5 Bargain Renovations That Will Add Value To Your Home. www.PhillyRealestateInvestorDeals.com

Do you have grand visions of gutting your dated kitchen, or maybe blowing out the bathroom walls to create a spa-like retreat? While major remodeling projects such as these can bring value to a home, budget-friendly projects can also deliver a fresh look – and real value for you and potential buyers.

“Something as simple as replacing the hardware in the kitchen can give you a whole new look,” says Paul Wyman, a regional vice president with the National Association of Realtors. Wyman is also an expert at determining if a remodeling project will add value to a home.

Curious which simple projects will give your home the most value? Keep reading to learn about a few affordable facelifts and bargain renovations that could boost your home’s value and add appeal.

Bargain Renovation #1: Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Would you believe that something as simple as replacing dated cabinetry doors could get you a higher return on investment than other major remodels? We didn’t either, until Remodeling Magazine’s 2011-2012 “Cost vs. Value Report” told us otherwise.

If the cabinets in your kitchen are well laid-out, sturdy, and plentiful but unappealing, refacing can be a cost-effective alternative to complete replacement. This process, which maintains the existing cabinetry’s frames and boxes but replaces the hardware and door and drawer fronts, can be just a quarter of the price of installing all-new cabinetry.

[Are your kitchen cabinets looking more shabby than chic? Click here to find a home contractor.]

What does that look like in hard figures? Kitchen Solvers, a resurfacing company in La Crosse, Wisc., offers the example of a client paying $6,000 to install solid cherry doors on existing cabinetry, rather than shelling out $24,000 to install everything new. That sure sounds like a good savings to us.

Bargain Renovation #2: Install a New Kitchen Countertop

If you adore the luxurious look of a stone countertop but don’t love the high price, there are ways to achieve the high-end feel of granite or marble without breaking the bank.

You can save on granite, for example, by buying remnants from a stone yard, according to a July 2012 Consumer Reports article titled “Get the luxury look for Less.” Or, if you have your eye on marble, a slab from Vermont will cost at least 20 percent less than one from Italy, according to the report.

[Looking to upgrade your kitchen countertop? Click here to find a home contractor in your area.]

For a truly budget-friendly option, Consumer Reports suggests that you consider a laminate countertop.

Laminate, which is made of sheets of plastic resin and paper bonded to particle board or fiberboard, could resemble granite or marble with today’s printing technologies, notes Consumer Reports.

Bargain Renovation #3: Update the Bathroom

According to HGTV’s “Maximum Value Projects,” on FrontDoor.com, updating a bathroom is a great way to add value to your home. And it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.

In fact, HGTV says updating the sink and fixtures will yield more value than replacing the countertop, flooring, toilet, or even the tub and shower. To avoid the premium price and save “hundreds of dollars without compromising quality,” Consumer Reports’ bathroom remodeling guide recommends selecting sinks and fixtures with basic finishes.

[Need a bathroom remodel? Click here to find the right home contractor for the job.]

Looking for more value-adding updates that are gentle on your wallet? Consumer Reports suggests replacing an outdated wall-to-wall mirror with individual framed mirrors over each sink, or replacing stained grout with stain-resistant grout.

Bargain Renovation #4: Boost Curb Appeal With a New Roof

Honestly, who looks at a roof? Homebuyers, evidently. Even if most of your roof isn’t visible from the street, it is still an important aesthetic and functional feature that’s in a prime position to elevate – or squash – your home’s curb appeal.

“When people buy a house, they expect it to have a roof, but if it’s recently been redone, they will really see the value in that,” Wyman says.

Fortunately, for a flashy and durable roof, you don’t have to select a costly specialty material – like slate, tile, or metal. Composite asphalt shingles is the most common material, and it fits easily in many types of budgets, according to HGTV’s “Maximum Value Home Exterior Projects: Roof.”

Composite shingles are now available in a wide range of styles and colors, according to HGTV, allowing homeowners to create a custom look that matches the home’s façade or plays up its architectural details.

Bargain Renovation #5: Add a Deck

Looking for a new living space that will add value to your home? Look no further than the square footage waiting right outside your back door.

In fact, adding a deck to your home could offer one of the highest cost-recoup opportunities, according to the cost-value report. And you don’t have to choose a high-priced composite material. The survey found that decks built with wood actually delivered a greater return at resale than those built with composite material – boasting a 70 percent return on cost, compared to 62.8 percent.

Because deck-building is a potential DIY project – depending on your familiarity with a power saw, of course – savings could be even higher.

“Any type of work you have the ability to do yourself, with quality, makes it a bigger bargain because you’re saving on labor costs,” Wyman points out.

But if your home improvement skills are a little iffy, or you would rather sit back and relax during the renovation, it’s probably best to leave this one up to the pros.

How to Avoid 10 Home Sales Killers

As much as we’d love to say that buying and selling a homeis as easy and romantic as the movies make it appear, the fact is that there is a lot of work that goes into the process.  From the seller’s standpoint, there’s cleaning, updating, and renovating the property.  Fact is, even seasoned homeowners lose thousands of dollars because they didn’t know about the important factors.  The good news is that these potential complications are easily avoidable with just the proper attention to detail and a proactive approach.

Here are 10 Home Sales Killers that could be safely and inexpensively be avoided:

Dirt
Dirt is one of the easier culprits that tend to creep up on a property, in all types of unexpected places and crevices.  Flooring is one of the most visible areas of your home where it can collect.  If your carpet is worn or dirty, get it replaced or cleaned.  If you have vinyl flooring with corners coming up, get it glued down.  If you have a deck, power wash it.  All of these are easy and inexpensive fixes to prevent a potential buyer from being discouraged.  Walk through your property with a clip board, and try hard to see it with buyer’s eyes.

Clutter
Excess clutter is a big buyer turn-off.  You are planning to move anyway, so you might as well pack away personal items that may turn off buyers.  This includes nick-knacks, furniture, pictures, wall hangings, plants, etc.  This also allows them to imagine their own belongings in the home. Some experts suggest clearing out 50% of the furniture and accessories in each room!

Odors
Because homeowners become desensitized to their own odors in their homes, they rarely realize how obvious odors can be to visitors.  This is particularly true of pet owners and smokers.  An easy way to take care of this is by traditional means of candles, potpourri, and air fresheners.  Flowers are also a way to add a soft aroma with a touch of charm.

Wallpaper
Wallpaper is usually a turn-off for buyers.  Even if a potential buyer doesn’t mind wallpaper, the chance that they will be happy with yours is slim to none. Wallpaper creates an extremely personalized look. Do yourself a favor and get rid of it now. Replace it with a clean coat of neutral paint

Too many personal items
Personality is great, especially in your home.  But that’s just it, it’s no longer going to be your home.  With that in mind, it’s important to give the potential seller a clear palate. Allow some white space and openness for their imagination to flow.  Instead of them checking out the photos of your family vacation, let them picture their own photos gracing the walls.  Buyers need to imagine how they can make your home, their home.

Poor curb appeal
When the outside of your home is attractive and well maintained, you’re guaranteed to have an increase in the number of buyers who stop in and take a tour.  So take a walk away from your home.  Then walk toward your home the way a potential buyer would.  Is the doorway inviting?  Are the windows clean?  Maybe add a blooming pot of flowers by the front door.  Notice the roof.  Is it in good condition?  Make a list of items that need attention.   Inspecting your property the way a buyer would will better improve the ease and quickness of your home being sold. 

Old fixtures
You’ve gotten used to the old, peeling trim on your bathroom light fixtures or that ceiling fan decorated with stickers in your daughter’s room. Outdated fixtures are some of the least expensive things to replace, but sadly, the most overlooked by home sellers. Take a critical walk through your home, removing nostalgic thoughts or emotional ties and make a list of old fixtures that need to be replaced.

Popcorn acoustic ceilings
Yes, these were the rage in the 70′s, but those days are long gone.  What a buyer sees when they look at a popcorn ceiling is dollar signs and work. Do yourself a favor and either do the work yourself to get rid of the outdated look, or be prepared to credit a potential buyer.

Snoopy sellers
When your home is being shown, get out of there!  Take a walk, run some errands, but remove yourself and your kids and your pets from the home while potential buyers are touring.  Nothing is worse than the owner following buyers around, adding their comments.  Buyers need to feel free to discuss the home with each other, pointing out flaws and concerns, without fear of offending the current owner.  An agent won’t be able to make additional points or help the buyer to work through their apprehensions with the seller lurking.

Misrepresenting your home
Be honest!  There is clearly a difference between listing photos that show rooms and features in their best possible light, and photos that are just plain misrepresentations. If you have something to hide and you choose to conveniently leave it out of your photos, you are going to just aggravate your potential buyer.  You will also cause buyers to wonder what else you’ve got to hide. Any form of misrepresentation just builds suspicion and mistrust. Disclose, disclose, disclose!