Thinking of selling your home and want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward? While it may be tempting to do a complete kitchen renovation or add a new outdoor deck, these types of extensive upgrades require large investments that you won’t necessarily recoup at closing. In fact, some upgrades may actually lower the value of your home.
When it comes to making improvements to your home, it’s usually best to avoid large projects and put your money towards smaller upgrades that will both add value and make your home more appealing to buyers. So, before you invest money into making upgrades, we’ve rounded up eight investments you can make that will have the greatest impact on the sale of your home.
Average Investment: $100 - $1,000
First impressions matter. If you ask any REALTOR® what the most important factor is when showing a home to prospective buyers, there’s a high likelihood they’ll say curb appeal. When buyers first arrive at your home, they’ll often decide if it’s “the one” or not based solely on the exterior.
What buyers see on the outside will often set the tone for how they feel about the inside. If your curb appeal is on point, buyers will tend to notice more of the good while having a higher tolerance for the not-so-good. On the other hand, if the outside of your home is lacking, or worse, appears to have been neglected, most buyers are going to give it one look and turn away before they even step foot inside.
Investing a few hundred dollars in landscaping will not only help attract buyers, but it can have a big impact on your return. The best part? You don’t need to hire a professional. Unless you have an elaborate landscaping plan (which we don’t recommend), this is a project that you can easily tackle on your own.
Most times, all the exterior landscaping needs is a little TLC. Tend to weed-infested flower beds and trim overgrown shrubs. Lay down a fresh layer of mulch and plant in-season flowers. These small improvements will make a vast difference in upping your home’s curb appeal.
Average Investment: $3,000 - $10,000
Kitchens are often considered the focal point of a home which is why buyers often put a lot of weight on this room. Not to mention, it’s typically the area where they’ll convene with their agent towards the end of a showing to discuss how they feel about the property as a whole. So, making a good impression here is worth its weight in gold.
However, while a brand new kitchen complete with quartz countertops, smart stainless steel appliances, and newly installed cabinets can vastly increase your home’s attractiveness to buyers, the added expense for home sellers is usually not worth it.
An entire overhaul of your kitchen can cost you a pretty penny and then some. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2019 Report, the average cost of a mid-range, full kitchen remodel in the U.S. is $66,196, with only 62.1% of that cost recouped after selling.
Our suggestion? Make use of what you have by repainting existing cabinets and replacing outdated hardware. Gone are the days of dark wood cabinets. Instead, go for a cleaner look with white cabinets and satin nickel hardware. These DIY improvements will cost you a fraction of the price while making the heart of your home that much more appealing to buyers.
Average Investment: $300 - $800
Apart from the kitchen, outdated bathrooms will stand out negatively in buyer’s minds. In fact, these two rooms are seen as the most important in the entire house. But just like kitchens, full bathroom renovations can cost you more money than it’s worth.
When it comes to updating your bathroom, we recommend smaller upgrades that will increase the room’s appeal. Instead of replacing an outdated vanity with a new one, start by refinishing the cabinets, replacing old hardware, and updating dated faucets.
Rather than replacing your existing tub, start by giving it a good scrub and freshen up the grout with new caulking. Other small investments that can go a long way include installing new towel racks and updating light fixtures.
Average Investment: $200 - $500
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home. Newly painted walls brighten up rooms and give them a clean and updated look. Painting your home is one of the easiest improvements you can make.
For a small cost and some time, you can cover up any dings or scuffs that have accumulated on your walls over the years. Start off with high-traffic areas like living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, and then work your way to less lived-in rooms, if needed.
Although your preference may be for bold or bright colors, it’s best to stick with light, neutral colors like beige, off-white, or light gray. A neutral color palette helps buyers envision the home as their own. While you’re at it, don’t overlook the trim. Give it a fresh coat of high-gloss, white paint and caulk any open seams.
Average Investment: $50 - $2,000
This one is particularly important in places that are prone to extreme heat or cold (hello Texas summers!). Energy-conscious buyers will be enticed by the idea of a smaller utility bill and eco-friendly upgrades. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on solar panels, try smaller, more economical changes.
One of the simplest ways to make your home more energy efficient is by switching out incandescent bulbs with LED lights that use less energy and last longer. A four pack of eco-friendly LED light bulbs cost as little as $12.
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, appliances account for about 15% of your home’s energy consumption. If you’re considering upgrading your home’s appliances, make sure you’re purchasing ones that are energy efficient. Just because an appliance has a good Energy Star rating, doesn’t mean it will consume less energy than what you have. Be sure to compare the kilowatt-hour usage of the new appliance with your existing one.
Average Investment: $100 - $300
Dimly-lit rooms and outdated light fixtures can take away from the overall feel of your home. Replacing old fixtures with newer ones is a cost-effective way to give your home a more modern feel while also brightening it up.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to upgrade your bulbs. Remember to skip the incandescents and opt for LED light bulbs. And while you may think “natural light” temperature is the way to go, instead choose a “warm white” or “bright white” temperature. “Natural light” bulbs can often make a room appear too blue.
When it comes to showing your home, do your best to let in as much natural light as you can. Always remember to open up blinds and curtains before any showings. Buyers will be more receptive to a home filled with an abundance of natural light, rather than dimness.
Average Investment: $300 - $1,000
The square footage of a home has a direct impact on its value, but even so, we advise against any sort of addition or enclosure for the sake of adding square footage. Not only will this upgrade be expensive, but it will also cost you a lot of time.
Instead, work on making your home appear larger. Have a non-load bearing wall enclosing your kitchen? Consider knocking it down to create a more open floor plan. The average cost of removing a non-load bearing wall in your home ranges from $300 to $1000, depending on the size of the job and if any electrical or plumbing needs to be moved.
If you’re looking for a more practical solution, try removing large furniture from your home and placing it in storage. Oversized or excess furniture can make rooms appear much smaller than they actually are. Home staging can also make a world of difference in how your home shows and may be something to consider.
Average Investment: $100 - $500
Aside from cleaning up your landscaping, another way to score major curb appeal points with buyers is tending to the exterior of your home. While a full exterior paint job can cost thousands of dollars, a more cost-effective solution is power washing. A good power wash will remove dirt and give your home’s exterior a clean and fresh new look. While you’re at it, don’t forget to power wash your sidewalk!
Another easy way to get your home noticed from the outside? Repainting your front door! Unlike the interior of your home, you’re welcome to choose a bright color that makes your front door really stand out. With a gallon of paint costing about $25-30, this is a relatively easy upgrade.
Since your front door is a focal point of your home’s exterior, dress it up. New address numbers and exterior light fixtures will give your home’s entrance a sleek, modern look that will appeal to home buyers. Add a potted plant or two beside your door to make for a more inviting entrance.
Whether you’re looking to spend a few hundred dollars or several thousand, there are plenty of improvements you can make to increase your home’s value before you sell. Our best advice? Focus on small improvements that will help you get the most bang for your buck. If you’re planning to sell your home, the last thing you need is to overinvest in upgrades that won’t give you the return you’re looking for.
Curious what low-cost upgrades can help get your home sold faster? Schedule a complimentary property visit with one of our Jovio Real Estate Specialists. They’ll walk you through how to best prepare your home for listing. No strings attached.