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Here's a radical idea, keep it clean and neat and eliminate any odd colors in paint, repair what's broken and price it accurately. Unless you're talking high end, the rest of that article is nonsense.
And most of us aren't in the market for million dollar homes.
Here is the honest to goodness truth. I have been a Realtor for 16 years, an appraiser for 12. This is the real deal almost anywhere you are:
1. Bathroom - we can't all rebuild it to recess anything into the wall. Make sure grout is clean, a new toilet and vanity that fits the space, and the tub clean. New fixtures if need be and paint.
2. Floors - Can't afford hardwood? Put in carpet if your carpet looks dirty or has individualized colors (mauve. hunter green, etc). Beige is best and for God's sake DO NOT INSTALL LAMINATE! The ship has sailed on that stuff and frankly it's now seen as cheap.
3. Look at your home critically. Have the furnace serviced, paint rooms neutral colors, clean the vents, landscape, and remove debris inside and out. Work on your gutters and downspouts. Remember the savvy buyer is going to have a home inspection. The savvy buyer also wants a house that looks neat and clean.
Solar is if you're going to stay there and pools are really regional and seasonal. Most of the people who write these articles bit and piece from other articles and wouldn't know a footer from a ridge vent.
When I had our home built in 2003 I picked a design where I could later convert our attached oversized two car garage (with room over it), to a large family room, and then add a new garage on the other side of that one. I still think that will add overall value to my home. I'll still have a garage (the new one), in addition to a huge family room (with a new handicap accessible bathroom. For the interim, I plan on using the Family Room as a Mother-in-Law type apartment for my elderly mother - it will have two entrances to the main house, one directly into the kitchen, and one to the laundry room. She'll have her own heat (she likes it warm in the winter), and we'll be right there to help her out. When she does pass on, I'll have a very nice family room.
Granite (having a compressive strength of roughly 26,000 psi) should be doing actual work (i.e. in the foundation).
Wood flooring, provided it is REAL wood (with actual end-grain) is a good thing...unfortunately a bit on the pricy side though.
And let us not forget about basic materials theory, materials should be stacked in a building in the same order they're found in nature (msonry at the bottom, wood in the middle, and soft fibrous materials (leaves in nature) on the top.
The only one I'll disagree with is the hardwood floors. Yeah, easier to clean and all, but I've got them throughout my house and it sux. The looked great when we moved in, and then wear and tear shows on them. Plus I miss the softness of carpeted floors and the warmpth of them in winter.
And while it is easy enough to cover them with carpet, it still becomes a thing of "do we want to mess up the hardwood floors and put carpet on them?"
To each their own.
But, when the market is up, houses are sold like 'hot cakes'... period.
As an appraiser told me redoing a garage depends on whether or not you need the extra space.
I needed a room for my mother-in-law. So I converted the garage to a home office.
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MSN REAL ESTATE
Even those who don't like to shop are probably hitting the stores this month. Here's what to be on the lookout for and here's what to avoid.