Charlotte’s white-hot housing market has shown signs of starting to cool in recent months, meaning some looking to wade into the real estate market on the seller’s side aren’t seeing as many of the eye-popping offers reported earlier in the year.
If you’re looking to put your home on the market and want to maximize your profits, experts say, it may be worthwhile to consider taking on some renovation projects, even if they’re relatively minor updates.
Here are some expert tips to help you build equity in your home and get the most out of it when it’s time to sell:
Update the outdated
When preparing your home for listing, you need to take into consideration that what was popular when you bought your place may not be as desirable now, Will Allen, the owner of Renovation Sells Charlotte, notes.
“The largest group of home sellers now is the baby boomer generation, and millennials make up the largest group of buyers,” he said. “So what we have is a totally disjointed market where we have baby boomers who built houses in the late ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s that have become outdated.”
And many of those millennial buyers, he added, aren’t looking for homes they’ll have to renovate themselves after purchasing.
“They want completely turnkey houses to walk into day one, so one thing we saw even during the crazy buyer rush over the last few years was that if the house wasn’t completely perfect and ready to go, it just didn’t get the same amount of traction an updated house would,” said Allen, whose company focuses on renovating homes that will soon after being put on the market.
Consider current trends
Knowing the styles that are popular among current home buyers can help you get the most bang for your buck once you start showing your home and taking offers.
In today’s Charlotte market, Allen notes, that means for many a “fresh look” defined by “lighter,” “brighter” colors.
And in the kitchen, stainless steel appliances are still popular.
“A lot of the old, browner cabinets that were really popular in the late ‘90s and early 2000s with darker, greenish tone granite are completely out, so getting rid of that is a huge one that buyers are looking for,” Allen added.
Keep things relatively neutral
Embracing your own unique style is part of making a house a home, but, Allen advises, leaving features that are very out-of-box up when showing your home can turn off some buyers.
Instead, Allen advises “neutralizing a home” by going with a style that can appeal to a broad range of prospective buyers.
He cited the example of a Cotswold townhome community where his company did work earlier in the year. In one unit up for sale, the owners had kept features such as “wild” wallpaper, black accent walls and “the craziest counter stone I’ve ever seen,” Allen said. Another unit up for sale at the same time that was “400 square feet smaller” was renovated to get a more “clean, fresh” look.
The smaller townhome “ended up selling for several $100,000 more than the one four units down,” Allen said.
Small changes can have a big impact
You don’t have to take on a major construction project to add value before listing your home for sale, Allen notes.
“The most important thing you can do above all else is a fresh coat of paint,” he said. “You’ve got to do a fresh coat of paint.”
Other updates that can have a “huge impact,” Allen advises, include:
Updating flooring that’s “in bad condition or just completely outdated”
Adding a kitchen backsplash and updating kitchen cabinetry and hardware
Installing new light fixtures
Getting new tiling, shower glass and/or vanity fixtures in bathrooms
Work with someone trustworthy and efficient
If you do want to take on a renovation before selling that will require outside help, such as a contractor, Allen emphasizes the importance of doing your research before hiring someone to make sure you don’t end up with the entire selling process held up.
“The market is changing so quickly, so people need to pick contractors that aren’t going to drag them on for six months,” he said. “They need professional, reliable crews that can be in and out in a matter of weeks instead of risking poor market timing.”