Each year around March to April we see spring fever start to set in. The phenomenon is real too! That itch to spend time outdoors and the increase in energy being in the warm sunshine can all be chalked up to very real chemical and hormonal changes that take place within us when the sun makes its reappearance.
If 2019 is the year you plan on selling your home, take that energy and channel it into transforming its exterior into your neighborhood’s cash cow. I’ll help you do just that, with some suggestions from Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report.
Cost vs. Value
Would you be surprised to learn that although bathroom and kitchen renovations offer the best return on your interior remodeling dollars, several exterior projects bring similar returns, yet cost less?
For instance, replacing the garage door will run you about $1,700, according to Remodeling’s report. The return on investment when you sell your home, however, is almost 75 percent. A kitchen upgrade, on the other hand, costs far more and the return on your investment is about 63 percent!
Now, if your kitchen is in such poor condition that buyers will be repelled, by all means, make its updating a priority. All else being equal, you’ll spend less and get higher returns with several exterior projects.
The great outdoors
Spring and summer usher in the seasons of dining outdoors on patios and decks. A home for sale in either season, therefore, is far more attractive when the stage is set for enjoying the outdoors.
If the home lacks a deck or the deck is in need of an overhaul, consider adding or replacing one. The cost of a composite deck, according to Remodeling Magazine’s study, varies, but the nationwide average is $17,000, with a return on investment of just a little over 65 percent. Did you know however that you can save money and get a higher return by installing a wood deck? At an average cost of $10,700, yet the return on investment is 72 percent.
Homebuyers find decks appealing for a number of reasons. The additional “point of egress from the home to the yard” tends to add value, according to DB Design Builders in Maryland.
It’s a well-known fact that if the exterior of your home doesn’t beckon, buyers won’t bother viewing the interior. So, put that spring fever energy boost to good use by amping up the appeal of your home’s exterior.
If you have older composite or vinyl siding that’s looking worse for wear, consider replacing with Hardie-plank. Not only will the project give buyers peace-of-mind, but the improvement to the home’s curb appeal is immeasurable. Nationwide, new siding runs around $15,000. At close of escrow, however, you stand to recoup about 75 percent of your investment.
Did you know that the exterior improvement with the highest return on investment is replacing the front door? The cost of a new front door is about $1,500 (on average) and the return on investment is nearly 90 percent!
Got an old tired “worn out” red brick you want to change in dramatic fashion? Try painting it! Today, besides modern farmhouse style, nothing makes buyers seem to get “googly” eyed over a house more than painted brick exteriors! Blogger Becky Owens in her post, “Pros and Cons: Painted Brick Exteriors,” notes, “Painting your brick exterior can be a relatively easy fix for an uninspiring home and create major curb appeal. You can take an old orange or yellow brick that looks dated and create drama with a dark and moody color, or a go classic white for a crisp clean look. It is a way to take the home you can afford and transform it to something you also love. It can be especially affordable if you are willing to do the work yourself. Although it takes research and time to do it properly, it is totally DIY doable for those on a budget.”
She warns however, “Although painted brick homes can look beautiful, you’ll want to be sure your committed to the look because going back is often impossible and always expensive. On top of that, painted brick usually requires more maintenance than if you left the brick alone. Dirt and mildew are often more visible on painted brick, especially if going white or light in color, and you’ll need to power wash or scrub your house down now and again. Using the wrong type of paint, or not noticing chips or cracks in the paint can trap moisture in the porous bricks and cause mold or a breakdown of the brick. Brick experts agree that to correctly maintain your painted brick, it should be repainted every 3-5 years.”
Once again, if you’re not loving your home’s old brick exterior, think of painting it. So many of the exteriors inspiring us lately on Pinterest and Instagram cause a home to come alive again with painted brick!
Being budget minded
Ok, so you don’t have $10,000 to blow on a new deck; there are exterior home improvement projects you can perform that not only cost less, but offer a healthy return on investment. Not mentioned in Remodeling’s study is the value of landscaping.
There are many studies of everything from how much value a single tree can add to your home (see the National Arbor Day Foundation’s National Tree Benefit Calculator), to the return on investment of a complete landscape makeover. Merely “good” landscaping may add up to 30 percent to the overall value of your home, John Harris, landscape economist tells houselogic.com. Transform it to “excellent,” condition, however, and you’re looking at an additional 5 to 7 percent on top of that.
Since the landscaping offers your home’s first impression, it only makes sense that making it more appealing to potential buyers should be job one.
Remodeling Magazine’s report is broken down into mid-range and high-range projects, so your mileage on the aforementioned numbers may vary.
Backyard patios may be a waste of your money. The mid-range cost, nationwide, for a 20×20 flagstone patio offers an average return on investment of less than 55 percent.
This too however is just an estimate. It all depends, as with every improvement, on the appraiser and their opinion (or mood) on the day they do the appraisal. As a buyer’s agent recently I had an appraiser give $500 for a patio that the listing agent and seller “boasted” about as part of their marketing materials, and as part of their negotiations on price on the home, where the seller had spent more than $20,000 on a pergola and gorgeous stone patio in the backyard.
Ironically, you know what the appraisal mentioned more than that gorgeous and expensive stone work? The fact that you could not see the “Publix” grocery store over the fence, and commented that it didn’t therefore harm the value of the house that they were so close to commerce. It all boils down to location, location, location….always with real estate.