7 Affordable Remodels to Increase Your Apartment Resale Value

Modern Living Room in an small apartmentAre you getting ready to put your apartment up for sale?

Probably the biggest question on your mind is how to get top dollar for your property.

It turns out that by investing into the right remodels right before you sell, you can make your apartment highly appealing to a wide range of buyers.

And no we are not talking about dropping thousands of dollars on a complete kitchen remodel, or another expensive and labor intensive project!

Instead, consider these 7 quick and affordable remodels that are known to bring in a consistently high ROI at resale.

What Are Buyers Looking For?

While market trends and apartment preferences differ across the US, there are some key features that the majority of buyers, who are willing to pay top dollar, are looking for:

  • Move-in ready condition
  • A sense of a “brand new” space that has not been used by others
  • Ample lighting (both natural and electric)
  • Uncluttered, open space
  • Nice flooring throughout the apartment
  • Updated kitchen and bathroom/s

Award winning designer, Pablo Solomon, offers the following advise to prospective sellers:

“People buy homes that give them the feeling that they are looking for. After they feel a certain love for a home, then they start looking at the practical features/value. It is like love – good sex cannot save a bad marriage, but bad sex can ruin it. If the potential buyer does not feel a certain attachment to your unit, no amount of practical updates will help. However, no matter how much the potential buyer likes the feel of the unit, too many problems will run them off”. 

7 Quick and Affordable Remodels

While you may not be able to remove walls, add windows, or raise ceilings in your apartment, there are a number of quick but very effective fixes you can do to turn your property into a magnet for buyers.

1 Fresh Paint

Modern Dining Room Painted and Staged in Neutral Colors

The easiest way to instantly give your apartment a brand new look and feel is to repaint it. Be sure to repaint the entire space with a consistent color scheme, and not leave any spaces/rooms that will look old and outdated compared to the freshly painted ones.

It is best to go with very neutral and warm colors, such as shades of off white and beige. Neutral colors are most attractive to buyers for a number of reasons:

  1. They make the space appear bigger and brighter
  2. Neutrality makes them versatile and able to fit a variety of interior design styles. This means a new owner would not need to repaint right away.
  3. They will not be a sudden turn off to a potential buyer, such as brighter, more distinct colors.

2. Updated Flooring

Hardwood Floors in a modern apartment

Nice floors are very important if you are looking to get some good offers. In most regions, buyers prefer hardwood flooring throughout the apartment, and this is a must in states where it gets very hot such as Florida, Arizona, etc. In states with cooler climates (especially very cold winters), buyers are ok with carpets in the bedrooms.

Here are a couple of options you can consider to improve your floors:

  1. If you already have hardwood floors, you can re-polish them to make them look extra nice and shiny.
  2. If you have old carpets throughout the apartment, get rid of them! Instead, depending on where you live and what your agent recommends you can install either exclusively hardwood floors, or a combination of hardwood (living room, hallways, dining room), tile (bathroom, kitchen) and carpet (bedrooms).
  3. If you have tile in the kitchen and/or bathroom floor, be sure to replace old grout, as it makes even the nicest tile look drab and unclean.

Natural hardwood flooring can be very expensive, and depending on the specifics of your property may not be worth the investment. A great alternative that can save you thousands of dollars is engineered hardwood. It comes in a wide range of styles and colors that mimic the look of hardwood, at a fraction of the cost.

New carpet is a very inexpensive option, costing $2-5/sq.ft.  The job can be done in as little as one day.

A rule of thumb when installing any new flooring material is to select light and bright colors. These will create the appearance of more light and space throughout the apartment.

3. Kitchen Upgrades

Small Transitional White Kitchen

For most people, the kitchen is a very important space with a multitude of purposes. Prospective buyers are looking for kitchens that are ready to use, offer comfort and convenience. Investing into kitchen updates offers one of the best ROIs. The average kitchen remodel cost is about $14,857 and the expected ROI is about 10%

Here are a number of essential kitchen remodels to consider:

  1. Update Kitchen Cabinets: Complete cabinet replacement can be very expensive, and is often unnecessary. Instead, consider refacing and repainting options which will improve your kitchen’s look and feel at a fraction of the cost. For example, a nationwide bath and kitchen remodeling company, Kitchen Tune Up, offers a signature, one-day cabinet wood restoration service, called a “Tune-Up” that refreshes cabinets in less than 8 hours. This affordable process ranges in price, starting as low as $800.

      Redooring – If you like the color of your current cabinets, redooring is the perfect way to update the look with a new door style in the same or complimentary color. This can be complete in only 1-2 days, and is a great option for painted cabinets

      Refacing – The cabinet refacing service allows you to update the color and style of your cabinets, while retaining the same layout and preserving the cabinet boxes. This process includes new doors, drawer fronts, and coordinating veneers that help you to create a completely “new looking” kitchen without a “new kitchen” price tag.

  2. Replace old appliances: this includes the refrigerator, dishwasher, over, microwave. Its best to install either stainless steel or black appliances.
  3. Replace old cabinet hardware: even this small update can make a huge visual impact and improve the overall look of your kitchen.
  4. Replace old kitchen sink: when people see signs of old food in your kitchen sink, they want to throw up rather than buy your apartment. New stainless sinks cost $50-200, but not replacing them, can cost you the sale!

4. Bathroom Upgrades

Small Modern Bathroom Charcoal and White
Small Modern Bathroom Charcoal and White

Bathroom remodels are considered highly lucrative for buyers looking to get top dollar for their property.

Bathroom renovations can cost as little as $1000 if you Do It Yourself, or $3000+ if you hire a contractor to do all the work.

Ivan Ciraj – an Ontario raltor who specializes heavily in condominium and apartment sales, recommends:

“Having a nice vanity and presentable bathtub/shower space definitely grabs major points from buyers. If the budget is limited, avoid personalized touches such as installing wall paneling, expensive tile or specific extra storage for example.”

5. Install New Hardware

Modern Door Knob

When trying to present your apartment in the most favorable light, the devil is often in the details. One such detail that should not be neglected is old hardware, which can have a very negative impact on the look of the whole space. Be sure to replace old door knobs (including the front door), electric outlets and switch plates, door stoppers, etc with ones that are modern, comfortable to use and have a neutral style. If you have any kitchen/bathroom cabinets that you are not planning to upgrade, simply replacing the knobs/handles will breath a whole new life into them. It is best to maintain a consistent look between hardware pieces throughout the apartment.

6. Replace Old/Outdated Lighting Fixtures

Modern Recessed Lighting in an Open Floor Apartment

One of the biggest challenges in many condos is lack of natural light. This is particularly true of the pre-90’s properties. This problem is further exacerbated by old outdated lighting fixtures that do not provide an adequate amount of light. Dark and drab properties are a major turn off to buyers!

To maximize the attractiveness of your property, be sure to replace old fixtures and if necessary install additional lighting throughout the apartment. It is best to select contemporary style lighting fixtures that have a neutral look and feel. If you have old track or fluorescent lighting, replace it with recessed canned lighting. This will both modernize the space and provide more light. You can also install LED lighting about and/or below the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is one of the most heavily used rooms in the home, and it is essential to have plenty of light there.

7. Maximize the Existing Space

Unobstructed Kitchen Dinging Room Space

A perceived lack of space  is one of the biggest challenges of small to average size apartments. To compensate, it is important to remove any unnecessary elements that obstruct the living area  and make the apartment appear even smaller. Here are a few tips that may improve the perceived size of your apartment:

  1. Remove any heavy curtains/shades from the windows
  2. Consider removing partitions/doors between dining, kitchen living area, to create a more open layout.
  3. If you have low hanging overhead kitchen cabinets, it’s likely they obstruct the view between the kitchen and dining or family room. This is not only visually unappealing, but is also less than ideal for entertaining guests. You can remove the overhead cabinets and add a buffet or additional cabinets off the existing counters to open up the space.

See our other Remodeling Ideas

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