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How to Improve Your Condo

by Jann Seal

As the condominium market rebounds and buyers look to buy real estate for the first time, or to downsize, preparing your condominium before listing it for sale increases your chances of getting market price. Be cautious in your remodeling so you don’t overbuild, but also be aware of what your competition is offering. Avoid being trendy, and focus on neutralizing your upgrades and adding items that’ll attract buyers and their pocketbooks.

Check with your condominium association before making any upgrades to discover what’s allowed, what needs permitting and what you cannot do. Focus on the entire condominium, not just one area like the kitchen or master bath. Think mid-range when deciding on the quality of your upgrades if you want to get the best return on your investment. Give your improvements the greatest appeal by making them new, shiny, easy to use and easier to change out.

Upgrade your kitchen for your greatest return by adding new appliances, if yours are outdated. Consider replacing countertops with granite, marble, engineered stone, ceramic tile or soapstone, depending on your budget. Add a new stainless steel or deep porcelain sink. Determine if your cabinetry needs replacing or refacing to blend with your upgrades. Put new hardware on the cabinetry even if you don’t upgrade it, and add new sink hardware that is in keeping with a newly built kitchen.

Replace the toilet and sinks if they show signs of wear to make your bathroom look new. Refinish the porcelain fixtures if your budget doesn’t allow new. Upgrade countertops and hardware, cabinetry and lighting. Repair any damaged flooring or replace it. Paint the walls a light color, and keep a set of new towels ready to hang when showings are booked.

Remove your popcorn ceiling if possible. Do this before other upgrades as it’s a time-consuming and messy job. Remove outdated wallpaper. Cover all cracks and investigate a ceiling stain to find the cause of the leak, as it’ll be discovered during a buyer’s home inspection. Neutralize the wall color in all rooms by painting them light beige. Avoid the glare of white. Repaint the trim and ceilings so they look fresh.

Refresh your carpeting by having it professionally cleaned or replace it with light-colored sculptured or Berber carpeting, or hardwood. Use quality laminate flooring to save on cost. Add tile flooring if you’re in a warm climate, and have the grout cleaned if the floors are already tile.

Replace custom lighting that you plan to keep with medium-priced fixtures you can leave behind. Hang ceiling fans with up and down lighting and clean the blades if you already have the fans. Install dimmers on dining room lighting and be sure all bulbs are working throughout your unit.

Upgrade your closets with shelving and drawers to maximize storage, and add pull-outs to the kitchen cabinetry or pantry as a selling point. Avoid built in systems as they must be left behind and may not fit into the plans of a buyer.

Tip

  • Speak with your homeowners association to find out if any community upgrades are being considered. Get on your board if you find the building is falling into disrepair. This is a long-term solution to improving your condo‚Äôs value, but one that rewards in the end.

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images