Home ownership is a long term relationship. And just like other long term relationships in our lives, it needs constant attention and care.
Let’s imagine a typical situation. A family purchases a new home and uses most of their savings to do so. The first few years are spent installing landscaping and furnishing and personalizing the rooms. Everything is new and fresh and all is good with the world. After awhile the house is either just the way you want it or good enough. For a long time the homeowners live happily in the relatively new home, not much to be done but enjoy.
As many years go by the house starts showing some wear and tear and features that were once fresh and hip are now showing up on the “before” side of the “before and after” shows on HGTV. But the house still works so you live in it and fix something when it breaks. Unexpectedly you get a new job out of town and you have to sell your home in a hurry. Your realtor comes in for a meeting and nicely tells you that your home is dated. There’s not enough time or money to upgrade everything at once so the only option is to set a low price and hope for the best. It might take many years to get to this point but I see it time and time again.
The other option is to proactively upgrade your house over time. Yes, there is a honeymoon period on a brand new home where you don’t need to upgrade, but after five or six years you will want to start looking at your property with a discerning eye to determine what project is next. When you take one reasonable project at a time you will be continually improving your investment. Using this strategy you will not only keep your investment on the top end of neighborhood values you will be able to enjoy and take pride in your house as you live in it.
- Replace flooring in a bathroom.
- Upgrade the light fixtures throughout the house (sconces, bathroom light bars, chandeliers)
- Upgrade the countertops in the kitchen
- Replace the furnace and air conditioning
- Replace the vanity in a bathroom
- Paint the exterior or interior of the home
- Replace the front concrete walk with something more eye catching
- Replace the appliances (non matching appliances are not a good selling point)
- Re-stain or install a new deck
Take on one project a year and when the time comes to sell you will be ready to maximize the value.