5 Tips of How to Turn the Worst House in the Neighborhood into the Best!
In real estate, you often hear that you should buy the worst house on the best street. Why is that? Because you can change a lot of things in a house—redo the cosmetics or plant new landscaping, but you cannot change location. In real estate, the value of your house is determined by “comps” or comparable houses within a short distance of your home. So if you buy a house that may be ugly but it is amongst higher valued and more beautiful homes, you have potential to upgrade your house and increase the value. Once you find that ugly thorn amongst the roses, here are some ideas of how to turn that home into the best house on the street.
1. Upgrade the kitchen and baths
Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses! People spend a lot of time in their kitchen and it tends to be an entertainment space that guests see. Luckily, there are a lot of design options to make a kitchen shine! First of all, install new stainless steel appliances including a gas stove and built in microwave. Having sparkling, clean appliances not only makes the kitchen look nice but gives the buyer peace of mind that they won’t have to buy new ones and can spend more on purchasing the house. Second, put in quality countertops (i.e. granite or quartz) and a tile backsplash. A custom kitchen will make the prospective buyers fall in love with the house.
Bathrooms are small spaces that are easy to give a facelift and make the house feel more luxurious. We like to paint our bathrooms a different color than the rest of the house as an added custom design element. And we always do tile on the bath or shower with an accent stripe or design. If you have the space to do a double sink vanity or built in storage those are bonuses too.
2. Make the house look clean and new
Regardless of the age of the house or major repairs needed there are a few universal changes to make your house look newly remodeled and sell faster. Always do new paint, new carpet or flooring, and new light switch and outlet covers. These areas might seem like places you can save money and get away with skipping but even if the current ones are in decent shape, the fresh paint and clean lines throughout the house makes the house feel new. Another factor that makes the house seem fresh is lighting. If you are doing electrical work, add extra canned lights or lighting fixtures. If you are not doing electrical work, put in light fixtures with more light bulbs and higher wattage light bulbs. The brighter your house, the bigger it feels and the more clean it looks.
3. Do quality work
Unless you are really experienced at home projects, hire a professional! Trust us when we say Youtube makes everything look much easier, faster, and better than reality. If you want to sell your house for top dollar, you need to be willing to take off your thrifty DIY hat and put some money into it. If you have major renovations, be sure to hire an experienced contractor who is familiar with building codes and rely on their technical knowledge. We learned the hard way that if you want something done right, have someone else do it!
4. Add sizzle features!
“Sizzle feature” is the term we use to refer to custom design features. Including a few of these in your house makes it stand out to owners and helps them gain an emotional connection to the home. Examples of sizzle features include built in storage, accent tile, unique light fixtures, and barn doors. Splurging a few dollars here and there for these features can pay back exponentially when you sell the house.
5. Be the high end of your market value but do not overdesign it
Whether it is a personal home or investment property that you are flipping, always keep in mind what the price and quality of houses in the neighborhood are like. Your goal is to turn your house into the best one on the block, but remember you can only justify the price of your house based on those “comps” in the neighborhood. So if the nicest houses in the neighborhood only sell for $200,000 you should not drain $100,000 in super luxurious fixtures that you cannot get your money out of. Just remember, make it nice but don’t overdo it.
The fun part of this whole process for us is getting creative within each of these areas. There always seems to be the possibility of doing something out of the box that will really make your home shine. As long as you keep in mind the constraints of your market, have fun with it and let your creative juices flow!