Buying a home is an investment in your future. The improvements you make before selling is how you maximize the return on that investment. However, upgrades and improvements are costly, and not all of them pay off.
Here are some top tips for making strategic upgrades to maximize your home’s sale value.
Consider Your Long-Term Plans
First, consider your long-term plans. If you plan on selling in the immediate future, your upgrade strategy might look different than if you sell a few years from now. A longer timeline also allows you to pick away at upgrades and prioritize which ones will increase the home’s value while positively impacting your lifestyle.
For example, if you’re not selling for a few years, you might choose a fun paint color that suits your personal preferences. Updating the paint to a more neutral palette would be optimal if you’re planning on selling soon.
Research the Local Market
Next, look at the local market and get an idea of:
- how much homes like yours are selling for
- how long they’re staying on the market,
- what they have that your house doesn’t.
This research process can help you look for the best home upgrades that will appeal to buyers in your area. You can also have a realtor look at your home and provide valuable insights about which upgrades to prioritize.
Consider Replacement Necessities
Cosmetic features and layout will draw buyers in, but outdated appliances and systems will deter them from buying. Consider what elements of your home are top priorities from a functional standpoint. Some standard features include:
- an old or damaged roof
- HVAC system (air conditioning, furnace, etc.)
- outdated plumbing
- outdated electrical panel
These issues devalue your home in two primary ways. First, if a buyer can find a home where they won’t have to deal with these replacements, they’re likely to choose the alternative. Second, if they buy your house, they’ll likely add a contingency to get financial credit for the repairs and upgrades. Dealing with these core issues will help improve your house’s value and attractiveness when it goes to market.
Highlight the Kitchen
The kitchen is typically the most important room when it comes to selling a home. Focusing your upgrade efforts here will have a high return on investment, especially if your home is older with a dated kitchen. Real estate experts surmise that kitchen remodeling projects have a 75-93% ROI— the highest of all home upgrades.
The main focal points in a kitchen are the appliances, cabinets, and flow. Restructuring your kitchen to create more room or developing an open-concept plan will add tremendous value to your home. However, it could be costly if you’re moving plumbing and electrical.
There are several options for improving or upgrading your cabinets. If you have sturdy cabinets with an outdated door (cathedral cuts are a common hangover from the 80s), you can replace the front panel to keep costs low. Painting or resurfacing solid wood cabinets can also add value. Alternatively, replacing old cupboards with ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets can also add value while minimizing costs.
Don’t worry about the appliances unless they require significant repairs or are over ten years old. Many real estate experts recommend foregoing the upgrades if you’re breaking up a matching set of appliances.
Consider Adding a Bathroom
Adding a bathroom and upgrading your existing bathrooms is another effective way to add value to your home. If you only have one bathroom, adding a second will significantly boost your home’s value. A single bathroom is typically a deterrent for homebuyers.
Upgrades to an existing bathroom are contingent on the age and style of the room. Most of your work will be cosmetic if you’ve upgraded to low-flow faucets and toilets in the past decade.
Research and conversations with realtors are also important when considering bathroom upgrades. Luxury showers appeal to many homebuyers, but those with small children will want a tub in a convenient location. Determine who you should be marketing your home to if upgrade options are limited.
Don’t Neglect the Garage
Many people overlook the garage as an opportunity to increase the home’s value. A few simple upgrades can help attract buyers and even extend the living space.
Insulating the garage and adding functional storage will help potential buyers view the potential of the space. You can also position the garage as a multifunctional space, makeshift office, or workshop. Upgrading or refreshing the garage door should be a bare minimum. The garage door contributes to curb appeal and improves functionality.
Invest in Curb Appeal
In addition to updating the garage door and roof, consider other ways to improve your home’s curb appeal. Some simple landscaping can make a significant impact when trying to sell your home and add value.
One caveat with this improvement: investing in significant landscaping upgrades that look high-maintenance can deter buyers who aren’t interested in the upkeep. Keep it clean and simple instead.
Add Sustainable Features
Sustainability is top-of-mind for modern homebuyers. As utility costs increase, more buyers are adding eco-friendly features to their must-have list when buying a home. While upgraded appliances, low-flow plumbing features, and new windows contribute to these efforts, it’s also important to consider smaller updates.
Adding smart technology capabilities will attract modern buyers. For example, upgrading your thermostat to a smart, programmable thermostat will showcase the potential for savings in heating and cooling costs. Similarly, adding an electric vehicle charger could appeal to specific income brackets. In some areas, adding a solar panel backup system or whole-house generator is also appealing. Again, researching your local market and talking to a realtor can help direct your efforts.
Take the time to research and prioritize home upgrades before diving into a remodeling project. Consider your long-term goals and how you can maximize your investment.