.  Our resale showed it too!  However if you don’t have the funds to take on such a task (or a handy husband like me), don’t make it a priority.  You will still be able to sell the house.

Lighting – it really does make a difference.  I absolutely think you can get more money when changing outdated lighting.  Changing out light fixtures is inexpensive and can really update the house instantly.  Case in point, top fixtures are before and bottom are after:
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Disclosure:  That china cabinet with the doll and stuffy fake flowers IS NOT mine!  LOL!

What about the little things?
In almost every house we have owned, I have wanted to take out sliding glass doors (I can’t seem to get away from them!) and put in french doors.  My hubby has always objected saying it wouldn’t “up” the value of our house for the money spent.  I have to agree.  Not once did I walk in the house and say “well, we aren’t buying this one, there’s no french doors”.  (Obviously since I have had sliding doors in every.single.house.)  I mean sure we could spend the money to do it but it’s not going to get us more for the house when we sell.  You don’t price a house based on types of doors.

Landscaping can certainly enhance the look of the outside of your home.  Is it worth it?  Depends.  First off you want to make your house appealing to come in the door.  So there – yes.  Any more than that, you have to factor in the type of environment.  We spent some money on the landscaping in our Vegas home around the pool (because you are outside a lot in Vegas!).   The backyard was tired and some was unfinished, so we gave it a fresh face.  Angeline spent money a few years ago to put in a pool in their TX home.  Once again, I think they will definitely get their money back there.  Now, if I got the crazy idea to put a pool in my yard here in MN – ummmm yeah that would be a wash.

Our most recent remodel project was this past month.  When we bought this house is MN it had the worst built in in the basement.  Take a look:
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It just screams HONEY OAK!  Now, I will say, that the original built-in was for a smaller tv and it had doors on everything (could you imagine?).  The prior owners “modified” it to fit a bigger tv.  But really….it served no purpose and I hated how all the kids game stuff spilled out everywhere.  And when it came to movie night, all five of us were squooshed in one corner.  Not my idea of fun.  So….we ripped the baby out, patched up the carpet underneath and re-did the drywall behind it.  Here’s the finished product:
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Don’t look too closely, we still need to put up baseboards.  However, I really think it makes the fireplace more of a focal point now.  AND it was a small investment that packs a big punch for resale.  The dated “honey oak” that they love here in MN is minimal now and the room is much more spacious.  Oh and in case you were wondering, I got the media center at Cost Plus World Market (and the best part is all the kids gaming stuff is HIDDEN!)

There’s a lot you can do for little money to improve your home for resale.  Most importantly update with stuff you like and can live with BUT that everyone else will like too.  If you are in your “forever home”, I say congrats and do whatever you want to spend your money on!  But for those of us still waiting on that, let’s be wise with our money and use it to hopefully make more in the long run.  Oh and if anyone out there knows how to become a color consultant, please contact me. My husband doesn’t believe it’s an actual job.

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