Best / Worst Rehab Choices for the Money

Best / Worst Rehab Choices for the Money

Many investors ask, “what should I do to this property to get the most return for my investment?”

Great question! And, before you begin any rehab on a property you plan to sell, investigate the return you can expect versus the amount you’ll spend to do the work.

For example, if you plan to spend $40,000 adding a sunroom, would you still do it if it would only raise your property value $15,000?

1. Upkeep. Probably the best advice for the least money is – keep up the property while you live in it. So many sellers go all out fixing broken cabinet doors, cracked windows, exterior paint, replacing blinds, etc. when they plan to move. Really? Why let your house deteriorate in the first place? Keeping your home in top condition allows you to love it while you’re there, keeps upkeep costs low and spread out and, when you decide to sell, it’s practically ready “as is.”

2. Landscaping. Big bang for your buck here. Clean up the yard and clear out anything dead or dying. Aerate the soil, spread grass seed and put mulch or straw around shrubs. If the season is right, buy some inexpensive plants for color.

3. Home office. There was a time when home office was a big selling point. Now, with laptops and iPads, the office can be anywhere there’s a comfortable place to sit. Homeowners prefer an extra bedroom to a room with built in bookcases and high-tech wiring that limits it’s uses. If your home has a home office space, do what you can to make that room more versatile for buyers.

4. Master Suites. Yes, buyers love them. Buyers, in fact, look for master bedrooms with attached master baths that include jetted tubs, tile floors, double vanities and enclosed showers. However, if your home doesn’t currently have one, you probably don’t have the space to add it. And, guess what? Companies that survey this type of thing tell you to expect only a 50% return on money you invest in a large master bath upgrade. Yes, buyers want them and will buy a newer home that has one, but they aren’t going to pay you back for your remodel.

5. Additional bathroom. Buyers want a minimum 2 full baths and prefer an additional 1/2 bath for guests. Don’t have one? By adding square footage for another bath, again expect only a 50 percent return on your investment. A better and less expensive option is if you have a closet or space that allows you to add one in your existing square footage. Bathrooms are very high on buyers’ lists of wants, but keep your costs down because they also want a deal of a purchase price.

6. Garage. Most people prefer a garage, especially in colder climates. But adding an attached, two car garage can cost $70,000 or more. Will that overprice your home for the neighborhood? Buyers want to know they got a bargain, so you can’t ask more than your neighborhood comparables allow. Expect about a 50 percent return on investment (see a return trend here?).

7. Already have a garage? A fabulous re-sell tip is to clean it out, totally, so buyers see all that additional storage space. When cleaned out, put up drywall if your garage has only studs, and paint the walls so it looks fresh and clean. For the total new garage renovation, go to your home improvement store and get what you need to clean the floor of all grease. Then paint the floor with a grey concrete paint and that like-new space will do wonders toward selling your home quickly.

8. Paint. Again, inexpensive for the results. Don’t forget the exterior.

What rehab choices have been your best and worst?

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