Boost Your Home’s Value in a Buyer’s Market

As our economic state remains on shaky ground, the real estate market is bracing for a shift in dynamics. At the beginning of the year, we were firmly in an extended seller’s market, meaning that inventory was low and prices high. But with millions of lost jobs, many people are choosing to postpone buying real estate. This means that the real estate market may soon find its way into buyer’s market territory.

What Is a Buyer’s Market?

A buyer’s market is one in which inventory outnumbers buyers. RealWealth Network notes that this means that a buyer has more power to negotiate. As we are facing this type of market now, it makes sense to put some time and money in your home so that your property looks better than the competition.

If you are unsure what, exactly, you can do to retain your home’s value. Talk to your real estate agent. A few suggestions they might make include:

  • Garage conversion. Converting a garage into usable space, such as a kitchen, home office, or bathroom, averages $13,141, according to HomeAdvisor. While this is certainly a large expense, if you have an extra garage bay, it might be worth it to foot the bill to have insulation, electrical, and plumbing added. As more and more people take to working from home, having a built-in office or extra bedroom away from the rest of the house may be a must-have item on their house-hunting list.
  • Give it a superficial makeover. Look for some small ways to make your home stand out in a crowd. A coat of paint, well-staged rooms, and a thorough cleaning may be all you need to make your home the most attractive one in the neighborhood.
  • Prioritize efficiency. Spend some time and money upgrading things like your HVAC unit, windows, and appliances. According to mortgage media company HSH, 89 percent of buyers want Energy Star Windows, 86 percent prefer Energy Star-rated appliances, and 81 percent would like their next home to be Energy Star certified.
  • Add small smart upgrades. If you can’t afford energy-efficient updates, do make a point to add a few less costly accessories. Consumer Reports lists a few of these as a smart thermostat, smoke detectors, and video doorbell. For just a couple of hundred dollars and an hour of your time, you can install a few of these options, which will make your house appear more modern and, therefore, more desirable.

What Not to Do

While any upgrades you make look good on paper, some don’t actually offer an immediate return, meaning they might not be the best choice if selling is in your near future. A new roof, for example, might cost you $6,000 or more, and this is usually considered a maintenance item and should be factored into your list price. Adding a home pool also may not add to the appeal of your property as many buyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance or are concerned about the safety risk for young children.

You also want to steer clear of making last-minute changes that might date your property. Gold bathroom fixtures, 12’ x 12’ ceramic flooring, and even shiplap on the walls, while all subjectively beautiful, do not appeal to all buyers. Upgrades should be tasteful and timeless.

Although the market will take a hit, many analysts do not predict another housing downturn like we had in 2008. But the market will falter some, and if you have to make your move while it’s down, make sure to prioritize accessories and upgrades that will actually provide an ROI.