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Spring into Action: The Value of Renovations

Spring is on its way, which means warmer weather, longer days and -- finally -- a reprieve from the cold, damp winter. And while we are still months away from summer, homeowners: it’s time to spring into action! If your goal is to have your home on the renters or sellers market by June, now is the time to start preparing. It can be an arduous process, so diving in sooner rather than later will only benefit you and everyone involved in getting your home into tip-top shape so you can sell or rent it with success.

Get the ball rolling now

Summertime is prime time for the housing market (who wants to go house hunting in the rain?!) and its respective tradesmen, such as real estate agents, property management companies, maintenance companies, construction crews, etc. Narrowing down the list of who you need to contact to get the ball a-rolling should be the first step of many. Will you be renting or selling? Are there upcoming projects you need completed before you can list? Figuring out these questions will also aid you in getting in touch with the right people.

Renovations: The basics

Depending on whether you’re planning to sell or rent will largely determine the projects you’ll need to invest in.

Rental and sale market standards look different from one another. When selling, you want your home to contain renovations that improve the first impression, such as stellar landscaping, the wow factor, i.e., fresh paint, and the shiny details -- kitchen and bathroom floor-to-ceiling updates, for example. Essentially, you want the interested buyer to remember your home from the dozens of others they’ve seen. When setting your home up to rent, you should consider other factors, like updating the central air system or creating a nice, spacious storage system for the future tenants’ things -- how comfortable and convenient a home is will go a long way in terms of catching a tenant’s eye. Essentially, you need to factor in long-term market fluctuations if you’re renting your home out, versus what you can do now to sell the home tomorrow.

Make a plan

Okay, but how? Well, good question! And a great question for the experts. Start talking to local general contractors to get an idea of where to begin with your renovations and what should happen first (floors or bathroom?) since, as we saw above, they differ depending on whether you’re renting or selling. According to research done by the National Association of Realtors, upgrades that add physical square footage or make the home feel bigger is a good place to start. You can do this by finishing the basement or opening up the floorplan. Add curb appeal: prune your shrubs or slap on a new coat of paint to the outside. Small details, but they will go a long way in making your home stand out and look appealing. Features such as new faucets, knobs and light fixtures can pack a punch and are relatively inexpensive upgrades. Next, lay these plans out and abide by a timeline to ensure all projects are completed by the prime date. And then get with your general contractor to confirm your projected timeline. Contractors' schedules fill up quickly in the Spring and Summer so best to jump on this as soon as possible.

Make a Plan B

Life gets busy, things happen and sometimes, as a result, plans are derailed. Or maybe the simple kitchen renovation ended up costing you a lot more money and time than expected, which causes your projected end date to be well past the prime time window. So what do you do? Well, there are a couple options. One of which is, if your renovation is going to put you at the end of the cycle, consider listing in the following cycle. That way, you can spend the extra time tying up not just the needed renovations but the last-minute projects that seem to crop up with homeownership. When the following cycle arrives, you’ll feel more confident in your home’s potential since you took that extra time. There are other options too. If you don’t want to wait for the following cycle, you could always enter the market at the lower end of the pricing range. This still gives you a chance to garner exposure on the market, even if it isn’t necessarily at the price point you envisioned. This option might cause some headache in regards to your financial goals, so it’s one to consider carefully.

There is a lot that goes into preparing your home for the market, but if you start looking ahead and planning now, the details won’t seem as overwhelming.