The Best Flooring for Resale
Whether you’re just moving in or looking to sell, all homeowners beg the question: What’s the best flooring for resale value? We’ve answered that question and more including trends, colors and styles.
Have you ever remodeled a house? I can tell you first hand, it is a totally, completely, utterly overwhelming process. You have so many decisions to make: floor, paint, counters, cabinets, lighting, the list goes on!
Then you have to consider, not only what you like, but return on investment. Do you want to spend $10,000 redoing your floors if it is going to bring your home value down? I didn’t think so.
Alternately, it’s important to ask yourself the question: how long do you see yourself living in this house? The typical resident stays in a house for 5-7 years. If you’re planning on flipping the house, you will (likely) be looking for the cheapest option with the best resale value; whereas if you’re planning on living in the house for several years, you’re better off considering what will bring you a happiness.
To get the real deal on the questions related to flooring and resale value, I interviewed local real estate agent Lindsay Rusk.
Lindsay Rusk has established herself as one of the youngest producers at Coldwell Banker in her market. She is a strong negotiator bringing innovative ideas and strategies to each transaction as well as utilizing the most current technology, media, and targeted marketing to bring Buyers and Sellers together.
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What flooring has the highest resale value?
Hard flooring (wood, stone) is always in demand. If you can’t afford or justify hardwood or stone, go for looks and durability, such as porcelain tile or engineered hardwood. People always love the combination of beautiful and durable.
High-end markets will see hand-scraped wood, barn style plank wood (yes sometimes from actually barns, or of European decent), large format travertine/marble and limestone, and some cantera stone touches for outdoor spaces.
Not looking to sell a million dollar home? Middle-class families love the look, durability and easy maintenance of laminate flooring, which you can purchase for a fraction of the cost of solid hardwood.
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What flooring yields the lowest resale value?
Carpet. Even if you invest in high-end carpet, it usually shows wear and tear more quickly than hard flooring. Also, a lot of people have a hard time with the sanitation/health aspects of it.
Vinyl is also another material that people turn their noses up….it has come A LONG way in looks and durability, but it still has a stigma and it will typically render very little on return on investment.*
*Editor’s note: Although many buyers still have misconceptions about vinyl flooring, we anticipate that as technology in vinyl flooring continues to advance, the stigma will gradually fade away, and high-quality luxury vinyl will outgrow the ‘vinyl stigma’.
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Flooring options that people don’t typically think of first, but generally do really well on the market?
Trends are trends for a reason and, within trends, you have items that will remain classic. Neutral colors, finishes and sizes are always a “safe” bet.
And I always say: if you are planning on selling in the near future, pick something that will please the masses. People want to feel comfortable with what they are buying and how to take care of it.
Of course, they are always people who like unique and rare items in their homes (or the home itself) and they will likely be less concerned with resale but simply concerned with their enjoyment of the remodel.
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Common misconceptions about resale value
The standards are pretty cut and dry. However, tiles with a high sheen (shiny) finish often look beautiful in display rooms, but end up not looking great in the home, making them a less than ideal choice.
How does layout/design affect retail value?
Especially trendy options like parquet*?
Parquet? Are people still using parquet? HA!
I spoke a bit about that above….there will ALWAYS be trendy items. However, the average person lives in their home for about 6 years. Ask yourself: is installing something ultra trendy going to last you until you could potentially sell?
I can typically tell how long ago a home was remodeled or refreshed when showing property based on the finishes.
Typically, stylish tasteful patterns tend to be most common in high-end markets where buyers are looking for something unique.
*Editor’s note: Although most people think immediately of dated 1970s parquet designs, parquet flooring is actually defined as planks laid in a decorative, geometric pattern, including the super-trendy-at-the-moment chevron and herringbone.
Flooring colors and selling price
It’s all about beach chic right now. Cool tones, grays, whites, blues and light woods. Touches of modern hardware/light fixtures. Jeff Lewis estimates that this trend should be around another 5 years or so.
When choosing colors, think about the future and your ideal buyer. Is hot pink going to attract all the buyers to your yard? Probably not.
Does consistency influence the selling price?
Absolutely. There is nothing that can chop up the flow of a floor plan more than different flooring choices. If it’s done right, say a transition from wood to tile into the kitchen, and it’s done with purpose, I think that can add class and style.
But the Do-It-Yourselfers who go to home depot and pick whatever on sale and do a room at a time? No. Don’t do it. Save your money and do it all in the same material/run.
If you can’t afford the labor, buy all the material so the dye lots match, and do a room/section at a time.
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Estimated spend/value ratios for updated floors
(i.e., what percentage of spend can sellers expect to earn back on return)?
There is not much difference in cost and ROI (return on investment) between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood, but the same isn’t true of laminate flooring. On the plus side,
On the plus side, laminate is easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and can be installed in places where natural wood can’t. And though it doesn’t last as long as hardwood, it costs 50% less on average to buy and install.
Expect to pay about $5 to $8 a square foot for laminate flooring installed. Laying laminate floors is a relatively easy project, so you can save even more if you opt to DIY.
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Lindsay, can you sell my home or help me buy a new home?