After a dramatic uptick of buying and selling in 2013, Vegas homeowners may approach 2014 with less frenzy and more deliberation, says local realtor Dave Tina. That’s why, if you’re planning on selling in the future, you might want to consider making strategic upgrades and renovations now—those that tend to pay off at resale.
Projects with a ‘dollar-for-dollar’ return
According to Tina, renovations that typically offer the best return in the valley include upgraded bathrooms and kitchens, along with projects that increase the square footage of the house, such as the addition of a bathroom, bedroom or family room.
Kolleen Kelley, president of the Nevada Association of Realtors, agrees. You tend to get back 100 percent of what you spend for upgraded bathrooms and kitchens, she says, but only if the home is already functional and in good condition.
And that’s where expert advice may come in handy. “When a [real estate agent] comes in to take a listing, they’ll do a thorough room-by-room tour with the seller on how to stage the home,” Kelley says. “They’ll give tips—suggest that the seller clean, declutter, fix a spot on the ceiling, paint.”
They also know the peculiarities that are specific to the housing market in the valley. “The funny thing about Vegas is that it’s the land of the new,” says Tina. “If you walk into a 1980s kitchen, you’ll want it upgraded. People want bathrooms and kitchens that are as modern as they can be.”
You also need to consider other homes in the neighborhood, says Kelley. For instance, in an area filled with $150,000 homes, high-end Italian marble might not be an appropriate material.
Smaller, but still effective, updates
Eduardo Castillo, owner of Castillo Construction (formerly Will Cast Construction Company), says that his company has completed about 35 upgrade projects in the past year. For most, the budget has ranged from $4,200 to $7,000 and has been used to spruce up homes with features like brushed aluminum, new carpeting, countertops, flooring, paint for interior walls or tile.
“Updating is something that a prospective buyer would see right away,” says Castillo. “The newness, the cleanliness of the space. Fresh paint gives it a homey feel. New floors and carpeting help people sell homes faster.”
Fresh paint is one of the most-requested upgrades, says Castillo. And, over the past five years, he says he has noticed a trend—away from darker earth tones, toward lighter pastels.
“Just two weeks ago we used a green pastel color in a house, and I was amazed at how the whole space came together with the lighter color,” he says.
Clearly, there are a range of options to fit every budget—from kitchen and bath upgrades to a fresh coat of paint—that can put the “newness” in your home that local experts agree is important when you’re putting your home on the market.