Look for Red Flags
Before signing on the dotted line, hire a home inspector to give the place a thorough evaluation. An inspection may cost $200-$300, but it is well worth the price if the inspector uncovers a major structural issue or another pricey problem. Tip: If the problem sounds like a money pit, it probably is.
Spy on the Neighbors
Scope out the neighborhood before starting any work. You don’t need to upgrade far beyond neighborhood standards. For example, if most homes have window air units, or none at all, you won’t recoup the cost of central air conditioning. Conversely, if granite countertops are a staple, you’ll lose money on your investment by installing laminate. Tip: Attend a few real estate open houses in the area to examine the homes’ interiors.
Remodel the Most Important Rooms
Kitchen and bathroom remodels are still high on the must have list, because they’re the rooms buyers look at first and use the most. What upgrades you make and how much you spend will depend on the market and your budget, but make it your mission to create bright, clean, family-friendly rooms.
Upgrade the Underbelly
The heating and air conditioning unit, water heater, wiring and plumbing should all be in good condition. If they aren’t, hire a licensed electrician to do the work, since if improperly done, it can lead to a fire and/or legal hassles.
Paint + Flooring = Dramatic Value
Real estate experts always advise giving walls and trim a fresh coat of paint, but don’t forget what’s underfoot. Old hardwood flooring hidden under outdated carpet and laminate is usually worth refinishing.
It’s the Little Things
Don’t underestimate the effect of inexpensive cosmetic improvements like new doorknobs, switch plates, toilet seats, ceiling fans, faucets and cabinet pulls.
Add Curb Appeal
Keep a clean, mowed front yard, a colorful planter and a welcome mat. If the home’s landscaping is overgrown and neglected, trim out the excess or plant a few inexpensive foundation bushes near the front. Tip: Mulch flowerbeds with a dark-colored mulch to add instant charm.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind, is to invest in improvements that will add at least twice their cost to the home’s value.
Article courtesy of hgtv.com