Remodeling Tips to Boost Resale Value in Portland

remodeling in portland

Few events can trigger a home remodel like putting your house up for sale. When you look at your place through potential buyers’ eyes, it’s easy to start seeing things that need to be repaired, replaced or updated. Not only that, but in a competitive real estate market like Portland’s, remodels can be an efficient way to draw attention to your home.

So where to start? Remodeling to improve resale value is a bit tricky – you need to be sure you’ll get a return on your investment (the time and the money you’ll spend) and you’ll have to do a little guesswork to know what your buyers will like.

The best advice we give Portland home sellers who are thinking about remodeling is to keep it simple and plan ahead. As any house-flipper can tell you, once you start ripping out old flooring and fixtures, it’s easy to get carried away and redo the whole room. Don’t. Bring your whole house – inside and out – up to speed at the same time. Yes, your kitchen may have enormous potential, but if your living room carpet is in dire need of replacement, your buyers may not appreciate the granite countertops and new stainless appliances.

Here are four simple updates you can give your worn-in house to give it a brand new shine that Portland area home buyers (and realtors!) will love:

1.    Paint. A fresh coat provides an incredibly good value in bringing warmth, interest, and color to otherwise uninspiring spaces. Interior-design sites like and Martha Stewart will give you thousands of ideas for color combinations, from traditional to retro to modern. Pick a scheme that fits the character of your home, and to appeal to the widest possible audience, try your color swatches out on a few different people before committing.

2.    New flooring and fixtures. Up the price scale, but absolutely worth it if your flooring and fixtures are dated and in need of replacement. Looks are important here, but so is quality, so choose the timeless, sturdy option over the trendier stuff. Energy efficiency is also important to Portland home buyers, which is another reason to replace old appliances, remembering to keep an eye on energy ratings when you buy.

3.    Landscaping. While you’re giving the inside of your home a facelift, you should also be thinking about the outside. It’s the first thing buyers see when they approach your home, and with veggie gardens and outdoor patios all the rage in Portland, you’ll want your outside areas looking their best. For more, see our post on landscaping your home to sell.

4.    Universal design. Updating your home to appeal to retiring baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the country and the group with the most financial clout, is a smart decision. Boomer-friendly remodels include wheelchair accommodations like ramps and wider doorways and halls, as well as step-free showers and easy-to-operate plumbing and light fixtures. According to survey of consumer interests by the American Institute of Architects, universal design is the fifth-most-popular feature in kitchen remodels and the third-most-popular feature in bathroom remodels.

Whatever updates you choose to give your home, remember the rule about not leaving any part of your house or landscaping behind. Even if you’re still in the middle of projects, try to make your home presentable when you start to show it to potential buyers, and be clear about what your plan is for finishing the remodel before the closing date.
Not sure what your home needs to appeal to buyers? Ask your Portland real estate agent.

May 11, 2012

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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