As spring approaches, so does the increase in home-buying. If you’re in the market for a new house or looking to sell your own, prepare yourself for hours of walkthroughs, discussions about renovation, and a number of hard-to-read inspection reports before settling in to your newly owned house. With that, you shouldn’t slack on learning which home upgrades are the best for you and which are a waste for your home. Also, this helps you work out ideal compromises (preventing you missing an important part of your home) and what you should negotiate harder on. Here are some of the best home upgrades that can greatly increase the value of your home.
Most sellers won’t be willing to spend over $50,000 on large-scale remodels to create a wide, modernized kitchen space before a sale is finished, but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for a dysfunctional or outdated kitchen. It, with the bathroom, is one of the most critical rooms in the home, so it should be updated and functional, even if this requires a home upgrade. The negotiations for this and how willing the owner will be to renovate will vary greatly depending on whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market, so keep an eye out for the best time to buy. When looking at a kitchen, pay special attention to the cabinets (sturdy, good condition) and the countertop (matching, smooth, not scratched). Ideally the walls should be a neutral color rather than something vibrant, and you should be very wary about appliances from 1990 or before. To attract better quotes for their homes, sellers will likely invest in lots of attractive kitchen options, which are a good way to tell if your seller is dedicated to renovation:
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Granite countertops ( a big favorite)
- Hardwood floors
- Finished wooden cabinets
One oft-overlooked home upgrade in a home sale is the quality of the roofing, and it can lead to thousands in expenses if it isn’t updated in the sale. The most frequently seen roof tile is asphalt shingle, but only lasts between 15 and 20 years. When you’re checking out the house, ask the seller when the last time the house was reroofed was, and if there have been any maintenance issues like cracks and leaks. Other materials are used for roofing, like wood shake, metal, tiles (ceramics), and slate shingles. Research how often these need to be replaced and what kind of maintenance is necessary, to ensure you get the most out of this home upgrade. Regardless of the type, the buyer needs to ensure the shape of the roof before buying the home. Roof inspectors make this much simpler, and can identify far in advance problems that could cost thousands more than to fix them now.
Energy Saving Lights
Lighting is generally a fairly inexpensive home upgrade, but is very important to discuss with the seller because of how much money you can save (or lose) in the following years with very little thought. Like kitchens, this is a hard item to negotiate during a seller’s market, but sellers will likely be more than willing to make this change during a buyer’s market. The most difficult of these upgrades tend to be when light fixtures need updating rather than just bulbs, like replacement of track and overhead lights with recessed or smaller ones.
Insulation and Heating Efficiency
Homes with poor insulation cost more to the homeowner than any other neglected home upgrade, and as such it is a critical negotiation and affirmation to make when you examine the house. Regardless of the state of the market, investing in insulation is a very important moved to make that will greatly aid your home’s quote if you are lacking. Home inspectors do a great job ensuring that a home’s ventilation system is on par, which will prevent you from broiling in your own home during the summers and freezing in the winters. If the inspector points out exactly where improvement in insulation is needed, you can negotiate with the seller based on the estimated cost of how much the needed renovation will cost. Common spots to make sure are doors, windows, electrical sockets, the attic, and the all-important basement—your house can lose a surprising amount of heat to the foundation and soil surrounding it.
All of these are worthwhile home upgrades to keep watch for when looking at houses (or selling your own ) during this spring’s buying season. Negotiations are always a promising way to save yourself money, but remember that sellers don’t want to put more money into a home than they need to, because they won’t be around to see the benefits. Be fair, use a home inspector, and run all the decisions you can through the inspector and real estate agent to ensure that both you and the seller get a fair deal, regardless of it being a buyer’s or seller’s market.