As a real estate agent, you know that your clients look to you for guidance on how to get the most out of the sale of their homes. Therefore, you have a responsibility to educate yourself on factors such as the market in your area so you can give them valuable and useful advice.
Unfortunately, you may inadvertently give them the opposite with regard to improvements that can increase property value. You may be basing this on misconceptions that have since been disproven. Look at the following information for a refresher on what improvements can offer your clients the largest return on investment in a relatively short period of time.
1. Improve Energy Efficiency
Homebuyers today are more interested in energy-efficient homes than ever before. More and more are aware of the ways that the best solar panels, most efficient appliances, UV-blocking windows etc., can help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and conserving natural resources. Even prospective buyers who are not as concerned about the environment are nevertheless very interested in saving money on energy costs. Therefore, updates to improve energy efficiency are in high demand and likely to yield a big return on investment.
2. Remove Any Hazards
While some people are interested in fixers, most homebuyers are wary of any elements that may make them liable for an injury or illness. If you and your clients are aware of any such hazards, you should advise them that it may be to their benefit to repair or remove them before listing the home for sale.
As you may already be aware from having seen it on other properties, asbestos siding used to be fairly common, especially in the 1950s. Back then, people weren't aware of its potential to cause lung cancer, and it was valued for its fire resistance. To this day, some houses still have asbestos siding, and it's not really dangerous unless it gets broken. Nevertheless, it may spook some potential buyers, so this could be a good opportunity for your clients to get rid of it. This is not a do-it-yourself job, however. You should research professionals with the necessary expertise to handle it safely in case your clients ask.
3. Emphasize Function
Your clients may be inclined to make cosmetic improvements in an attempt to increase property value. They may spend a fortune on high-end cabinetry and granite countertops which, though often pretty safe investments, depend on buyer expectations in a particular location. Cosmetic changes are less likely to yield as great a return on investment as updates that improve function.
You should help your clients identify potential flaws in the property. You have to do this anyway to complete the seller disclosure required by law. Your client should concentrate on resolving these issues first before addressing any cosmetic changes. Savvy buyers are more likely to look past superficial improvements and regard the bare bones with a critical eye, looking for exactly these types of problems. If they find them, buyers may simply look elsewhere or demand a lower purchase price, and you and your client may not be in a position to refuse.
4. Consider Curb Appeal
Once the functional issues have been dealt with and you and your clients can turn your attention to cosmetic improvements, look at them from the inside out. Yes, it is important that the home be safe and functional for when buyers start coming inside to look at it, but it is also important to encourage them to take a closer look. First impressions go a long way toward attracting buyers' attention and influencing their decisions. Therefore, you should encourage your clients to improve the appearance of the home's exterior before the interior but after resolving any functional issues.
It is not possible to modify all the factors that contribute to the property values of your clients' homes. Nevertheless, you should make a good-faith effort to help them do as much as they can in whatever limited time is available.