Best Home Updates and Renovations When Selling Your Home

Home renovations, remodels and updates can all pay off when selling your home. But where do you get the best return for your investment?

If you are ready to put your home on the market, you will want to make sure to do a few things that can bring in potential buyers and top selling price. Some renovations and home updates can be helpful while others may actually turn off potential buyers.

The goal of making home improvements before selling your home is to make it more livable for yourself but also look ready for future buyers.

Use this guide of home updates to help you attract buyers and speed up the sale of your home.

Before You Start, Get The Basics Covered First

Potential buyers want their new home to be free from basic repairs. You won’t get top dollar for your home if you have a bad roof, poor electrical and plumbing or the furnace and air conditioner need work.

So unless you are selling a fixer upper, you need to make sure the following items are in working order:

  • The roof doesn’t leak. Now the roof doesn’t need to be new, but it can’t leak. If your roof is more than 12 years old its getting near the end of its useful life. Consider replacing the roof and use that as a selling point. It’s something a buyer will not have to worry about for at least a decade.
  • All the plumbing and electrical are up to code and working. Replace any dripping faucets and light fixtures that don’t work. Little things like that will cause buyers to lower their offering price. Pay for a home inspection and show it to buyers.
  • Furnace and Air Conditioning Work. Keep records of your maintenance work. A regular maintenance program for your heating and cooling will extend the working life of the unit and give buyers some piece of mind. Most furnaces and air conditioners are good for 20 years so consider replacing if they are close to that.

3 Best Updates That Help Sell Your Home

These 3 things will help sell your home and cost very little. For most homes it’s probably less than $500.

Curb Appeal. What does your house look like from the road? Get a fresh coat of paint on the front door and on the trim. Zillow did research and found that new paint generally creates a higher selling price. Cost of gallon of paint and brushes is around $50.

Tip: Don’t forget the landscape! Make sure the front yard and back yard are free of dead or dying trees and shrubs. No bare spots in the lawn and the grass is mowed.

Do Minor Kitchen and Bath Updates. Replace that old toilet and that old shower head. Put some polish on those cabinets. Do not do any major updates in the kitchen or bath-more on that later. New toilet $120. Shower heads $20. Furniture polish $8.

Update The Living Room Flooring. The living room is usually the first room people see when they enter your house. Make sure it looks good with clean carpet or polish those wood floors. Carpet cleaning $50. Floor polish $20.

3 Things Not To Do Before Selling Your Home

Here are 3 home updates and renovations to avoid before selling. You will spend way too much money, you won’t be living there to enjoy it and the new buyers will probably hate it anyway.

Major Kitchen Updates. Just stay away from these when you are selling. The kitchen is one place in your home where something you like is of little or no value to someone else. You may think your new wall oven and kitchen island are the perfect fit. But the kitchen gets the most remodel work of any room in the house.

And kitchen remodels are expensive. Even a modest update could be $15,000. Why spend that money when your home buyer may love the house, but thinks the kitchen is a bit much. Doesn’t help you sell and won’t add enough increased value to potential buyers.

Finished Basements. If it’s already finished, clean it up and leave it like it is. Don’t pay $10,000 for a new finished basement thinking it will increase the value of your home by $10,000.

Finished basements also have the added concerns of water, mold and egress requirements. Some home buyers spend very little time in the basement and prefer to watch TV or have guests use the living room. If you are using a basement for sleeping it must meet egress laws in case of a fire or other emergency.

Installing Hardwood Floors. Hardwood floors are nice. And expensive. They are also not loved by everyone. They might like hardwood in the kitchen but not in the living room or bedrooms. Stick to the basics with flooring.

Don’t replace living room carpet with hardwood flooring. New home buyers might like the hardwood, but not the color. New hardwood in the kitchen? Nope, buyer likes ceramic tile. And you just put hardwood flooring in the master bedroom before selling? Sorry, the new buyers hate it and will put in carpeting.

Sell Your Old Home But Spend The Money On Your New One

When you put your home on the market, you will need to do some work. A few things here and there to get it ready and get the highest selling price. Home renovations should be done so you can enjoy them, not when you are selling. Very few renovations and updates will return more than 80% of their value.

Selling a home is a big decision. Don’t make the mistake of spending thousands of dollars on updates that you will never use. Instead, spend that money on your new home.