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When remodeling a home or trying to get a home ready for resale, maximizing the return on your investment is key, but prioritizing which areas to tackle without breaking the bank can be an extremely tricky task. That’s why I sat down with a Licensed Realtor to talk about how Homeowners can get the most bang for their buck when it comes to tackling a remodel. Here are her tips!

“The days of popcorn or textured ceilings are in the past. Get them out!” 

In your eyes, where do homeowners get the most bang for their buck when it comes to remodeling and getting the best Return on Investment (ROI) for resale?

  1. PAINT-PAINT-PAINT! This is the #1 thing we have all our sellers do, it has the highest ROI. It’s not really remodeling but it is a simple and relatively inexpensive upgrade and it is essential for resale.
  2. Hardwood floors of any kind, instead of carpet. Buyers in today’s market really don’t like carpet…at least in Southern California.
  3. Kitchen and master bathroom updates. Refinishing old cabinets works great, and paired with quartz counters will dress up a drab, dated kitchen very inexpensively. Quartz seems to be the new go-to when it comes to kitchen remodels and is less expensive than granite for new countertops.
  4. Plenty of lighting and smooth ceilings are also very important. The days of popcorn or textured ceilings are in the past. Get them out!

     “Quartz counters- no more granite!”

    What are buyers looking for in a recent remodel? 

  1. Quality workmanship is important. Buyers are fairly sophisticated and can spot sloppy work and cheap materials. It makes them think that there are other thingswrong with the house.
  2. Open floorplans are requested from almost every buyer. Open kitchen/living areas are especially important in today’s market.
  3. Easy access to outdoor living- at least here in Southern California with our climate.
  4. All buyers watch HGTV type shows these days, and tend to like the trends in decor they see there.  People are leaning towards neutral colors and away from bold colors. Buyers are cautious around an ultra modern look. The magazines today like to shoot super modern stuff, but most buyers think it’s cold and can’t really visualize themselves in the space.
  5. Kitchens:  Freestanding islands. Lots of counter space! Quartz counters- no more granite! Loads of light and windows. Stainless appliances or the newer look called “smudge proof” slate appliances. Self closing drawers. All these things are really in at the moment.
  6. Bathrooms: Similar to kitchens, people are looking for storage and counter space. Showers: The bigger the better, and glass doors, no more shower curtains. Soaking tubs are more popular right now than spa tubs for some reason.  Textural tile, either patterned or large subway style tile.
  7. Cool light fixtures.  Big closets.
  8. Outdoor sitting, dining, and entertaining areas. Low maintenance landscaping is especially popular here in Southern California and succulents are super popular.

     “Please don’t put up wallpaper! Enough said there.  Maybe it will come back, maybe…Until then, don’t do it!”

    What are some of the most common mistakes you see homeowners making when it comes to remodeling?

  1. Spending WAY too much to do the above things! Be aware of the upper end of value for the neighborhood and don’t over-improve the home if you’re planning to sell within 5 years.  If you’re going to stay in the home for a long period of time, do the remodel for YOU and worry less about this, knowing you may not get dollar-for-dollar back on what you spent.
  2. Fixing cosmetic issues without addressing important infrastructure: Plumbing, sewer lines, roofs, etc. You can have a gorgeous house and a bad roof. Buyers tend to run away from that.
  3. Please don’t put up wallpaper! Enough said there.  Maybe it will come back, maybe…Until then, don’t do it!
  4. Hire the right contractor if you’re not comfortable doing the work, and check references carefully. Spend time doing your homework there. Also supervise them very closely! Hiring the wrong contractor is the #1 mistake I see.

    If homeowners do their own remodels without permitting the work, how does that affect their/your ability to sell the property in the future?

  1. It depends on what is done, but if an addition of any kind is done without a permit, the value of that square footage cannot be used to determine the overall value of the home at the time of sale. The appraiser technically has to ignore it. Some banks won’t allow a loan on a property with unpermitted additions which can greatly affect your ability to sell. DIY work is fine, but make sure you’re getting the proper permits when they’re required.

    New addition being added to old home
  2. Many homeowners choose not to permit interior remodels, even though they technically should be. Interior remodels tend not to impact the ability to resell the property in my experience, unless the work is particularly poor.
  3. If structural changes are made without permits, there can be a lot of liability in that that can come back to bite a previous homeowner after the fact. Full disclosures must be made at the time of sale to make sure buyers are aware of any work that was performed by the previous owner.

    How can homeowners make sure they’re not overspending on remodels based on the market? 

  1. Talk to a local, experienced real estate agent about the values in the neighborhood and the scope of the remodel you’re considering.  Local agents are a great resource for what is going on in the area and how it’s affected recent sales & values. Real Estate agents are also a great resource for finding reliable contractors and other professionals.

Meet the Realtor: 

Grace Miranda is head of The Miranda Team and has been a consistent top producing real estate agent for over 14 years. She is known in the real estate community for her skilled negotiations, aggressive marketing of homes, and her systematic approach to getting top dollar for her clients. She serves the real estate needs of sellers in the Los Angeles area, including Burbank, Toluca Lake, Shadow Hills, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Hollywood Hills, Glendale, North Hollywood, Los Feliz, Sun Valley, and the surrounding communities. She specializes in the sale of luxury and estate properties, equestrian homes, new construction, income and investment properties, as well as probate and trust sales. She and her team are very successful with short sales, having currently a 100% approval rate, and she is certified as a Short Sale Specialist.