Want to add resale value? Start with the carpet in your bathroom.
A hot housing market gave sellers the advantage for almost two years, but a cooling market means buyers will be looking for those finishing touches as they shop around.
“I think sellers are recognizing that the market is slowing down just a bit,” Ann Arbor realtor Emily Schoen said. “They’re not just planning on taking a weekend trip and the house sells over the weekend anymore.”
In addition to setting a more realistic price, Schoen also suggests putting some time into making the house presentable.
It might be necessary to get an edge.
The national market is undergoing a correction, according to a Moody Analytics report that showed nearly two-thirds of the nation’s largest regional housing markets are overvalued by more than 20%.
In Michigan, 16 markets were overvalued by 15% or more, according to Moody’s analysis.
High interest rates coupled with high prices have left houses sitting on the market for longer compared to the post-lockdown rush.
Showings per home decreased from 11 to eight in July, according to Realcomp, a Michigan real estate data company.
This has given a bit of a buffer to housing supply and some wiggle room for homebuyers to shop around.
Related: ‘Housing correction’ is coming. What homeowners, buyers and sellers should know.
Sellers should take note of these trends, Schoen said.
She runs an interior design-focused blog and social media account, where she tracked her own home renovation and offered design tips.
Schoen sold her newly renovated Ann Arbor home this spring. Here’s what she recommends to clients looking to add home value before they list:
At the top of the list is updating the kitchen.
For sellers looking for a budget renovation that will add value without knocking down a wall, Schoen suggests painting cabinets, adding new hardware and updating countertops.
Buyers are gravitating toward light-colored, hardstone cabinets and moving away from lament, she said.
Schoen recommends keeping colors neutral. During her own kitchen renovation, she considered doing a splash of color with green cabinets but then reversed course when dealing with a client who refused to purchase a house based solely on wall color.
“It reminded me going more neutral when you’re thinking about resale is so important because people will have biases against different finishes and colors,” she said.
To keep a kitchen timeless, Schoen finds inspiration in her favorite movies.
“What I like to do is when you’re watching a movie or something that was filmed in the 90s or something older if you see a kitchen that like you’re like, ‘Oh, I would still love that now.’ That’s how you’re going to know something that’s timeless,” she said.
For Schoen, it’s filmmaker Nancy Meyer’s kitchens — which have been featured on Town & Country for their widespread appeal.
Beyond the aesthetics, Schoen would warn against buying all new appliances before selling. If an appliance is still working then it’s worth keeping rather than gambling with a backlog in the supply chain.
Expanding the primary suite
The second room buyers seem to gravitate to is the master bedroom.
Refreshing a bedroom could mean adding new carpet or painting the walls. Again, Schoen suggests neutrals to not distract buyers. This includes a refresh in the master bathroom, too.
Buyers in every price range have added a master bathroom in their bedroom to their wish list, Schoen said.
“It’s very aspirational for a lot of buyers and so it’s really sticks out when they’re considering multiple homes,” she said.
If adding a bathroom isn’t in the budget, sellers should at least consider their bathroom’s apparent decade.
“Carpet in a bathroom is one that sticks out to me that goes into the outdated category,” Schoen said. “When people see that it’s like they’re personally offended that it’s there. Everyone is very grossed out.”
Refinishing hardwood floors gives an immediate positive first impression, Schoen said.
The National Realtors Association put refinishing hardwood floors at the top of its 2022 Remodeling Impact report. Survey results measured how satisfied consumers were with projects, the cost of the projects, and the resale value.
For interior projects, the highest percentage cost recovered was from refinishing hardwood floors at 147%.
The project also landed a perfect 10 on the association’s “joy score,” measuring the happiness homeowners reported with their renovations.
For all flooring, Schoen recommends sellers get their homes professionally cleaned before the showing.
Clearing the clutter, adding flowers or paying for a cleaning service may seem nitpicky, but it gives the buyer a blank slate to imagine themselves in that home. Schoen tells clients to keep it “clean, light and airy.”
“When I am showing buyers homes [that] feel that way when you walk in, it just sticks out because they get that emotional connection to it right away,” she said. “They’re not trying to see past a unique color someone chose or trying to think about what it would look like without a bunch of stuff in it.”
This story is part of MLive’s Wallet Watch series focused on today’s current economic issues. Do you have a Wallet Watch suggestion? Email us at [email protected]
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