According to the MLS, Martin County home sales were up over 20% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, with the median sale price up over 10% and continuing to rise today. With low interest rates, home inventory at a record low and a demand on the Treasure Coast at a record high, home selling is very hot right now!
Whether you’re wanting to sell your home now, or in a few years from now, there are many ways to improve your home’s potential resale price. You can start these projects this weekend or plan them out over a longer period of time to gradually make your home both a happy space for you and an attractive prospect for homebuyers.
The key to deciding on what upgrades are in demand starts with doing the research and due diligence on what comparable homes in your area are selling for. This data is easily found on Zillow or Redfin by just browsing similar listings and checking out photos and features of a property. This can be fun and drive a lot of inspiration! Focus on your specific neighborhood and similar square footage, amenities, bedroom and bathroom quantities. If your home is not up to par with homes recently sold in your area, you can use all of the previously-sold data to set a budget for your whole improvement project and prioritize the “low hanging fruit” projects that would stick out most when a potential homebuyer walks into your home.
Whether you’re in Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Jupiter, or anywhere in South Florida, these tips will help you increase your property value to make your home much more enticing than a comparable model being sold down the street!
A fresh coat of trendy color is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can do to your home, whether it’s the interior, exterior, or both. For the outside we mostly like to stick to light, neutral colors like whites and interesting shades of light gray due to the energy savings, but sometimes dark and bold can really elevate a home’s curb appeal.
For interior painting, try to focus on consistency throughout walls and rooms, again sticking with neutral, light colors. You can use tasteful artwork to add a pop of bright color to a room, but remember to keep that room’s focal point in mind. The good thing about art is that potential homebuyers know that it doesn’t come with the house if it doesn’t suit their style. A wall painted with a brightly-colored coral reef scene done by your best friend’s mom ten years ago, however, does come with the house and will typically not have anyone pulling out their checkbook on the spot.
Paint projects can also lead to simple drywall repairs like patching holes and touching up trim that you never thought you needed, but can make quick work of since you’ve already got the paint and brush ready to go. Painting is DIY-friendly, but we recommend hiring a licensed painter to knock out large projects, especially exterior ones quickly and professionally.
A Grand Entry
Entryways can offer a very powerful first impression to visitors, sometimes good and sometimes very, very bad. As simple as potted plants, welcome mats, and upgraded door hardware, are all simple and cheap ways to improve that first impression. Keyless smart locks are also a cheap upgrade that make a home look and feel modern and enticing.
Painted front doors are a low cost DIY project, or if your door is aging, replace it! Most modern exterior doors sold in Florida come with a much higher wind rating than ever before for when hurricane season rears its ugly head. This is a highlight point that often gets brought up at the very start of a real estate showing.
Upgraded flooring that runs continuously throughout the bedrooms, living areas, and kitchen is a trend that is not going anywhere right now and is an extremely simple way to make the home feel larger and more unified. Stick with neutral colors like grays, light browns and even whites.
For this one we recommend hiring a professional because having cracked or hollow sections of flooring can be a big red flag with potential homebuyers. With Florida’s humidity and water-centric lifestyle we recommend going with a waterproof vinyl for cost-effectiveness. One of the big benefits of upgrading to vinyl is that is can be laid over your existing tile floor, so no demo mess needed!
If you don’t mind the cost and mess of ripping up tile, we would also recommend large format faux wood tile, or humidity-rated wood floors for beautiful flooring that will last a lifetime.
Decorate, But Keep it Clean and Light
The biggest mistake we see is “too much” in the decorating department. Take it easy on the Guy Harvey paintings, heirloom pillowcases, and overly colorful fish sculptures. Perhaps look at more abstract and neutral accent artwork, clean and color-matched pillows for couches and beds. You also can’t go wrong with house plants, either real or fake, no judgement!
Remember that every room needs a main focal point and a supporting cast, but too many focal points makes a room feel noisy and unorganized.
Light it Up
Adding lights is easier and cheaper than ever. Classy, clean dimmable fixtures and recessed ceiling LEDs keep the space light and bright. If you’re a little handy and comfortable with electrical, swapping out dated light fixtures with new ones is a DIY-friendly project, but always make sure to turn off the appropriate breaker before messing with your lights!
You don’t want to neglect to also let natural light in whenever possible. Part of living in South Florida is experiencing both the stormy days and the sunshine whether you are stuck inside or outside. If old windows need to be upgraded and budget allows, impact windows are a huge selling point for potential homebuyers, no one likes putting up shutters!
Curtains are another a DIY project and only have to cost a few hundred dollars depending on the number of windows. Colors are up to you, but we love light and neutral to match the rest of the home. Our tip for this is to select curtains that are one size smaller than your floor to ceiling height at each window. Hang them as high as possible and and let them gently brush, or sit a little bit above the floor, depending on your preference. Make sure that all of the curtains in a room are at the same height as each other! Curtains should also extend past a window’s width by at least 18 inches on either side, but more is even better. These methods can make a room look much larger and well put-together.
Sleek, new appliances can be an eye-catching upgrade for all of the home chefs of the world. If your budget allows, you can shop around for discounts and upgrade that 10-year-old microwave, range, refrigerator, or washing machine without breaking the bank. Home shoppers tend to prioritize “new” opposed to “high end” when it comes to appliances. These days, even the more budget-friendly new appliances are high-quality enough to make a positive statement.
If new appliances are not in the budget, deep cleaning of existing appliances to look as new and presentable as possible is the next best thing.
If you’re looking for a full facelift, hire a professional to help handle the project. There is a definitive difference in remodeling a home to be the way you want it to be and remodeling a home for resale value. A professional designer can help you work within your budget and has the experience and understand of finding what the best bang for the buck will be.
As Floridians, we live in paradise, and making outdoor spaces welcoming is a huge selling point for South Florida homebuyers.
For the many of us who have been stuck at home lately, outdoor kitchens are extremely trendy right now. Whether it be a grilling station or full outdoor kitchen, you can’t go wrong with a classy outdoor party space.
For tight budgets, creating an area for lounging with pavers doesn’t have to break the bank, and you can get most pavers delivered right to your home on a pallet at no extra cost. Add a nice gas fire pit (yes we live in Florida, but you’d be surprised how great these are when it dips below 70°) and some comfy Adirondack chairs with potted plants and you’ve got yourself a DIY backyard oasis!
Keeping grass green and planting low-maintenance shrubs and trees increases curb appeal. A little water and organic fertilizer goes a long way when it comes to making a lawn look beautiful.
In Florida, we are blessed with some of the most beautiful tropical flora and homebuyers love when they are greeted with a well-kept yard. One of our favorite low-maintenance South Florida natives is the Clusia plant that can be used as a privacy hedge or a beautiful tropical shrub. New mulch or marble chips under your plants can help keep them healthy and looking pristine.
We recommend taking on a landscaping project on your own because not only does it drastically improve curb appeal, it is also a great outdoor activity. In Stuart, you can find some great local nurseries with friendly staff that can help you select your low-maintenance plants to make your yard look beautiful!
There are many ways to increase your home’s resale value and attract the high-bidders. As a home-seller in the current market, you hold most of the cards which makes it advantageous to capitalize on your unique selling power. Establishing and sticking to your budget and timeline is the key here. Do your due diligence when deciding what projects to prioritize and focus on what features and improvements you think a potential homebuyer in your neighborhood would want to buy most.
When you’re ready to sell your home, we highly recommend that you work with a quality realtor. They will help you with staging the home if needed and creating a beautiful listing with professional photos. Realtors will also handle the showings and all of the paperwork so you don’t have to. A good real estate team takes the stress out of the process so you can focus on moving into and making your next forever home!