File this one under “less is more”.
Sellers tend to think they have to spend a lot of money on home improvements in order to maintain or increase their house’s perceived market value. However, simple cost-effective solutions can often yield more bang for the buck returns than over-the-top expenditures on major home renovations.
For example, let’s say you have a fence on your property in bad repair. Your first instinct may be to tear it down and replace it, as it is falling down and ruins the entire appearance of your home. By all means tear it down, but why should you replace it? Leave that decision to the buyer! Maybe they won’t even want a fence. Why spend thousands of dollars on an unwanted home improvement? Take down the fence and blow out the flowerbeds around it. Your home will look much better without you unnecessarily spending a lot of money.
The same goes for the kitchen. It’s more or less a given that any new buyer will want to renovate this room. But how are you supposed to know their tastes or needs along these lines? You may install a whole new kitchen in hopes of improving the house’s market value only to have the expensive choices you made rejected. Chances are, no matter what renovations you make, the buyers will want to re-do them. Therefore, instead of going for the “wow” factor, think damage-control. Get rid of any and all outdated appliances, fix or replace falling down cracked backsplash tiles and cabinet fixtures. Make sure everything works as expected and leave the big decisions to the new owners.
If you really want to boost your home’s market value, make sure to spend in ways that will actually accomplish that end. You might want to consider having a pre-sale home inspection in order to get in front of inspection items. If, for example, your inspection turns up knob and tube wiring, you can remove and replace it immediately. Not only does this allow you to work with the buyer in addressing any and all issues as they arise, it also establishes trust with them, showing that you are willing to be open and cooperative.