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Enjoy Now – Get Paid Later

Sounds like a double bonus doesn’t it? Strange as it may be, it is often true in the world of keeping your home updated. As we pass the 10 year anniversary of when the market crashed here in Mid-Michigan (a bit later than many parts of the U.S.) I have seen a number of homes going on the market that were purchased right before that bubble burst. Even though our average home sales are again about the same as just before that burst, many of the homes I’m doing markets on are just not on par with the figure they bought them for.  What do these particular homes have in common? They all lack updates.
For whatever reason, it seems many of the homes I’ve been doing markets on were built in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, when I walk in – I’m pretty much seeing exactly what I would have seen 20 years ago, except now the stuff is 20 years old! Sure, some folks have put in a few rooms of carpet (though many haven’t) but for the most part things are the same. We have old laminate or tile counter tops, out of date appliances, mis-matched fixtures, 90’s wallpaper, etc.  I have sold enough homes (averaging 1/week) to say that people in general want to purchase a home that is updated, investors excluded. A clean updated home will sell so much faster and for a higher price than an outdated one every time!
Maybe it is because it has economically been a rough ten years for our community that there’s an abundance of outdated inventory. Or maybe people just don’t realize the value of keeping their home updated.  I would suggest you make small updates to your home annually; besides raising the sales price for the future – you get to enjoy it now! I recently went on a market analysis in what would be considered a luxury price point. Fabulous floor plan and amenities. However, it was a 1998 kitchen that was not only not-functional but there was laminate in a $400K price point – not possible.  I proceeded to give my prospective clients three values: $289,000 as-is, $369,000 re-doing the kitchen and master bath, or $425,000 with a complete remodel. We ripped apart the kitchen, opened it up and put in new tile backsplashes and granite counter tops. Looks like a whole new place, and we spent about $10,000 but brought the value up a ton.  The sellers – well, they’re not so sure they want to move anymore! They love it! It got me thinking, why are so many waiting to update until the time they’re ready to sell? Why not do a little bit every year and enjoy those updates now AND reap the benefits later.  Financially, it is a lot easier to do a project every year than something great big when you’re getting ready to move.
Surely I’m not saying that you will get your money back for every single update you do.  There are of course wise ways to increase your home’s value and other ways that, though they may make your home more enjoyable for your family, don’t necessarily get your money back. If you’re not sure what the best updates to do are – you can always ask me. Free advice. But generally speaking; kitchens, master suites, and baths are a great bet – as well as an attractive entrance. So lift your spirits a little and grab a can of paint, pick out some new floors or take a sledgehammer to those pink tiled walls in your old bathroom! Have fun, love the home you’re in, and invest for your future!
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