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Remodeling to Sell

by admin - September 9th, 2015
Posted in: Home Improvement, Interior Features, Remodeling, Tour of Remodeled Homes

By Judi Russell

Rare is the homeowner who has never felt the urge to remodel. Thanks in part to television shows that chronicle how to fix up a fixer-upper, lots of people can’t wait to enlarge, update or completely redo part or all of their homes. But not every renovation pays off equally, local contractors say. When it comes to boosting the value of your house, some remodeling jobs give more bang for the buck than others.

Improving your basement is almost always a slam-dunk, says Rusty Green, president of Compelling Homes. “You can double the size of your home by finishing the basement, at a fraction of the cost of a new home,” Green says.

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Modern Touches.

A typical Des Moines floor plan may be a ranch-style home with three bedrooms and one or two baths. By finishing off the lower level, a seller can now advertise his house as a five-bedroom home with a full bathroom downstairs and two up. “You’ve launched your house into a new category,” Green says.

Compelling Homes is often called upon to enlarge a house, especially when homeowners love their neighbors, schools, etc., but just need more room. “We do a fair amount of those,” Green says. “No one ever talks about shrinking the size of their house.”

Green says a little planning upfront can avoid a choppy look. It’s important to make sure the basement-level rooms flow well from one to the other, and that they aren’t drastically different from the upper floors. Matching colors throughout is one way to ensure connectivity, Green says. Another is to keep the textures similar; for example, use hardwood flooring upstairs and down. You can also keep the profile of your rooms similar by using the same interior door style, window moldings and light fixtures in both the original part of the house and the new addition.

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Compelling Homes.

In addition to bedrooms and bathrooms, a smart use of basement space is a “flex room,” which can be used by all family members. Teenagers might use the space as a place to hang out and watch TV, while younger members might like a toy area and Mom and Dad might want some exercise equipment.

And because people often entertain in their finished basements, it’s not uncommon to include a refrigerator, sink and microwave, Green says. Occasionally people put in a wall oven to cook an extra ham or turkey during the holidays. The basement can also be the ideal place to create a suite of rooms for another adult who joins the household, such as a widowed parent.

The bathroom is another spot where remodels can pay off if you sell. Because a master bath is rarely viewed by visitors, homeowners can “make a statement” when they pick out tile and fixtures, Green says.

Jeff Ellis, co-owner of Firstcall Construction, says his company is often called upon to do a full remodel of a master bath, including walk-in shower stalls with multi-head showers and high-end tile. Other popular touches include replacing less-expensive countertops with granite and adding fashionable light fixtures, he says.

In addition to bathroom updates, lots of customers want to focus on their kitchens, Ellis says, because they feel that an up-to-date kitchen puts their house at the head of the pack if and when they list it for sale. People usually concentrate on installing better cabinets and countertops and upgrading their appliances, he says. Those who are seriously into cooking might choose industrial-grade appliances from companies like Thermador and Viking, but most settle for more standard brands. Ellis prefers to hold off on installing the latest kitchen gadgets until they’ve been around long enough to have proven themselves, he says.

Homeowners can also look to their backyards to bump up the value of their homes. Adding a deck, a covered deck or a three-season porch gives your house an outdoor room, Green says. If the redo includes a grill and a heat source, such as a fire pit, the room is even more useful.

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