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renovationsExcerpted from an article by Realty Times Staff

“If you’re looking to get the best return on your investment or just improve your property to attract high quality tenants, a kitchen remodel is one of the highest value projects.  The most recent cost vs. value report, released in January 2014, shows that property owners will recoup 82.7% of the cost on a minor kitchen remodel, an increase of more than five percent over 2013.  The good news is that high value renovations like these don’t have to break the bank.  There are a number of options for making improvements to your property that can significantly better its appearance without spending a lot.

KITCHEN:  The first thing people look at when buying a house is the kitchen and bathrooms, according to the director of the remodeling futures program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.  It’s not different for potential renters, and Rental.Us.com reports these two rooms are considered the best investments for property owners.  Minor improvements such as replacing the kitchen faucet and adding new cabinet door handles can make a big difference in the look of your kitchen.  Consider switching out old flourescent lights for new track lighting or adding a new countertop, laminate isn’t too expensive and can really help update the room.  If the appliances don’t match and you can’t afford to replace them, a less pricey option is to replace their doors or face panels with matching colors which can generally be ordered direct from the manufacturer.

BATHROOMS:  As bathrooms are also a high priority for home buyers and renters, don’t leave them out when sprucing up your property.  Consider changing out old towel bars, toilet sets and sink faucets.  If your tiling is old and outdated, it should also be replaced.  Re-grouting tile around the shower and bath is also an easy and inexpensive update.

FLOORING:  Floors are another important factor that can make or break a home’s appearance.  If you can afford it, consider replacing carpeting with wood laminate flooring.  It’s cheaper than other hardwoods but can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the years in maintenance costs.  At a minimum, you should have carpets professionally cleaned.

THE FRONT DOOR:  Entry door replacement was on the top of the list when it comes to high value renovations, according to the 2014 cost v. value report.  This is one of the first things potential buyers will notice.  If replacing the door is not in your budget, consider repainting it to add curb appeal and changing out the handle-and-lock to help suggest that it’s a solid, sturdy home.  (If painting, stand back and look at your house and the existing trim.  Pick a door color that will match or blend with the existing trim, or enhance it.  Or go with finished wood.  Barn or dark red, forest green, “Charleston Green”, which is almost black, or natural wood stain finishes are popular for mountain homes.  The Connestee Falls POA can provide a list of preferred colors for external trim, siding and doors)

THE EXTERIOR:  Of course, an attractive home exterior is a must, enticing prospective buyers or renters to want to take a closer look.  If the outside looks shabby, there is a good chance that it will be passed by.  General cleaning and maintenance of the exterior can greatly improve curb appeal.  Remove any items that are left sitting unused, including old, rusty patio furniture or broken garden tools and equipment.  These things generally can’t be picked up by your local garbage company and you may need to find a rental dumpster service so that you can tidy up your yard and easily dispose of those unwanted items.  Additionally, make sure that walkways are swept and the lawn is well-manicured.”

SOURCE:  Realty Times Staff     IMAGE:  realtybiznews.com

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