Fairfax’s tepid market means that now is not the best time to sell. But it is a good time to invest in your home to increase its future value, with improvements that give you a good return.
The US housing market has been rebounding in the last few years, but Fairfax county has actually seen below average growth recently—less than many surrounding areas. The median sale price in Fairfax is up only 1% from a year ago, and homes are spending about 9% longer on the market. For homeowners in the area, this means that now is not the best time to sell. But it is a good time to invest in your home to increase its future value for when the market warms up.
The key here is investing in features of your home that give you a good return. You want to address any wants and needs of today, but also choose upgrades that will be widely appealing to potential home buyers down the line.
Remodeling Ideas That Add Value to Your Home
When determining which areas of your home are the best candidates for improvements, a lot depends on your specific circumstances. You’ll want to ask yourself some questions. How old are your current fixtures? How functional is your current setup? How appealing is your home’s style to potential buyers? Will that style still be appealing to buyers in years to come, even after trends may have changed?
There are certain obvious places to start, but our list also touches on some improvements you may not have considered.
The common wisdom today is that the kitchen is always a smart space to invest in. RE/MAX suggests that it is possible to recoup 150% of the cost of a kitchen remodel if you do it wisely. Countertops and flooring are probably the first things people think of for a kitchen remodel, but don’t forget about storage. A reach-in or walk-in pantry can be a huge selling point for a home. This is especially true if your home has more than two bedrooms, which makes it more likely that a family with greater food-storage needs may buy your home.
Bathrooms are another common target for remodeling to increase resale value, and again, countertops and flooring are usually the focus. But you can also do little things that will make your bathroom more functional now and also appeal to buyers in the future. For example, swap out old, outdated towel racks and cabinet hardware, and upgrade the lighting as well if it is also showing its age. But if you’re thinking of upgrading to a luxury shower, make sure at least one bathroom still has a bathtub, as most potential buyers will want the option available.
The bedroom might seem like an area of your home where there is little you can do to affect value that doesn’t require major renovations—but don’t overlook the significance of a great closet. Along with the size of the room and the presence of an adjoining bathroom, the closet in your master suite is a major selling factor. This is true nationally, and professionals moving to Fairfax County who commute to DC will want an efficient and organized place to store their professional attire.
There is a huge difference between your standard reach-in closet with a hanging bar and shelf and a custom closet system that maximizes the storage potential of the space and makes it easy to organize your clothes within it. Similarly, there is a big difference between a standard walk-in closet, which is also typically just a cube with hanging bars and shelves, and a walk-in that features shoe racks, jewelry storage, a wardrobe lift, and custom lighting.
The weather in Fairfax can be fickle, and in the winter many people will want to park their cars inside a garage. Make sure you keep this space open for that reason—but there are also many DIY types here, and a workspace can be a real draw to a prospective buyer. With a custom workbench and storage area for tools and supplies, you not only give yourself a better space in which to tackle your own projects, but you also offer the next owners an enticing feature and promise of organization that they could see themselves using. Who doesn’t love the idea of a pristinely organized garage?
Important Considerations Before You Remodel
Making home improvements with the long-term goal of improving resale value is quite different than if you’re hoping to sell your home immediately. Keep this in mind when you are deciding what to remodel and how you want the work done. There are a few common traps that you’ll want to avoid here, since you are remodeling both for yourself and for whoever may want to buy your home in the future.
Be Wary of Temporary Fads. Certain design trends may be popular today, but if you aren’t likely to be selling your home for a while, you’ll want to make sure that the permanent changes you make will be appealing to a broad group of potential homebuyers. This is generally a concern for decisions like wall finishes and flooring (remember when shag carpet was a thing?). Avoid any super trendy designs, and instead consider upgrades that carry a more timeless look. Improvements you make that focus on function, rather than fashion, like organizational solutions, are more likely to remain relevant despite shifting design trends.
Durability Is Important. Since you aren’t planning to sell your home in the near future, it’s important that the upgrades you make will serve you and your family well, and then still look great for whoever may be using them down the line. Make sure your remodeling job is done using high-quality materials, and look for a company that offers lifetime warranties on their work (or even transferrable warranties). You want to ensure that the work done will last for as long as you are in your home, and do the same for the next family.
Make Changes That You Like. You aren’t just remodeling for resale. You want to enjoy your home’s new features yourself before you pass that privilege on to the next family. Be sure that the investments you make in your home are ones that you will get a lot of use out of now. The more obvious the benefits of the upgrade to you and your family (or the more your spouse and kids mention how much they love their new spaces), the more likely it is that other buyers will recognize the value as well.
The best way to approach remodeling with increased resale value in mind is to think about what improvements would make your life more organized, more efficient, simpler, and more pleasant. And when in doubt, it can never hurt to improve closet space. By making smart investments in your home today, you can be ready for when it’s time to move on—after the market swings back, of course.
Closet America is the D.C. area’s leading creator of custom-made home offices, designer closets, garages, pantries, mudrooms, and laundry storage spaces. Our experienced team of designers and engineers help create unique solutions that are customized with your needs in mind. With Closest America, you can have everything in its place, perfectly. Schedule a free design consultation today!