Keys to Selling Your Home: Remodel, Remodel, Remodel

Location, location and location aren’t the sole three drivers of U.S. home sales any more.

Realty insiders give credit to lower mortgage rates and dwindling supply for the gradual uptick in home sales that is expected to continue from this fall on into early 2013.

But another major key that separates those homes that languish on the market and those that don’t, experts say, is buyers’ growing focus on cosmetic improvements.

Rather than investing in homes built from the ground up, many house-shoppers seek houses with immediate signs of charm and character.

Statistics across the U.S. show a rise in remodeling projects. And a recent report points to the exact updates that will make homes appear more attractive in the coming year.

Interior designers on the East coast project that buying eyes will be drawn toward a mix of bold and soothing color schemes, as well as stripes and floral patterns on the walls, according to a new Boston Globe report.

Recent reports from the Wall Street Journal indicate that demand for renovated homes in western states may be rising because there are simply too few up for sale.

And in America’s heartland, a recent survey of contractors by The Omaha World-Herald found that homeowners are remodeling at a faster rate than they have in the past five years.

The competition among sellers remains stiff, since some potential buyers are wary of worldwide economics and their job stability. But for realtors showing homes in the burgeoning sellers market, the prospects aren’t as blue as designers say inner walls should be painted with to appear updated.

The spectrum of media reports signals that existing homes sell faster when they’ve been updated:

* Kitchens and bathrooms are the prime remodeling projects, according to the Omaha World-Herald

* The RemodelOrMove web site released a year-end Remodeling Sentiment Report indicating that most projects are initiated to make homes look and feel more luxurious

* Boston Design Center GM Julie Rogowski stated in the Globe that homeowners who copy the interior style exuded by boutique hotel rooms look the most modern and appealing.

* The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released a recent study predicting a rise in remodeling projects that blend aesthetics with the physical amenities requirements of senior citizens in the household.

A serious remodeling endeavor can be costly. But, as one Corn Belt region director of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry told the Omaha World-Herald, money is no object to homeowners who feel confident they’ll recoup the investment.

“It’s crazy the amount of people remodeling kitchens and bathrooms and more,” Aaron Bryant said.

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