Floors to finishes: top four renos for highest ROI + RE/MAX realtors reveal righteous refurbs!

by Tara Gilligan Reimer

BELLINGHAM, WA—SEPTEMBER 2022

Is there such a thing as renovator’s remorse, in the best sense possible? Carmen Andrew identified the phenomenon.

On walk-throughs before listing properties, this RE/MAX Whatcom County broker has seen the dynamic over and over. The seller does beautiful updates: built-in window seats with storage, new cabinet facing, or laminate flooring that looks like hardwood.

“Now, the sellers don’t want to leave the home they’re going to sell,” laughs Carmen. “Happens every time a client does a refresh. Naturally, clients ask, ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’”

Carmen, co-owner of the top-producer Weitzel Home Team, recommends renovations whenever you can. Renos are always worthwhile investments, she points out.

“If you’re staying, you’re feathering your nest, the place you make your life,” she says. “And if you’re looking to sell? (Call your RE/MAX broker!) And know that you’re renovating to make significantly more on your sale.”

Here are four renovations, to create the highest returns on investment (ROI). A favorite RE/MAX broker offers expertise on each!

1 – Kitchen remodels are top choice—but kitchen tweaks work, too

Taysia Seiler personally has done two kitchen renovations. “Whether or not you cook a lot, the kitchen can be the selling point of your home,” says the buyer broker for top-producer Best Bellingham Homes of RE/MAX Whatcom County. “This is the place where family shares meals, friends gather, and school homework gets done.”

While a total renovation may not be possible, Taysia ticks off lower-cost options. “You can paint your cabinets, swap dated countertops for quartz or granite, or change hardware.” A refresh is always worthwhile, she assures. “My motto is ‘you cannot go wrong with a fresh coat of paint,’” smiles Taysia.

2 – Flooring can mean a sale or NOT

Brokers know that flooring can make or break a sale. Removing worn wall-to-wall carpet, refinishing hardwoods, or installing comparable flooring can transform your dwelling. Twenty & Oak presents a comprehensive portfolio of flooring choices.

Experienced agent Karen Petersen, at RE/MAX Gateway, realizes hardwood floors present the biggest wow. “My suggestion to sellers is take time to evaluate how much time you want to take, to refinish or install flooring over the top.”

She just installed new, waterproof vinyl over her original, hard-to-maintain fir floors. “The installation took less than two weeks, and we didn’t have to move out. This was a project that raised the value of our home!”

3 – Don’t just paint your interior—create a color flow

In contrast to renovating a kitchen or installing flooring, brightening your interior with fresh paint requires fewer dollars yet delivers instant polish. Experts at Homelight predict that adding a fresh coat could boost your sale price 1-3%. Most brokers suggest painting with a fresh, neutral palette. But if you possess designer discern, don’t be afraid to designate a powder room or entry to offer up smart style.

RE/MAX Whatcom County broker, Amy Bowhay, did just that, transforming her owner suite into a sophisticated retreat with mainly… paint. “I chose Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. It’s the perfect shade of a dark, warm grey. The depth of color creates a cozy and relaxing space that I absolutely love!” She added a layer of patina—brass fixtures and glass lamps—that is a lovely envelope for night.

Amy thoughtfully selected this one dramatic room to be the color-reverse of the rest of her home: modern, neutral, and bright, to showcase the Pacific northwest light that comes from living on the salt water.

4 – Landscaping creates a natural welcome

Finally, let’s go to Lynden for landscaping inspiration! The town’s storybook main street displays flower baskets the size of small clouds. On the town’s parkways, crocuses, spring’s first signs, give way to tulips, daffodils, daisies, and dahlias. RE/MAX Whatcom County broker Cherie Kukhahn proudly points to the immaculately kept yards, to show how landscaping matters.

“It’s about making a first impression,” says Cherie. This Lynden-based agent points out that it really doesn’t take much (inspired by the Dutch, who founded the town): “weed, mow, mulch, plant a row of annuals.”

Don’t forget about creating outdoor rooms, either. Cherie adds, “Even the smallest front porch benefits from a simple rattan chair, café table, and flower basket.”

Whether you’re nesting or selling, you can turn to a RE/MAX broker for guidance on the value of major renovations or weekend projects. Want to elevate comfort and equity? Connect with a RE/MAX broker: we’re with you every step—and paint brush-stroke—of the way!

About us. Thirty years ago, a local girl (Sehome High School, Washington State University, and Western Washington University grad) launched a small start-up with a big dream. Little did RE/MAX Whatcom County founder and CEO Lori Reece know that her company, 90+ Realtors strong, would become not only the most successful brokerage but also respected nationally and across industries.

Lori also owns RE/MAX Gateway, named for its breathtaking Anacortes entrance to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. Led by branch manager Laura Bird, this full-service brokerage is known for its 40+ Realtors, who specialize in residential and commercial real estate.

To learn more, go to www.nwhomesonline.com.