Renovating To Sell? Start With One of These Projects

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One of the best parts of owning a home is how much you can personalize your living space. That waterfall shower you always wanted? Wallpaper with a splashy floral pattern? Themed bathrooms for the kids? It’s all on the menu.

remodel house pictograph

When it’s time to think about moving, though, you’ll want to turn your attention to a different type of project: renovations that make your home sell faster and for a better price. What do buyers really want right now? And how can you plan your budget to get the best return on investment? Start with one of these four tried-and-true remodeling ideas.

Harness the Power of Energy Efficiency

Savvy buyers aren’t just looking at the décor when they’re preparing to purchase; they’re also considering long-term costs. Energy-efficient homes have a well-deserved reputation as a smart investment. Further, if you’re selling your home in a market with newer construction nearby, where energy considerations are often a part of the design process, a few smart choices can help you offer comparable benefits.

Buyers are willing to pay a premium for Energy Star® rated appliances, triple-pane windows, and insulation that’s a step above what’s required by local building codes. Want to really impress eco-conscious shoppers? Think about installing a solar panel system. Not only do solar panels save households up to $2,000 annually on energy costs, but Zillow researchers also found that homes that mention solar panels in the listing fetch a 1.8% higher sale price than comparable homes without them.

Focus on the Two Rooms That Sell Homes

When you first toured your home before buying, chances are that you breezed through the living room and bedrooms but lingered extensively in the kitchen and bathrooms. Your buyers will likely do the same! Analysts at Trulia agree that both are major focal points for buyers and renovating either will boost your home’s value.

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Before you start taking measurements for a freestanding tub and chef-grade double ovens, research what’s popular in your neighborhood. This information can guide you to the features that buyers want, as well as ensuring that you don’t price your home out of the neighborhood; homes in your area may only sell for so much money, regardless of how well-appointed they are, so you’ll want to be certain that you can recoup most of your investment at sale time.

Given a choice between the kitchen or the bathroom, start with the kitchen. Remodeling magazine found that sellers in 2020 could expect to earn back almost 78% of the cost of a minor kitchen renovation—meaning upgraded countertops, cabinet fronts, flooring, and appliances—versus 64% of the cost of a bathroom renovation. If your kitchen is modern enough for your market and your heart is set on a bathroom upgrade, go with the primary bath; it’s probably the one your buyers will be using.

Paint With Taupe, Make More Green

Does the idea of losing a kitchen or bathroom to months of renovation sound too stressful? A fresh coat of paint can add more to your sale price than you might think. Especially if your current palette involves darker colors, repainting can set a different, buyer-friendly tone. When you’re ready to start selecting swatches, stick to light neutrals that create an inviting backdrop for your buyer’s tastes and lifestyle. According to a paint color study by Zillow, homes with living rooms painted a light, peachy taupe sold for $2,793 more than comparable homes nearby. Pale gray-blue in bathrooms was a hit, too, adding $2,786 to the sale price.

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What should you avoid? Red kitchens and oat-brown living rooms cost their sellers $2,310 and $1,684, respectively. The outside of your home matters, too; listings with exteriors painted in creamy yellow sold for $3,408 less than comparable listings.

Take Care of the Basics, Too

It can be tempting to get lost in renovation dreams, particularly when some of these projects sound like things you’ve always wanted to do. However, it’s important to note that few buyers will overlook problems with basic maintenance or essential home infrastructure. No matter how modern or energy-efficient the home is, buyers expect a working HVAC system, a sturdy foundation, and an undamaged roof.

While these upgrades may not sound like as much fun as solar panels or a gourmet kitchen, simple projects like replacing damaged siding can provide a great return, and ensuring that your house has good bones will keep you from having to make concessions during the sale process due to a problematic inspection report.

Renovating your home can be a great way to improve your quality of life, but it can also be an investment in your financial future. Choosing in-demand upgrades can help you be sure you’ll get the most out of the time and money you spend caring for your home.