Top 5 real estate tips for the new home owner:

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As you can imagine, I walk through many homes in my business. I check out potential properties with top tier CEO’s, as well as newly married 1st time home buyers and help them decide what would be a wise investment. So I hear a lot of chatter about what they feel is a worthwhile investment and their ideas on what will give them a large return on their remodeling and design investment.
So today I am listing my top 5 Real estate tips for new home buyers in any market. These are the items I would recommend investing in your home, as they have been proven to double in value!!

1. Lighting – Many people (especially in southern California) purchase homes that were built in the mid 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Typically these homes have not been upgraded with today’s standard of lighting. I have literally been in homes where the only available light option is to plug in a lamp and have that lamp controlled by one switch near the door. Yay…that’s affective! Well, not really. Especially with today’s tech savvy and energy conscious consumer! Making an initial investment in adding recessed lighting along with dimmer switches is one of the first items I would recommend! There are so many benefits to doing this, even beyond your return on investment. It’s more energy efficient, its boosts the value of your home and it can make or break the overall look of a space by actually making it appear bigger or smaller! Not to mention the fact that it will save the longevity of your eyesight!!

2. Cabinets – We have all heard that the KITCHEN is the most important room in the house, and that is still by far the most looked at space by potential home buyers. Why is this? Well not only is it the place that everyone ends up when entertaining, but also because it usually the largest area of a home that you will invest your money on improving! And what is the largest item in the kitchen? Well, most likely it is your cabinets, followed closely by the countertops and then flooring. Investing in good cabinets, or for that matter even refinishing your existing cabinets so they don’t look like they date back to WWI, is one of the smartest places to put your cash. I have run the full gauntlet from refinishing old cabinets, installing IKEA cabinets and also building complete custom kitchens and no matter what your budget, any of those options will almost always double your investment.

3. Paint – Paint and color is something that affects all of us when we walk into a room whether you realize it or not. It can turn something that looks dingy and dated into fresh and clean. Taking the time to give your new interior and exterior paint a clean new coat with updated colors is one of the simplest ways to freshen up any property, without a lot of out of pocket expense.

4. Air conditioning and heating – Many times I see home owners get so excited and overwhelms about their new home that they don’t even check to see if their A/C or heating are working properly or if they are making some weird smell or noise. Gross! The reason this is so important is that it can take a big chunk of your budget to repair or install a new system. After all it doesn’t help if you have a beautiful home but you are too cold that you can’t even sleep there, right!

5. Plumbing fixtures – We are talking faucets, toilets and shower heads here people. These items, if not working properly can throw your money down the drain!! (sorry couldn’t help myself) If you see that your sinks are cracked, faucets are leaking, and toilets are not flushing properly, it’s a wise choice to switch them out before you even move in! These leaks and problems can only cause more trouble in the future. I’ve also heard crazy stories about furious home owners going through foreclosure taking their rage out by dumping concrete into the toilets as a form of revenge towards the bank. Basically if they can’t keep the house, then they don’t want anyone else to enjoy it either. Crazy right!! So to avoid these problems, I recommend running the water, flushing toilets several times, and check your sewer lines before close of escrow.

Now I did leave some items off the list like flooring and landscaping because usually these are not make-it or break-it items for a home (obviously each case is different). Don’t get me wrong, they are very important for the overall value of a property, but usually these items are relatively low priority improvements that can be done at any time.

So, take these items into consideration if you are planning to remodel or purchase anytime soon. At least you will feel more confident that you will see a return on your investment with these top 5 tips.