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  • Writer's pictureKeichel Lewter

5 Improvements Every House Needs Before Listing to Add Value

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Most conversations between agents and sellers start similarly: The homeowner wants to sell quickly—and they usually have a target list price in mind. Their target price is generally based on how much their neighbor sold for recently or, to all real estate agents’ displeasure, the Zestimate for their property.

To achieve a client’s target list price, agents recommend updates ranging from a few repairs and a fresh coat of paint to a large-scale renovation project. It seems counterintuitive to many homeowners to update their homes for the next owners. Especially since inventory is low and they know they can sell quickly—why wait when they can list today and probably sell within days?

There are three main reasons sellers opt out of pre-listing updates (time, money, and stress), and Curbio’s pre-listing updates provide a solution for each. With those worries out of the way, sellers and their agents can focus on which updates will help them achieve their target list price and a higher profit at closing.

Below are the five improvements we suggest for almost every house in order to add value and sell for the property’s full profit potential.

1. Add a fresh coat of paint Even homes that have been maintained very well usually need a fresh coat of paint, and the right paint color can actually help homes feel larger. Below are our favorite examples to show the tremendous power of paint.

All we did in this bathroom was apply a fresh coat of paint and update the lighting, but it looks like a completely different space. While wallpaper used to be a popular design choice used by homeowners to make their homes feel more personal, most of today’s buyers prefer light, solid, neutral paint to brighten up spaces and make them appear larger.

Wood paneling is another design choice that’s fallen out of favor. In many cases, painting the original wood paneling is a smart renovation choice that looks great and costs less than new drywall. Paired with a beautiful fireplace design and new hardwood floors, the paint brightened up this room and made it look significantly larger.

2. Use consistent flooring to bring spaces together While painting is the most common update amongst Curbio’d homes, flooring is a close second. Older homes often have dated or damaged flooring that needs to be replaced to appeal to home buyers.

For the property below, paint and flooring were our primary focus, and we only took on a few other small changes. The updates came out to a total of $15k and the home sold for $81k more than it would have if listed as-is. We can bet the homeowner was thrilled her agent brought up Curbio in the listing presentation.

Each space in this one-level home had its own type of flooring, which wasn’t doing the open-concept any favors. We removed all of the existing flooring and replaced it with luxury vinyl tile throughout to instantly make the most of the open concept and help the home feel larger and more cohesive.

3. Update the kitchen Kitchens are the heart of the home, and one of the most intimidating projects for potential buyers. As such, an outdated or dysfunctional kitchen can be an immediate turn-off for buyers and can decrease the value of the home significantly. Updating a kitchen doesn’t always require a complete remodel. Curbio and its clients frequently choose to do a quick refresh to shrink the project timeline and costs while still meeting the demands of modern buyers.

All we did in this kitchen was paint the existing cabinets and update the lighting, but it looks like an entirely different kitchen, doesn’t it? Because we opted for refreshing this home rather than fully renovating it, the project resulted in an ROI of 282%. The best part is that’s a return on money that Curbio fronted for the project, meaning the homeowner didn’t need any cash to achieve a profit of $142k! For this kitchen, Curbio and the clients opted for a full kitchen remodel, including the removal of a wall to open the space up to the living area. The result is a jaw-dropping design that buyers swooned over.

4. Update bathrooms Bathrooms, and specifically, the master bathroom, is the second most frustrating room to renovate while living in a home. With self-care steadily rising in importance since around 2015, bathroom design has become an important element for buyers. Popular bathroom trends favored by today’s buyers include free-standing tubs, furniture-style vanities, and modern paint colors, flooring, and hardware.

Similar to kitchens, we decide with the agent and homeowner whether it’s best to take on a full-scale remodel or a quick refresh. We shared a master bathroom refresh at the beginning of this post for which we removed the wallpaper, painted, and updated the lights.

Below is one of our favorite bathroom renovations that transformed the master bathroom from dated (and honestly, a little scary) to modern bliss. This new bathroom is perfect for some alone time from the kids—something most parents need now more than ever.

5. Clean up the exterior We recently wrote about curb appeal and the 6 best ideas to improve curb appeal because the exterior of a home can make or break a buyer’s decision before they even walk through the door. Even if a home is a buyer’s dream on the inside, if the outside looks like it needs work, you may take longer to sell the home—and it will likely self or much less than if you just make some easy (yet critical) updates to make it look new.

This exterior update shows that sometimes a fresh coat of paint is all you need. See more examples of exterior before and after photos.

Each home is unique and requires different updates to help it sell for its full profit potential. To get started on your pre-listing project, speak with a real estate professional. On the call, you’ll discuss the specific home and what it needs and be given an initial, general estimate to bring to you the seller—as well as resources to help show you the value of pre-listing updates.

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