Home remodeling: What women want

Zillow Published:

By S.E. Slack

What really sells a house? The kitchen and bathrooms, says Carla Showalter, partner of BulkHomeBuyers. Because women typically make the final decision about a home purchase, she says, homeowners who cater to the fairer sex when remodeling may find themselves at the closing table more quickly than others.

Showalter, an investor who specializes in flipping homes quickly, has these tips for sellers who are considering remodeling prior to selling a home.

First, use luxurious materials whenever possible. Labor costs will remain the same whether you use a mediocre or high-end material, so go for the best your can get says Showalter. Female buyers in general appreciate beauty, which expensive materials usually provide.

“Don’t skimp on a nice finish to save a few hundred dollars,” she says. “If it will make your house stand apart from others on the market, it could help it sell faster, too.”

Next, build in as much storage as possible.

“Women like storage,” advises Showalter. “Instead of a pedestal sink with nowhere to store personal items, add a new vanity in a bathroom along with a small granite counter and matching tub, shower and sink faucets.”

If you don’t have the cash to replace everything, at least replace the items that are used most often and are easiest to see. Time-worn, damaged items make buyers wonder what’s behind the scenes that needs updating. Leaving dated or broken fixtures, for instance, can kill a sale unless you’re ready to offer a discount for poor condition or obsolescence. Can’t replace the entire tub? Look for a refinisher who specializes in making old tubs and showers look like new.

Kitchens should offer open access to the dining or family room, too, says Showalter. Closed-off kitchens are a thing of the past; open up a kitchen wall if you can to make interior areas seem larger and more inviting.

“Depending on the cabinet, you might be able to reface or replace doors,” she says. “Sometimes a beautiful paint or stain job on a cabinet can help free up money for you to use to open up a wall instead.”

Use hardware on cabinets whenever possible, says Showalter. Many kitchen upgrades skip that step to save money but that finishing touch could spark the response you need from a female buyer.

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