Updating Home to Sell - How Not to Overimprove?? (Long - sorry)
We will probably put our home on the market within the next 2 years. DH has already relocated to another city in our same state, and we have purchased a home there. We are keeping this home for the short term - it is paid for, and it is close to my aging mother. Now that our youngest is off to college, I will be dividing my time between homes.
Here is our dilemma. The house is approx. 45 years old, and we have lived here for 25 years. It is a 3 BR/1.75 BA, 1800 sq ft brick home on a nice lot in a middle class neighborhood. It has good "bones" but is BADLY in need of updating - especially the kitchen and bathrooms. And the woodwork (trim, baseboards, etc.) throughout the house is in pretty bad shape - dinged up, chipped, etc. We are trying to figure out the minimum that we need to do to prepare it for sale without spending money that we will not recoup.
If we planned to keep the house for 5+ years, we would definitely tear out and replace all of the kitchen/laundry room cabinetry and bathroom vanities. They are sturdy, but because of the condition of the wood, at a minimum we need to replace all of the cabinet doors/drawer fronts, paint them, and put on new hardware. And I would love to put in granite countertops, undermount sinks, etc. But realistically, buyers looking in this neighborhood are probably not expecting that, and I don't know if they would pay more to get it. Would it be better to put in a pretty laminate in the kitchen, faux marble in the bathrooms and let the buyer upgrade later to their own taste?
In each bathroom, the floor, vanity top, and tub/shower surround are done in matching beige-flecked 4x4 tiles. Very outdated with some chipped/broken tiles which can no longer be matched, bad grouting/caulking, etc. We know we will have to update the vanities/tops but what about the floors and the tub/shower surrounds? Would just cleaning and regrouting/recaulking be enough?
Because the woodwork is in such bad shape, we are resigned to having it painted throughout the house, knowing that it will be expensive. Should we go the extra step and have all the baseboards torn out and replaced before painting? I can't imagine that dinged up baseboards will look great even if they have a fresh coat of paint. And we do plan to paint all walls and ceilings and replace worn carpet.
It is just hard to know how to separate needs from wants. And one thing seems to lead to another, so how do you know when to draw the line? I'm sorry for the long post, but I would love to get any input that might help us decide. I know I should probably get a realtor's advice, but I really hate to take up someone's time when we won't be listing the house right away.