Tom Kelly: Real Estate Today
Whether or not to sell your primary residence might be the most important decision you make in the next few months. If you decide to sell, don't jeopardize the decision by making the costly mistake of over-improving your nest egg - or racing to create a new room the new owner might enjoy.
Major structural changes, especially in this economic environment, need to be intensively scrutinized. Ninety percent of all remodeling projects take more than one year of appreciation to recover the costs of the improvement.
And, some projects never even get close to becoming a financial wash. Don't get carried away with a pet project that may draw the eye of a certain set of home buyers.
The solution? Paint, paint and simply paint some more. Paint is the least expensive and the most profitable improvement you can make. For example, be certain your entry is especially crisp and bright. Take advantage of your outside trim and highlight it with a color that truly makes your home stand out on the street.
Thinking about a color for the kids' old bedrooms? Most prospective buyers won't see the magic of magenta or the charisma of chartreuse. Stay boring, and attractive, with light beige and don't wander very far from off white.
If you want to be bold, be sure you know the type of buyer who will be looking at your home before you bring out your version of "wow" yellow in the den or "cool" gray in the bedroom.
If you are a female and single - and are certain your buyer will be the same type of individual - the paint and fixtures you choose for your home can be far different than those of a family home in a huge subdivision.
The way we live and work has changed dramatically in the past decade and our expectations of our homes have changed, too. If you are getting ready to list your home for sale, don't gamble that your taste in a new kitchen, den or master suite will match the desires of the potential home buyers that come through your door.
Don't waste your time - or jeopardize your money - by undertaking remodeling projects in an attempt to draw potential home buyers to an open house. It takes too long and you could easily guess wrong.
Remember, most buyers want to purchase a residence in model home condition, so all they have to do is turn the key in the front door and move in. Your challenge is to bring this feeling with the least possible amount of stress, cash and time.