Home prices in South Florida continue to rise. This past summer (the most recent figures available), the median price of single-family homes in Broward rose nearly $10,000, while Palm Beach County saw more than a 4 percent price increase, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
But to get top dollar if you’re thinking of selling your home now or in the future, you’ll want to wow prospective buyers. In some cases, that simply involves making small tweaks to your home. In other cases, more major renovations will pay you back with an increased sales price and fast closing.
Unless you live in a 55-plus community, any prospective seller should keep the tastes of millennial buyers in mind when you make changes to your home. According to Consumer Reports, this cohort of people ages 23 to 39—at 75-million strong—have become the largest group of home buyers now.
Small(ish) Changes to Your Home That Makes a Difference
Experts say there are many ways to boost the value of your home that don’t have to break the bank. That’s because there are things we’ve come to live within our own home that a prospective buyer might not be as accepting of.
Decluttering your home is one great way to do this. According to a 2019 survey from HomeLight, deep cleaning and decluttering your home adds on average more than $4,000 to its resale value. You’ll want to spend time going through every closet and cabinet (and the dreaded garage!), giving away things you no longer use. Don’t wait until the week before you’re planning to put your house up for sale, as this is a big job if you have lived in your home for a while. And if you haven’t had your floors or carpet professionally cleaned in ages, this is another way to make your home pop.
Energy efficiency is also key. With the price of energy in South Florida continually rising, residents are paying more attention to how energy-efficient the air-conditioning and appliances are in the homes they buy. In fact, the website Bankrate says energy efficiency is second only to “safe community” in what influences buyers. Installing a new Energy Star-rated AC unit yields the most efficiency increases, of course, but even just replacing old leaky windows or swapping old appliances for energy-efficient ones makes a difference.
Make your home smarter. Today’s millennials are used to controlling their lives on their apps, so they appreciate smart devices like the Nest programmable thermostat (which has the added plus of increasing energy efficiency). Other valuable smart appliances are smart lights, smart door locks, and smart security systems, realtors say.
Don’t forget the paint and flooring. It’s true that buyers typically repaint rooms in their colors that appeal to them soon after they close on a home. But fresh paint is critical to making your home look bright and newer, and can make even dated rooms seem modern. Use neutral colors overall but consider adding a little flare to highlight key features of your home, such as around large windows or a fireplace. Flooring is also crucial. Nice tile in all living areas that currently have worn-down carpets could make the difference between a deal and a dud
And of course, there’s curb appeal. Realtors uniformly agree that improving curb appeal is the most important step you can take because a buyer might not even enter the home if it looks dowdy from the outside. Keep your grass short and weed-free, plant shrubs and flowers around the foundations, and mulch all areas that have dirt. Consider replacing your doors, too. Frosted glass front doors are appealing to buyers, and a modern (hurricane resistant) garage door will make your home’s outside attractive. You can even stain your metal garage door to look like pricy wood—as I recently did at my own home.
Spent Big Renovation Money Wisely
The kitchen remains the center of home renovations. The Consumer Report survey of millennial buyers found an updated kitchen remains highest on the wish list—the same as for Boomers before them. Consumer Reports suggests adding a new suite of appliances, countertops, and flooring if your kitchen is very old. Otherwise, painting cabinet doors and updating its hardware may be sufficient.
Open a closed floor plan. If you’ve ever watched the home renovation shows on TV, you know that the most important element buyers are looking for today is an open floor plan. They want to stand in the kitchen and able to see all the rooms in the main living area. Plus, an open floor plan enables buyers to use their living space flexibly. If your home has a cut-off room with lots of walls, consider getting an estimate from a contractor as to how much it would cost to take some of them down. (Non-load-bearing walls are more easily removed.)
Should You Stage Your Home and Use a Realtor? Yes.
When you’re ready to sell, questions often arise about whether it’s worth the money to bring in a home stager to set it up in a way that’s more appealing to buyers. Finance expert Dave Ramsy believes it is. He cites research noting that staging increases the dollar value offered by buyers anywhere from 1 to 10 percent of the price. This means if your home would otherwise sell for $250,000, you might get up to $25,000 more!
One way that prospective sellers often think they will save money is by forgoing using a realtor and just trying to sell it themselves. But my long experience has shown that realtors can usually sell your home much quicker, and their expertise (along with that of an experienced closing attorney, of course!) can help you avoid many of the problems that can crop up before the closing that could cost you time and money.
Have the Law Office of Gary M. Landau by your side. The Law Office of Gary Landau is located in Coral Springs, Florida, and is rated 10 out of 10 by the legal website AVVO. For more information or free phone consultation for your probate and real estate legal matters, call 954-979-6566 or email us. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.
Law Office of Gary M. Landau P.A.
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Coral Springs, FL 33067
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