Posts Tagged ‘ask kate’

The Best Home Improvements for Resale

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I was asked by a reader recently about improvements to make to her home before they put it on the market for sale. This is a really common question, every homeowner wants to know what to do to increase the resale value of their home so it stands out, sells quickly, and you get the most for your efforts. Here’s Kathy’s question:

“Hi Kate, I have a question. What improvements make sense if you plan to move? My husband and I plan to retire soon and live closer to the coast. I would love to do an inexpensive update to our kitchen but want to make sure it will not be money wasted. We would also love some ideas on what else can be done to the home for resale.”  – Kathy, Westford MA

Every home is unique in its needs for resale, and value is a truly a regional question, one that depends on the home, the neighborhood, and the market. Of course modern kitchens and bathrooms that have been remodeled are big sellers but there are other improvements that add value as well.

I thought Kathy’s question was a great opportunity to ask two experts on the subject, my husband Matt who is a real estate broker and appraiser, and Liz from It’s Great To Be Home, an experienced home flipper (she’s on her 10th!). They’re here to share the most cost effective ways that don’t include major remodeling. As Liz says, “Sinking lots of cash into the house so that someone else can enjoy it probably isn’t very high on your list of fun things to do. Instead, focus your energy and dollars on smaller improvements that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.”

Properly Operating Systems

Liz: As a flipper, my absolute favorite homes to buy are those that haven’t been touched by human hands since they were built…except to maintain the furnace, foundation, etc. Those issues always come up in an inspection, and 10 out of 10 buyers would rather put their money into a fancy new chandelier or surround sound instead of a new hot water heater so make sure the HVAC system is working properly and structural issues are addressed.

Matt: Make sure the slider and the screen door work properly too. Poor working sliders or broken screen doors turn buyers off quickly. Many people don’t realize that stuck sliders can be fixed easily by removing the door and replacing the rollers. It may take some time and a trip to the hardware store but it can be done for under $20. There are plenty of videos on YouTube which show the process of taking apart the slider.

welcoming entry

Freshen and Neutralize Paint and Flooring

Liz:  I don’t think that you need to run out and paint or recarpet your entire house to prepare it for sale (unless it’s really nasty) – most buyers will put their own touches on at least a few rooms once they move in, and I can tell you first hand how frustrating it is to put in new carpet only to have the new owners instantly replace it with hardwood!  However, you should definitely take the time to shampoo carpets and remove stains, as well as repair any chips, smudges or dings in the paint (no one wants to buy a grungy house).  Also, be sure to paint over any "polarizing" hues that would prevent buyers from being able to envision the space for their own needs – your hot pink craft room might not translate so well to a fellow pining for a man cave.

Update the Light Fixtures

Matt: Modern light fixtures say so much about a home. If the light fixtures are dated and dusty this is a clear indicator as to how the rest of the home has been maintained. Go into a home and see 1980s lacquered brass lighting everywhere and you have a good indication that the homeowner was likely a reactionary owner, only making upgrades when things didn’t work anymore. Light fixtures are very cost effective way of updating your home and showing the buyer that you are a more proactive homeowner than one that would fix only the things that broke down. However if your home possesses valuable vintage fixtures that complement the style of the home, it’s best to leave those in place.

updated light fixtures

 

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Mixing Wood Tones

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Wood has made a comeback, have you noticed? Well what’s true is that wood never went out of style (are you kidding, how could it?) it’s just that our tastes have changed.

We’re so over the heavily shellacked yellowish and reddish stains from past decades, remember those? What we crave today is more natural and more organic. Think less shiny, more exposed, the real and the raw. Letting the wood itself be the star, after all, it took nature decades to create that beauty so why not show it off. 

mixed gray patina and wood tones

tine k home

A reader wrote to me recently inquiring how to mix wood tones. Truth is, there are no hard and fast rules, the key is to mix them so that the wood finishes complement each other and don’t clash. There’s no secret formula, however these guidelines may help:

First, Avoid the Matchy Matchy. The “everything in the same wood tone” bedrooms and dining sets are a thing of the past. This bedroom set would work if the bed frame and armoire were a classic black or white and the dresser and end table were wood, but all of it together is just too much of the same thing.

matching wood tones in bedroom

If you happen to have one of these sets, no worries. Consider painting a piece or two in a classic shade (black, white, gray) to break up the set or replace one piece, say the bed frame for a softer upholstered version and you’ll achieve a less “matchy matchy” look.

White Makes It Alright. Wood is earthy, neutral by nature, and unpredictable in its grain, that’s what makes it cool. You can go crazy mixing the wood tones when you’ve got plenty of white to interrupt your medley and ultimately balance it all. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this very idea, check it out here.

mixed wood tones with white

mixed wood tones with white

wood floor white walls

mixed wood tones in entry

lantliv / house beautiful / greige / light locations/ roger davies

 

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