The majority of listings as to homes for sale typically hit the market after the first of the year in any given year.  During these later months of the year, many potential sellers are thinking of getting their homes ready to sell and sometimes want direction as to what is a priority. 
Given that most sellers understand they’ll need a fresh coat of paint and flowers by the door, think about the door itself.  Many homes have a plain metal front door.  Replacing that front door with a wooden door with windows, either leaded glass or plain windows can added instant wow.  Since first impressions are so important, I would say that replacing a front door will get you almost a 100% return on your investment.  If you can't replace the door, at least consider replacing the door hardware.

Since it’s the kitchen and bath that will typically sell the house, I’d advise updating countertops as a top priority.  Removing dated wallpaper and replacing dated fixtures will also go a long way as changing the look and feel of a room.  I recently had a Lake Lanier house listed at $599,900.  It was shown numerous times and was on the market for a few months.  Everyone who looked at it pointed out that it was dated.  The house sat on a great Lake Lanier point lot and had everything going for it except for the fact that the house was a bit dated.  The kitchen had solid surface, Corian-type counters.  Also, shiny brass fixtures and wallpaper in the bathrooms dated the house as mid 90’s when it was built.  The sellers were throwing in a $10,000 boat as part of the deal.  I advised them to sell the boat and use that money to update the kitchen and get rid of the wallpaper.  As soon as the work was done (that took less than a week), the next two buyers who saw the house made offers, giving us a bidding war.  Isn’t that what every seller wants?   We sold the house within 2.5% of list price.  They spent less than $5,000 on updating counters, and replacing the wallpapered walls with neutral colored paint.

According to Remodeling magazine’s cost verses value 2013 analysis, remodeling or updating the kitchen is one of the best returns on your investment, at 70 to 75%.   The bathroom is the other area that gives you good return at a 70% return on your investment.  Outdoor spaces have become increasingly popular.   Think about how much you savor those memories of sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows.  Buyers like to see an outdoor fireplace and kitchen, envisioning themselves spending time there making memories.  I was surprised to see that converting attic space to a bedroom at an 80% return on investment - something I have never put a lot of thought into.  

I occasionally get an opportunity to be a part of a fun radio show here in Gainesville GA on WDUN called The Home Improvement Show with Tracy Tesmer and Steve Roper.  It airs on Saturday mornings between 8 and 10 am.  Listen from anywhere with the free WDUN app or listen to the station's live stream for entertaining and information home improvement ideas.   Tracy's firm, Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling often works with my seller clients prior to their listing a home in order to ensure it is marketable and ready to sell.  His advice on remodeling most always aligns with my thinking, as he stays up to date not only on what is trending, but knows and advises clients as to what is and will be timeless as to design and remodeling. 

We live at Lake Lanier and I am fortunate to be able to get in the air occasionally.  This past Saturday was the perfect opportunity for it, and I took advantage of it.  As soon as I left the radio station, I headed for the airport.  Take a look at this video I made from the cockpit of a Cessna 150 Aerobat.  What a way to look at Lake Lanier real estate!


  1. Every time I needed to contact my property manager, he's always very professional and on top of things. I have so many great things to say about the real estate company I hired.
    Rancho Palos Verdes Home Inspector Service


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