Updating a home in challenging ‘selling’ times

I have been working on a house doing a redesign for a client who has a unique situation.

This client is working on a home which has dropped considerably in price due to the housing market but he needs to sell and it is in dire need of a makeover.

The property is a modest bungalow in a mediocre area of town and his concern is that even with improvements, he won’t get the dollars out of his home that he requires.

Initially, I advised him that if he could hold on for a few years then the market would have improved and he would be in a position of more equity and selling might be easier. As he is relocating for work, it is his first choice to sell unless he can find good renters for the next few years; after searching the rental market he is deciding on selling so that puts me into action for a redecorating plan before I list his property.

Renovations are delicate when you are dealing with limited amounts of equity and a crippled selling market.

It is easy to over develop a home in hopes of it selling for top dollar and the sad truth is that even the most sparkly home may not sell for the amount of money you have put into the renovation.

I proposed a plan for him to make the most out of his renovation needs which will help the home sell quickly based on its curb appeal and its interior finishes.

First plan of attack is for my client to do as much of the work himself, especially in the tear out/demolition phase as it will save him money.

We are going forward with a basic plan to freshen up the flooring, paint walls and ceilings and upgrade countertops and tile in the kitchens and bathrooms. When my client takes on the tasks of flooring and tile removal and paints the rooms himself, this will provide a large cost savings for his project.

The items which sell a home are the kitchen and bathrooms and his house has an unfortunate shade of orange oak cabinets and blue countertops which date the house and will make a potential buyer back out the door quickly!

We are hiring a refinishing contractor to paint the cabinets a creamy white and then ordering new countertops which will co-ordinate with the vinyl plank flooring being installed.

Once a new backsplash is installed (my client might tackle that himself), the house will have a new lease on life and my client will have refreshed the home for thousands less than a traditional renovation.

We also tackled a few items in the home like light fixtures and hardware which we changed from brass to pewter with a careful application of metal paint.

The dated fireplace front is now jet black instead of brass thanks to a coat of bbq paint. Heat resistant and durable!

These few touches are going to absolutely update this home and I feel like we have tackled this beast of a renovation for a very reasonable amount of money.

Every home is different and each project will have various items that tell its age. My job is to evaluate and advise my clients where to apply the wrinkle cream to obscure the visual age of their property.

Kim Wyse is a local freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.

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