Join Club

Ask Adam: Upgrade Your Home Like a Flipper

This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: My wife and I recently purchased a house in Arlington and plan to make some improvements to it over the next couple of years.  Can you recommend which improvements will bring us the most value when it comes to resale value?

House flipping isn’t just a popular TV show genre (Flip This House, Flip That House, Flip Men, Flipped Off, etc.), it can also be a profitable mindset to adopt when considering home improvements.

Here is a list of the top 5 improvements in order of what I think Arlington home buyers will value most. Each of these improvements can have wildly varying degrees of style and quality. You will have to weigh the options against your budget when making these choices.

Home kitchen (photo courtesy Courtland Homes)1) Kitchen — A nice kitchen is not just a box the potential home buyer is checking off, it is often where the emotional attachment to the home begins. Granite counters and stainless steel appliances used to make a home stand out from the crowd. Now they have become a minimum standard in Arlington real estate.

If you are on a tight budget, I recommend exploring some of the options available at Ikea. If you are not on a tight budget I recommend choices that will help your home stand out such as eco-friendly materials or exotic stones and woods. Amicus Green Building Supply in Kensington, Md. is a great source for eco-friendly options.

2) Bathroom — I’m sure it is no surprise that bathrooms are a close second to kitchens. Many home buyers appreciate a nicely updated bathroom. The level of your bathroom upgrades should correspond to your target audience and your “competition.” Consider the homes you looked at while shopping for the one you ultimately chose. Which bathrooms stood out to you?

Some savvy shopping can save you a lot of money on this category. I’ve even spoken to builders who are now relying on the internet to purchase vanities from places like Overstock.com.

3) Flooring — There are people out there who want carpet, but they are in the minority. Whenever possible go with a hard surface. Hardwood is usually the preferred option. Alternatives like bamboo and cork are also very nice. I would stay away from ceramic and marble in the living areas of your home. They are expensive and not appealing to the masses.

Be sure to research the durability of the flooring you are considering. Nothing is worse than investing a lot of money only to have it damaged by pets and high heels.

4) Landscaping — Too many people underestimate the power of tasteful landscaping. You can use trees and shrubs to create privacy where needed. You can score big time with an area that can be used for entertaining outdoors, such as a deck, patio or screened porch. Remove or replace the chain link fence if you have one. Beyond these basics, you can begin adding beauty with the lawn, plants, trees and shrubs.

Consider low maintenance drought tolerant greenery, because most of us don’t have a lot of extra time to be maintaining a beautiful yard. Even if you do have the time, chances are the people who buy your home will appreciate knowing that it will not be a part-time job for them.

5) Efficiency — This is somewhat of a catch-all for windows, insulation, HVAC systems and other upgrades you can make to increase comfort and reduce utility bills. In some cases it is just a matter of bringing your systems up to current standards (i.e. a 1950’s house with original insulation or a heating/cooling system on its last legs.) As I’ve recommended in a previous article, you may want to start this process with a home energy audit. Let an expert design a strategy for getting back the largest gains for the dollars you invest in your home.

The nice thing about efficiency upgrades is that they will start paying you back right way with lower utility bills.

Please remember that part of the value in the improvements you will make to your home is the enjoyment you will get from them.  Therefore, make the improvements sooner than later, so that you can enjoy them longer.

Happy holidays!

Photo courtesy Courtland Homes

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Recent Stories

In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.

In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.

A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list