I’m Moving in Two Years: What Improvements Should I Make?

“I am interested in selling & repurchasing in next 2 yrs. Need to update kitchen/baths. Go all out or moderate improvements?”

As with almost every question in real estate, the answer begins with, “It Depends.”

What improvements you should make depends on several factors; these are five:

1 – Consider your competition. If your neighbors have formica, consider a higher grade formica or a less-expensive solid surface countertop. (Home Depot seems to have a useful tool for countertops)

2 – Go for quality. Install something that you’ll be happy with if you aren’t able to sell. Cheap doesn’t sell.

3 – If your competition has high-grade stainless appliances, tile everywhere in the bathrooms, bright open designs, go for something similar.

4 – Raise the height of the counters in the bathrooms. It seems that we’ve gotten taller in the past decade. Go through a house built in the 80’s or 90’s and compare the counter heights in new homes. There’s a noticeable difference, and buyers know this.

5 – Your location and competition matter; take these into account when making decisions. Ask a competent professional to help you evaluate your needs and goals.

Be prudent, don’t overspend and be aware of how your house is going to fit within the market.

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  1. Neil Simmons July 19, 2011 at 15:10

    A lot depends on the location and overall quality and price of the neighborhood. There’s no point in ‘going all out’ if the neighborhood is cheap.

  2. Rob Smeed July 28, 2011 at 14:31

    I normally make a list of things that I would like to do, give each item an estimate cost and estimate benefit, and then decide. For example, a thorough repaint doesn’t cost much but has a big impact on the appearance, so this would be a must.

  3. Anonymous July 29, 2011 at 20:49

    I would start with the least expensive improvements that freshen up the house. One would be curb appeal. On the inside would be to update lighting fixtures, cupboard nobs, faucets,  painting, and fixing anything broken. Then I would work my way up to, replacing toilets, sinks and flooring.

  4. Sue Clark August 19, 2011 at 12:05

    Painting should always be top of the list because it doesn’t cost much and makes a bit difference in appearance.

  5. Climate September 2, 2011 at 07:20

    That’s some forward planning. If you repainted now, you might need to repaint again in 2 years. You might want to hold off some of the renovations until nearer the time that you move.

  6. londonsolarinstallers September 5, 2011 at 04:33

    You might want to change the toilet seats. I find that plastic toilet seats can go yellow in the heat (depending where you live, but I live in a hot place).

  7. Jim Duncan September 5, 2011 at 12:32

    I’m going to keep a couple of these comments, even though they’re spammers, because they’re pretty good ideas. Yellowed toilet seats really date a home.

  8. Neil October 3, 2011 at 05:52

    Hi Jim, I worked as a real estate agent for 6 years, hence I’ve seen my fair share of yellow toilet seats! Another consideration for hot climates is wallpaper, as my experience has shown me that wallpaper ages much faster in hot climates, and very often the glue will leave a stain along the seam. Hence, for the person who is moving in another 2 years, then yes wallpapering is a good idea, but I would suggest leaving this until much nearer the time of the expected move.

    It’s not just toilet seats that go yellow, other plastic fittings tend to follow the same fate. In my house the light switches and plug fittings (which are white plastic) are all turning a shade more yellow. Fortunately it doesn’t cost much to change them, so I’m either going for stainless steel fittings or grey plastic (metallic looking) fittings.

    So this is something I would recommend. Changing the light fittings and plugs for something new and modern. Small cost, big visual improvement.


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