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Culture » Take Me Home

Remodel Priorities

Projects for the Highest Return



When sellers decide to put their home on the market, their first priority is examining the major elements of their home: the roof, heating system, exterior paint, etc. Once they determine those are in good shape, we recommend turning the focus to rooms inside the house. Start with the kitchen, move on to the bathroom and make sure the rest of the home can live up to the standards of those two rooms. Buyers are wowed with new, shiny and trendy materials, but a well-designed kitchen and bathroom will be much more attractive than a cool deck, built-in speakers or landscaping features. 

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It's true that everyone gathers in the kitchen. Think back to all of the wonderful times spent with family and friends eating, drinking and catching up while someone is cooking. It's the heart of the home and this fact remains true in the buyer's eyes as well. The kitchen needs to sparkle with delightful finishes while remaining functional for the user. The bathroom offers reprieve from the chaos of life. It is a sanctuary to prepare for the day or relax afterward in the comfort of a deep jetted tub, for example.

Prior to jumping into any project, planning is extremely important. Consider length of ownership, budget and overall remodel goals. If the home is going to be sold soon, it may be best to do a solid once-over on surfaces. If cabinets are in good condition, consider painting or resurfacing them. Replacing countertops and backsplash tile can update a home and give it a whole new look at a very reasonable price. Installing new appliances, plumbing fixtures, sinks and hardware will be the icing on the cake. Feel free to catch potential buyers' attention with trendy touches, but keep the palette toned down to appeal to a broad demographic over many years. If the home will be enjoyed for 2-5 years, it's worth exploring a more thorough and ambitious remodeling effort. This could be the time to replace flooring, move walls, strip the walls down to studs and rebuild fresh. Be thoughtful and intentional by choosing more timeless and durable finishes, while incorporating personal-style touches.

The first course of action is to seek inspiration from open houses, design showrooms, remodel TV shows and remodel websites. When getting to the actual work, a great place to start is in the kitchen, creating a design theme that can be extended and incorporated in the remainder of the home. Consider using a mix of materials, such as wood, stone, tile, metal and painted surfaces. Balance organic, natural finishes with those that have a human-made feel. Last but not least, always take into account the functionality of the space: This is equally important to creating a well-designed kitchen or bathroom.

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