If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may also be considering what updates need to be made in order to increase the overall value of your home. Maybe you’ve spent time and money updating the interior of the house but the exterior is still in serious need of attention. Are there stains on the carpet or outdated wallpaper on the walls? Besides the kitchen and bathrooms, what are some other good remodeling projects to invest in before selling?
Each house is different, and the decision to spend more time and money on fixing things also depends on the current condition of the market.
Nebraska is known nation-wide to have an affordable and healthy housing market. According to a national analysis by Redfin, Lincoln homes are, on average, only on the market for about 10 days and usually receive at least two offers. Homes are very likely to sell around their listed price. However, even though it’s a hot seller’s market and you can probably get away with fewer fix-ups before selling, a home that needs a lot of repairs will deliver a lower price in any market. Buyers might not even bother to look at a home that needs too much major work done.
As home values have been increasing over the past few years, more homeowners are considering the option of remodeling and making improvements to their current home. Some are doing it because they see it as being more cost effective compared to the cost of purchasing a new home in order to obtain the features they desire, while others see it as a way to attract buyers and receive top dollar for a home they wish to sell. Homeowners who are considering selling in the next four to five years should strongly consider updating their home if there are areas that are out of date, specifically the kitchen and master bathroom. This will allow the homeowner to enjoy their renovation for a few years while increasing their chances for a quick sale and for a higher asking price.
If you’re wanting to make improvements to your house to get it ready to sell, getting a pre-renovation inspection of your home before putting it on the market is a good idea. Normally, the buyers are the ones who set up formal inspections, but doing it beforehand can put you ahead of the game. For one, it automatically opens a gateway of trust between buyer and seller. You can foreclose all issues up front, repair them beforehand, and protect yourself from any potential claims your buyer may attempt to make later.
“Having your home inspected before renovating or listing it is recommended in order to avoid any unexpected repairs or costly surprises once the home is under contract,” Randy King with King’s Home Inspection confirmed.
Randy prides himself on customizing the delivery of his results to the clients’ needs. Old house or new, first-time buyer or practiced investor, Randy offers personalized and thorough home inspections to people in the community.
The pre-renovation consultation is a different service than a pre-purchase inspection. The inspection before you buy determines the big picture of the house condition, focusing on the major systems like roof, furnace, plumbing, and wiring. The pre-renovation consultation on the other hand has a scope that is defined more by the homeowner, the work planned, and the details of the house. You may have to decide that the electrical service, heating system, or plumbing should be upgraded to support the new work.
Financing Your Renovation
Most buyers want a home that’s in move-in ready condition. So after the inspection, it’s helpful to make a list of everything that’s defective, broken, or worn out. Smart sellers will then weigh the cost of the proposed improvements against the home’s market value after the repairs or upgrades are completed.
If you’re not able to pay for an improvement project upfront but it’s a project that will turn into money in the future, consider taking out a home equity loan. Home equity loans are a logical, reasonable, and intelligent way to finance home projects that will not only benefit you and your family but can almost always create a higher resale value for you when it comes time to move.
Using a home equity loan instead of charging a remodeling project to your credit card may provide you with a tax deduction, tax credits, or both. This is because mortgage interest may be tax deductible, and if the home improvement projects you complete include certain approved energy-saving items, you may qualify for additional tax credits. Before beginning a project, consult with a tax advisor for further information regarding deductibility of interest.
If you take out a home equity line of credit with Union Bank & Trust, you’ll be able access your funds with a convenient home equity debit card, or you can transfer funds via online banking, phone, or in a branch to your UBT checking account. Union Bank also offers flexible monthly payments. Your home equity loan is subject to credit approval.
Estimating the value of real estate is necessary for a variety of endeavors, including financing, sales listing, investment analysis, property insurance, and taxation. However, for most people, determining the asking or purchase price of a property is the most useful application of real estate valuation.
Lincoln First Realty offers an online valuation request form on their website that is easy to fill out. This is a great first step in the process, but eventually, you will want to sit down and form a good relationship with a real estate agent who will council you based on the condition of the market and your unique financial situation.
“Partner with a professional who you can trust,” advises Brad Hulse, vice president and broker at Lincoln First Realty. “Selling your home is a big deal and there are a lot of things to consider. A real estate agent does more than just schedule showings of your home. We’re here to advise you about updates or repairs that will make your home more attractive, help you set a price for your home, handle all the paperwork, and marketing your home so it receives as much exposure to potential buyers as possible. Lincoln First Realty is a full-service, professional real estate company offering services ranging from representation of buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction to pricing opinions and marketing strategies that assist our clients in the decision making process.”
Establishing a Timeline
Before you commit to a home remodeling project and even do the inspection or get finances in order, make sure you have a good grasp on the timeline for the project you have in mind. Planning ahead is very important. Determine your scope of work and do what you can to get rough estimates from sub-contractors to help solidify your budget. Prioritize aspects of a project based on your daily routines, time of year, family needs, desired date of selling, etc. Acquire any plans and permits necessary to complete the work.
Historically, the number of home sales increases significantly in the spring season. Specifically, sales activity between February and March generally increases by 34% while prices rise by 3% (National Association of REALTORS® ). Sales continue moving upward in the following months, but it is interesting to see that the busiest home selling months are May, June, July, and August. This is something to keep in mind when starting up a remodeling project.
“Timing the sale of your home to correspond with when market conditions are the most favorable is a wise approach, and then you can set the timeline for projects accordingly,” said Ben Bleicher, leader of the Professional Realty Group of Woods Bros Realty team in Lincoln. “If you’re able to hang tight until next spring before listing, you’ll have a good window of time to work with, keeping in mind that the average home renovation takes between four to eight months. Of course, it depends on the size of project. If you are fully renovating or remodeling your house, chances are it could take up to six to eight months or even more if you are adding large spaces with architectural detail. However, if you’re just doing a kitchen and bathroom with some minor cosmetic changes, then it could be just a couple of weeks or months to complete.”
“Spring is traditionally home building season,” Ben added. “Since this is the case and it’s the busiest time for most builders, you’ll probably spend a little more money for their time and materials. That’s just the way supply and demand works. However, this is when you’ll want projects like decks, outdoor living areas, and other landscaping projects done because they require hand-digging and the ground is usually softer in the spring. Plus, outdoor features will have a chance to really grow into themselves throughout the season. Roofing projects are often done in summer because roofing materials need certain high temperatures to seal. Summer is also a good time to complete a bathroom or other interior remodeling project, but if you’re willing to have crews in your home during the holiday season then October through December is actually a good time to schedule your remodel because things are slower for contractors and materials may be less expensive. However, shipping may take longer, so work those extra days into your timeframe.”
Deciding What Improvements to Make
It’s currently a strong seller’s market, and buyers have been facing inventory challenges in certain price ranges. A seller that has made quality improvements and upgrades are typically experiencing high demand for their home and, in a lot of cases, receiving multiple offers. As a homeowner, careful consideration should be made regarding which improvements provide the best return on the investment and which would be considered more of a personal preference and may not lead to a higher resale value.
“When remodeling spaces in a home to prepare for selling, homeowners need to determine what they can afford to put into the home vs. what price point they can sell their house at in the current market,” advised Lori Wellman, co-owner of Lincoln Cabinet. “Simple things such as repainting should be done in neutral colors which are ‘in trend’ at the time of the sale. New countertops or flooring need to be weighed out for the investment and how dated the current materials look. Owners may also need to consider pricing the home lower to allow the purchaser to make changes themselves that fit their look or style once they own the home.”
“At Lincoln Cabinet, we tend to find that we work more with owners who are looking to sell in three to five years, so they are making an investment that allows them to enjoy the improvements while still preparing the home for resale in a few years if it remains a seller’s market,” Lori continued. “New countertops and changing out vinyl flooring to tile in bathrooms are two things we have been doing frequently. Also, adding backsplash tile or replacing a dated backsplash in kitchens are items that can be done and really change the look of the spaces.”
“Based on my experience, people always look at the kitchen, master bath, and closet configurations the most,” Lori shared with us. “These are the spaces that homeowners will either spend the most time in (i.e. kitchen) or be the most frustrated with if there is a poor arrangement (i.e. closets or countertop space in the master bath).”
At Lincoln Cabinet, their goal is to assist you through your remodeling or new construction experience. They work with a quality team of licensed and insured professional subcontractors throughout the design process. Lincoln Cabinet’s highly experienced team has the knowledge and expertise to take your project from concept to completion and will work with you to create a design that fits your style and budget.
Kitchen, Bathrooms, Flooring
It’s no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. If you are going to spend some remodeling money, these are the first places to do it. New faucets, new drawer hardware, new curtains, new light fixtures are among the inexpensive items that give a bright new look to old cabinets, countertops, etc.
“If you want to create a better, new look for your kitchen or are simply looking to refresh your cabinets, cabinet refacing may be for you,” said Jason Krueger with Kitchen Tune-Up. “In just two to four days, you can get give you kitchen completely fresh look! Subtle or dramatic? Rustic or modern? Ornate or streamlined? It’s up to you. Cabinet refacing enables you to revitalize your kitchen with new doors, drawer fronts and matching veneer, while keeping your existing cabinet boxes. Without changing the familiar layout of your kitchen, you can improve both the appearance and durability. You can create a new kitchen look without the new kitchen price tag.”
Countertops are an essential part of the look of your kitchen as well. So, how do you choose the right material for your space, style, and budget?
“Kitchen Tune-Up does not manufacture countertops; however, I offer different countertop choices ranging from local fabricators to national vendors.” Jason stated. “I can help you decide on which countertop material is best for your kitchen.”
Jason broke down a couple recommended countertop choices for us:
Laminate—Laminate countertops are moderately durable and available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Laminate is an inexpensive option which makes it popular for those who want to change the look and feel of their kitchen without the permanence and investment of more expensive materials.
Solid Surface—Solid surface countertops are man-made and practically maintenance free. These countertops are available in hundreds of colors and can come in certain finishes such as dull or glossy. In addition, solid surface isn’t as expensive as some other countertops. The price depends on the color and style you choose. Also, the option for seamless corners makes solid surface a popular choice.
Granite—Granite is a natural stone that has a smooth, natural look, making it one of the more popular choices for kitchens. It comes in an assortment of shades and patterns. Granite is an expensive option, and it also requires care and maintenance.
Quartz—Quartz is a more expensive alternative to granite. Quartz has become a more popular option in kitchens since it is extremely durable, long-lasting, and nearly maintenance free. Quartz is considered an engineered stone and is FDA approved for food preparation. It is scratch resistant and never needs sealing or polishing, simply clean with warm water. It is also nonporous so staining liquids and bacteria are not absorbed.
Kitchen Tune-Up does more than just kitchens. Let Jason help bring out the best in your bathroom with Kitchen Tune-Up’s wood and bathroom-specific remodeling options, which will not only make your bathroom look beautiful, but practical and convenient for everyday use—an attractive selling point for potential home buyers!
When it comes to plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom, it’s best to let the professionals take care of the work. You might be tempted to figure a problem out yourself in order to save some money, but there is a reason it takes so much training and experience to be considered a master plumberman. You’ll likely end up spending more money if you go down the DIY path and the problem ends up getting worse because you didn’t completely know what you were doing. The same is true with it comes to electrical work. Not only can it be costly to not let a professional do the work, it can be dangerous. Dealing with wires and outlets is serious work. If you’re going to be doing a remodeling project, chances are there will be electrical work involved.
Jon Eicher, project manager of ABC Electric, informed us of the dangers of inexperienced people trying to do an electrician’s job: “DIY electrical projects can be very dangerous. A simple rewiring could land someone in the hospital with a huge medical bill and a long road to recovery.”
There are certain jobs around the house where a faulty job can be extremely hazardous. Electrical work, for instance, can start fires and destroy your home. This will definitely not help you sell your house!
People also seem to think that since they’ve lived that long without updating their wiring then there’s nothing wrong with it. However, regular maintenance can help protect your home from devastating fires since eventually the wire insulation inside of electrical parts char and corrode.
It’s important to have a reliable electrical company to call when you are a second-or third-hand homeowner to make sure that everything was done correctly by previous owners. Since 1932, ABC Electric has been serving the communities of southeast Nebraska as a top electrical contractor. All of their work is done up-to-code to maintain the highest standard of safety and health.
Flooring is another aspect of a home that matters a great deal to buyers. People will walk away from homes with bad flooring the same way they’ll walk away from homes that have little to no curb appeal and out-dated kitchens or bathrooms.
Hardwood flooring remains the top choice for buyers. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, 99% of real estate agents say homes with hardwood are easier to sell, with 90% saying they sell for more money.
“When people come to EMO Flooring, they will be greeted by a knowledgeable and friendly staff who can help the client pick out the specific floor type for their home remodeling project,” said Jacque Lee with EMO Flooring. “We have many types of carpet, hardwood, tile, stone, laminate, and even vinyl floors. We always advise clients to take all factors into consideration—the room’s use, its size, the aesthetic of the room, style of the furnishings, etc. Hard surfaces have proven to be better than carpeting for a variety of reasons, but if carpet must stay, keep it in the bed room. Also, it’s best to keep flooring consistent in the same areas of a home. Don’t let different floor types meet in high-traffic areas.”
Home Technology and Security
Smart home technology has had a bigger impact on the real estate industry than some may think. Providing increased security and functionality, technology is anticipated to only continue to make huge waves. Arguably, the biggest impact that smart home products have had on the real estate industry are resale values of homes. One thing that is factored in when determining the market value of a home is what features and amenities a home has. A home that has smart home technology products installed will have a higher value than a comparable home that doesn’t have smart home products.
Smart home technology also has the ability to change the type of buyers that potentially are interested in a home. Many millennial home buyers are attracted to homes that have cutting edge technology features. Installing smart home products in a home is a great way to improve the chances of attracting a millennial home buyer.
On the flip side, smart home technology can be very favorable to the senior population of homeowners as well.
“Better security, higher efficiency, and entertainment features like wireless audio and creative lighting brings convenience and simplicity to a person’s life at home.” Addison Collingsworth with Simply Smart Homes stated. “The solutions I offer through Simply Smart Homes help homeowners, especially senior homeowners, feel more safe and independent in their house. With automatic 911 dialing in the event of a fall, a garage door that opened if it detected a CO2 build-up, and various alarms and devices to prevent a potential break-in, our easy-to-use smart home features enhance the experience at home.”
Smart home technology products that Simply Smart Homes offers to homeowners in Lincoln include cameras, smart locks, garage door controllers, smoke alarms, video doorbells, window/door/floor sensors, thermostats, lighting and fans, entertainment systems, smart speakers, outlets, and sprinkler system controls.
Since many of the smart home technology products focus on improving the energy efficiency of a home, it’s also feasible that these products can attract buyers who are very cautious about energy efficiency and the ecosystem. While more energy-saving features aren’t going to necessarily translate into a higher offer on your home, they could be what sets your home apart from others.
Your roof, siding, and windows are going to be big talking points during the selling process. Potential buyers are going to want to know what condition they are in or how old they are because these areas greatly affect the condition of a home, especially its energy using factors.
Replacing the windows in your home creates a big impact on its energy efficiency. Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows can save over $300 per year in energy use. In addition, homes can lose a lot of heat through the roof, so take the time to inspect your insulation each year and see what shape it’s in, especially before selling. Insulation helps keep the temperature in your home steady and combats seasonal heating and cooling cycles. It also acts to protect a roof from potentially costly damage, through its ability to prevent snow from melting and freezing on your roof in winter months. Insulated vinyl siding has a foam backing and keeps heat inside the home, as well as being low-maintenance, so you won’t have to repaint your home every few years.
Using other external materials, such as wood, brick, or stone will mean you need to make sure your home’s envelope is tight and well insulated to avoid heating and cooling inefficiency.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your property with a new roof or new siding, Neemann & Sons has over 30 years of experience designing and installing quality residential projects throughout the Lincoln community. Their roofing and siding specialists work with you to ensure your property receives top quality materials while delivering total satisfaction upon completion.
Neemann & Sons provides fully comprehensive solutions for exterior needs, such as residential flat roofing, 5” and 6” seamless gutters, maintenance-free gutter covers, replacement windows, insulation, and more.
If the new roof is installed by a quality contractor like Neemann & Sons, it should have an insulating effect on the home, which means that the home remains cool in the summer and warm during the winter. Poorly constructed roofs allow drafts to whisk interior air away and cause high energy bills to compensate for the loss.
After ensuring your roof, siding, and windows are doing their job, there are other small changes that can save you money when it comes to creating a more energy-efficient home such as planting trees for shade in the summer. Fix any cracked and peeling caulk, do bigger outside projects as you can afford it, and remember that preventative maintenance is the key throughout the year.
Updating siding and windows can add curb appeal and increase the value of your home. The landscaping also has an impact on a buyer’s decision.
Landscaping is one of those projects that you can do yourself, but you should still think twice before putting shovel to earth. Poorly installed or minimal landscaping could actually decrease the value of a home. This is why it’s best to bring in a professional to either guide you through the project you had in mind or to carry out the project themselves.
“When it comes to selling your home, don’t overlook the landscape,” warned Jackie Lienemann with Luxury Landscape. “It’s the first thing a potential buyers sees when they arrive to look at your home. Sixty percent of home shoppers will decide if it’s a home they’re interested in buying when they pull up to a home for sale.”
“Sellers should make sure their lawn is well manicured,” Jackie emphasized. “If you don’t have enough time to do it yourself, hire a professional landscaping company. It’s important to trim shrubs and bushes, and prune low hanging branches from trees. Clean up any leaves and debris from the main visible landscape areas, remove all weeds, dead branches, and stems. You also want to pay attention to weeds growing through the cracks in sidewalks and driveways.”
If the landscape is abundant, a point to consider is reducing the amount of plants and shrubs by removing completely or trimming appropriately.
“New homeowners don’t want to be overwhelmed with all the potential yard work in an overgrown yard and landscape,” Jackie confirmed. “If the amount of landscape is minimal and there’s room in the budget, adding a tree and some colored mulch will definitely add to the curb appeal! Also, it’s easy to add a welcoming touch by planting perennials (depending on time of year) in colorful pots and planters and placing on the front porch or steps.”
Luxury Landscape has worked with many homeowners who are preparing to sell their home. They are a full-service landscape company that wants to help the do-it-yourself customer (DIY) get started, all the way to the complete installation of your landscape project.
A nice deck can also add some value to your home. According to national data, homeowners who installed a 16-by-20-foot pressure-treated wooden deck onto their house saw an average of over 80% return on investment.
If you are looking to upgrade the exterior look of your house this fall with a new deck, Decks Unlimited is Lincoln’s premier deck builder. Their crew is 100% dedicated to using the best methods of installation. Decks Unlimited in Lincoln uses only the highest quality products on the market. They can offer competitive pricing on these quality deck materials. Whether they are building the deck, or you are doing some personal deck remodeling, Decks Unlimited has you covered!
If you need other landscaping ideas to improve the curb appeal of your home, go to Outdoor Solutions. Located in Southwest Lincoln, Outdoor Solutions is your leading landscape headquarters and has more than enough room to showcase its impressive assortment of decorative landscape rock, flagstones, boulders, mulches, topsoil, retaining wall, pavers, and construction materials. Plus, with delivery available, your products can be brought right to your doorstep, making the remodeling process that much easier for you.
The spacious storefront features outdoor pottery, bird baths, garden products, pond supplies, and much more. Home owners and contractors alike can enjoy the superior collection of products available at Outdoor Solutions. Whether your yard is getting an entire upgrade, or you simply need some new pottery for your home, check out Outdoor Solutions.
Ready for Listing
Once you’ve taken care of all the major remodels and repairs that needed to be done to get your home ready for selling, make sure all the little things are in order before the open house. Whether it’s cleaning tasks, mowing, last-minute repairs, etc., TruBlue Total House Care can help you reclaim your weekends by spending less time tackling housework and more time spent with the ones you love.
“The largest focus this time of year is finishing up the exterior painting, deck/fence repairs and staining, scheduling the bulk of the final door/window projects, and installing gutter leaf guards, yard clean up, mulching, etc.,” said Ryan Reinke with TruBlue Total House Care. “We will be scheduling a large number of fall clean ups for property owners who can generally maintain their lawns, but may not be able to handle the shear volume of leaves and debris that some trees produce. We are entering the prime time for over seeding as well.”
When it comes to real estate, the point is simple: when properties sell, you make money. A quick turnaround on listing a property and a making a sale is preferred. That’s why it’s critical to have a partner in your corner who can not only provide real estate cleaning and repair services to help prepare your home to go on the market sooner but will help bring in the best offers and close quicker. TruBlue Total House Care can be your one-stop real estate cleaning service, providing everything from a full-home clean-up to a minor repair work that increases the curb appeal of the property.”
Real estate cleaning and repair services by TrueBlue Total House Care include:
- Pre-sale cleaning and repairs
- Home inspection punch lists
- Move-in cleaning and repairs
- Increase aesthetic appeal
- Safety and accessibility modifications
Ultimately, when it’s time to sell your home, the best advice is to leave it to a professional. Between home improvements and the actual selling process, it’s best to form a relationship with someone who knows what they are doing. Trained real estate agents have experience in helping prepare your house to get maximum value, have the know-how to stage a successful open house, and will help close the sale.
The experts at HOME Real Estate helped summarize all the important considerations homeowners need to keep in mind when preparing to sell their house:
- Get a pre-inspection of your home. By catching red-flags early, you will be able to make repairs before you list. This will help speed along your closing and help make your home more attractive to buyers looking to make an offer.
- Before you sell, knowing what your property is worth is very important. It just takes seconds to get a free home value estimate, as well as view comparable home sales in your area.
- Prepare your home and yard for a great first impression. Consider what a potential buyer sees and thinks when they drive up to your listing for the first time. By creating an inviting and kempt exterior, more buyers are likely to call for a tour or stop for an open house.
- When your home is on the market, it’s important that the interior and exterior areas are clean and maintained. By keeping yourself on task, you will always be prepared to leave your home for a quick showing without a panic.
Even though Lincoln is currently a strong seller’s market, there are still many improvements and remodeling projects you can carry out to ensure you get top dollar for your home. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local experts who are committed to getting your home in the best condition before it hits the market.