Broker Blog: Don’t Be Afraid to Renovate

You’re looking to buy. You’re looking to sell. Whichever end of the real estate market you’re on, you’ll likely notice the renovated, updated, and staged homes in your neighborhood sell quickly, and the ones with nineties countertops and cabinets… take a bit longer. Should you find renovations a necessity, Broker Matt Engle of Fulton Grace shares his best advice for updating your home.

Currently, buyers are paying top dollar for fully renovated, move-in ready homes, and are shying away from less expensive homes that need work. Often, a lack of time, uncertainty about the process, or convenience are factors in many buyers not wanting to renovate. Well-renovated units are selling quickly for good prices, as places a bit more rough around the edges are sitting on the marker longer. Buyers miss an opportunity when they pass over those sitting properties, as they are often up for more negotiation. This has created a gap in the market for individuals who are willing to go through the renovation process and allow you to find a home with a better price tag and plenty of potential.

Advantages of renovations include:

  1. You can purchase a home at a much better price.

  2. You can renovate your home however you like.

  3. You can add immediate value to your home.

So you’ve decided to pursue buying a place in need of work, and you got it at a great price. An excellent choice.

Say you bought a condo in a high rise for $170k, and the renovated units in the building are selling for $215k. If you can get equal or better finishes for $30k, then you just added over $15k in value, AND you get to choose how you renovate the unit. However, you need to get a better idea of how much it costs to add the updates you want, so you’ll need to ask a few contractors to give you estimates. You can then figure out what adds the most value without going over budget.

It’s time to focus on what adds the most value. Some items with the biggest effect are adding hardwood flooring throughout, fresh paint, adding a washer and dryer, updating the kitchen, and bathrooms. But, it’s a long list of potential renovations in each of those categories, so it’s a matter of determining which ones are the best for your home.

Save money where you can. For instance, kitchen cabinets are expensive. A cheaper alternative could be repainting the cabinets and replacing the hardware. This can look as great as new cabinets would be, and save you plenty of money.

The same is to be said about bathroom vanities. Instead of purchasing a whole new one, you could replace the countertop, keep the vanity cabinet, and just paint it a more modern color. Replace a basic mirror with a more decorative one for an added update.

Planning for hardwood floors throughout? If there is already hardwood in the main area, but carpet in the bedrooms, you could just match that type of wood for the bedrooms, and then refinish all the flooring so it’s uniform. This definitely decreases the cost of completely replacing all the floors, or adding non-matching floors in the bedrooms.

Renovations don’t always have to be complicated or expensive, and you don’t always have to hire a contractor. A lot of renovations can be done yourself, at your own pace. This way, your home can be whatever you want it to be, and can be prepared for selling better in the future.

Matt Engle                                                                                                                                              Real Estate Broker                                                                                                                              717.658.0899


matt-engle_1-circle.pngBlog by: Matt Engle
Matt represents clients buying and selling residential real estate and investments in Chicago in addition to having a wealth of experience in residential leasing.  He intently listens to his clients’ needs and thoughtfully guides by serving as a professional, educated, and responsive real estate advisor.

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