Is adding barn doors to your home the key to selling it for a higher price?
Conventional wisdom would say almost certainly not. But a recent report by Zillow Digs, the real estate information company’s home improvement and design hub, found home listings with “barn door” in the description see a sale price as much as 13 percent higher than the expected sale price, based on an analysis of more than 2 million home listings from across the country.
But when you’re making renovations to a home, how do you know what’s a solid investment? A worthy update can either serve to reduce your cost of living while you remain in the home or add significant value to the home’s sale price when you decide to put it on the market.
Throughout any renovation process, it’s key to consider mass appeal for the sake of resale value, says Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor and host of the HGTV show “Income Property.” You can’t guarantee you’ll find a buyer with a specific style preference or interest, so leaning on the side of neutrality helps house hunters see the potential to personalize after they’ve purchased the home.
“You’re selling a lifestyle when you’re selling a home,” McGillivray says. “You definitely want to think about the demographic, but you want to be broad about that demographic as well.”
It helps when the preferences of the general public are obvious. For example, a recent Angie’s List survey of more than 100 real estate agents across the U.S. found more than 68 percent believe having a fireplace in a home increases its value. The vast majority of real estate agents — more than 83 percent — see fireplaces adding between $1,000 and $4,999 to the home’s value, according to the survey. While such an increase doesn’t necessarily warrant adding a fireplace where there wasn’t one before, it certainly gives reason to maintain or update a working fireplace for the next buyer to enjoy.
For other updates throughout the home, the kitchen and bathrooms are certainly spots to focus on, even if you can’t afford to do a complete renovation.
Gina Giampietro, a Realtor for Re/Max Select Realty in the Pittsburgh area, says she assisted a friend who was looking to purchase a new home, contingent on the sale of her current home within two weeks. Knowing updates would be necessary to sell it quickly, Giampietro noted some updates in the kitchen would be necessary.
The homeowner installed a new bank of cabinets and a backsplash, had the hardwood floors sanded and refinished and had recently put in new appliances. The remodeling costs totaled $4,000, plus the appliances. Comparable sales in the area prior to the updates suggested it would sell for around $109,000. “We remodeled and left it at $109,000, got into a bidding war and sold it for $27,000 higher than asking,” Giampietro says.
“It’s not that you have to break the bank to update your home to sell. You’re not trying to remodel it for the next person, you’re trying to make it appeal to a mass market with some updates,” she says.
Whether you’re planning to remain in the home for a while or looking to freshen up the place to put it on the market, here are some updates that experts today say will give you the most bang for your buck.