I get asked a lot by my clients about what adds resale value in home renovations. The Denver metro area real estate market is white hot right now and home investments are top of mind for most people who own a house in this area. As a designer, I rarely get to see the homes that sell with only a few changes needed. I’m called out to help on the dated homes that are still rocking the 1980’s black and pink bathroom color schemes and the kitchens that haven’t been updated since the 1970’s. To help educate myself, and you, I had a conversation with a local realtor I know and love and got her ideas on what her clients are looking for in a home and what they are staying away from.
Here’s my conversation with the lovely and talented Rebecca Strobel of Re/Max Professionals. She’s been a long time client of mine and sold us our vintage home in Old Town Littleton last year!
1. What are your clients looking for in a home right now? Does the home have a livable outdoor space? Does it have a covered patio? My clients are looking for indoor/outdoor spaces that flow together with the option for more extensive outdoor living. Firepits, outdoor kitchens, covered dining areas – these are all things in hot demand right now. They add a lot to a home’s value. Views, while always a money maker, don’t seem to be as important right now as the livability of the outside area and how it relates to the interior.
2. Is there anything else that is consistently on a buyer’s “must have” list right now? Having a full bath on the main floor is still very important to many buyers. There are more generations living together in one home now, kids living with parents, parents living with their children, in addition to people interested in having the larger, main floor bathroom available for aging in place.
3. Besides the kitchen and bathroom, what other area or areas should people consider investing in? Clients get excited about homes that have attractive, usable areas to spend time with family. If you have a fireplace – consider updating it and making it a focal point. People in Colorado love the idea of sitting around a roaring fire on the cooler nights.
Another thing that people love to see is extra storage and oversized garages with room for a work bench or craft area. People in Colorado have all kinds of sports gear to store in addition to the usual holiday things. Any type of extra storage you can add immediately perks up people’s interest. I always tell people that adding a garage (if you don’t have one, but have the room for one) will more than make your money back for you.
4. What are the turn-offs for most of your buyers? Dark interiors. Don’t cover up the windows! Keep things light and bright. If you’re renovating, add more light to your space either by adding more windows or more lighting.
5. Is there something you see that people spend money on that is wasted on buyers? Granite everywhere! My clients are tired of seeing highly figured granite in every bathroom. If you’re going to go for the upgrade to a solid surface, choose something without a lot of movement in it and try to stay away from bold colors in the stone.
6. Anything else? No red walls. Please.
7. What is your number one advice for people who buy a new home and want to renovate it immediately? Hold off. Wait. Don’t make any major changes to the home before you live in the house.