home upgrades

Are you thinking of selling your home? Whether it’s your first time or the tenth, you always want to get top dollar. Buyers will pay more for a home that has options they want and is move-in ready. Only a small percentage are interested in a house that needs significant remodeling and home upgrades. But should you add a deck or update your kitchen? Plant new landscaping or finish the basement? What options are most home buyers looking for? Continue reading to find out how to choose the best projects and avoid unnecessary upgrades where you may not get a return on your investment.

Home Upgrades that Offer the Best Return on Your Investment

Curb Appeal
First impressions are important. The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see, and if it isn’t welcoming, it’s difficult to get anyone to go inside.
The least expensive upgrades are to power wash the exterior, cut the grass, trim hedges, and get rid of any junk. Think about replacing your mailbox and adding flowers. Open the view from the street by trimming tree branches and removing overgrown plantings. All the above will make your house seem larger. And don’t forget about the garage door. If it’s dented, rotting, or is difficult to open and close, replace it. On average, a homeowner will spend about $3,500 on a new door, but you’ll get back every penny.

Paint the House
If the exterior of your house has flaking and peeling paint, consider hiring a professional painter. Depending on the size, this may cost $5000 or more. If you can’t decide on a color, studies have shown that pale yellow houses sell faster and for a higher price. Paint the front door a dramatic contrasting hue such as blue, coral, or green. A fresh coat of paint will increase the value of your home.

Build a Deck
More and more, buyers want to extend their living space, and a deck offers an excellent transition area from inside to out. It’s a private space in which to entertain, grill out, and relax. Homeowners who spend an average of $10,000 on a wood deck can expect to recoup at least 85 percent of the cost when they sell.

Install Air Conditioning
Today, most home buyers expect a house to have central air conditioning. Window units, although seemingly less expensive, can be noisy and block the view. It’s also less attractive to potential buyers. Central air-conditioning is less costly in the long run than window units because of its overall energy-efficiency. Depending on the size of the house, adding central air can cost up to $10,000; however, it will increase your home’s value by 20 percent.

Interior Updates
As potential buyers step through the front door, they should be greeted by a clean, fresh home. The least expensive upgrades are to clear out the clutter, remove appliances from kitchen counters, put away toys, and give every room a deep, thorough cleaning. Pack up personal items or photographs that distract a buyer from thinking about the home as “their” place. Fresh paint is also an inexpensive way to update a home. Keep rooms neutral yet bright with white, soft tan, or light gray.

Kitchen Upgrades
Potential buyers appreciate updated kitchens. It’s the most used room in the home – it’s a gathering place, food is prepped there, and every visitor sees it. A total makeover is not always necessary, however. If cabinets and appliances are in good working condition, don’t remove them. Consider painting cabinets white and adding new hardware. Replace the counters with new laminate or upgrade to granite. Install a new sink and faucet. Remove any wallpaper and repaint the walls. Even small changes can give it a “wow” factor. In general, homeowners will net 85 percent of what they spend.

Bathroom Changes
Like the kitchen, an updated bathroom can sell a house, but it doesn’t always need to be rebuilt entirely. The first step is to clean it from top to bottom. Does it need fresh paint? Caulk around the tub? A new shower curtain? How about changing out the old light fixture with something more modern or adding a framed mirror over the sink? Look closely at the flooring. If it’s cracking or peeling, consider replacing it with new vinyl or ceramic tiles. All of these changes are relatively affordable, and homeowners will see an 80 percent return on their investment.

Finished Basements
Another great way to expand living space and increase resale value is to finish the basement. A full home theater or gym is unnecessary, but be sure that the basement is waterproofed and insulated. No one wants to sit in a damp, cold, or musty room. Just do the basics like painted walls and ceiling, comfortable flooring, and lighting. Add some storage, a few pieces of furniture, and you’re good to go. Finished basements can return up to 100 percent of what the homeowner spends, depending on the materials.

Making updates to your home before selling is a must, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Walk around your house with the eye of a potential buyer. Be honest about what needs replacing or remodeling. Then talk to the professionals – they can help you decide what projects will give you the best return on your investment.

Contact a WCBA Member to assist you with your upgrades. WCBA Members are certified, bonded and insured.