January 13, 2020

The Best Home Improvements to Increase Your Home's Value

Set yourself up for success by making home improvements before putting your home on the market. The first impression is everything, and easy updates add value and can make a home more desirable to home buyers in a competitive market.

Simple upgrades can instantly validate a higher asking price and increase the resale value of your home.

When you're going to sell real estate, opt for updates that offer a return on investment. The goal isn't to end up in Architectural Digest or be the most-liked home on Instagram.

Secondly, consider the home's value in a seller's market. It could make sense to overinvest in the improvement because it will fix a major issue, or will set the home apart to potential buyers.

Home improvement projects and the value we associate with them is somewhat relative, especially when you're comparing the value-add of a coat of paint versus a new roof.

Weigh the opportunity cost, your skill level, and make a judgment call on what improvements will increase your home's value. Consulting with a real estate agent to confirm the value of your home is a good idea, and whether to take out a home improvement loan.

General improvements

Look closely at your home and flag the things that may be “easy” to update, whether in a bedroom, hallway, or main living space:
  • Paint trim and walls
  • Refinish old hardwood floors and deep clean carpets
  • Replace old light switches and outlets
  • Replace outdated light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Make energy-efficiency updates to improve energy bills, such as improving insulation, installing a smart thermostat, or investing in window replacements
  • Minimize your belongings (it can help to accentuate the actual square footage)

Kitchen improvements

While a kitchen renovation offers a significant impact and will increase the value of your home overall, it's not likely that you'll see recoup 100% of your investment when you sell.

The better option is to opt for a minor kitchen remodel, and make improvements that visibly update the look, without requiring a large investment in the space.
  • Update appliances with products that are modern and energy-efficient (you may even be able to bring these with you to a new house, but for showing purposes, they'll help the space look really nice)
  • Paint outdated cabinetry, or replace all of the cabinet door and drawer fronts with modern styles
  • Upgrade hardware
  • Replace countertops

Bathroom improvements

A full bathroom remodel might add home value, but as with a kitchen remodeling project, it's not likely that you'll profit from the improvements.

Replacing all of the tile, for example, is an expensive and laborious undertaking, and you risk choosing a style that might not appeal to a future buyer.

Instead, consider how it would look if you were to:
  • Upgrade an outdated vanity, or replace an old sink top
  • Replace an old toilet
  • Buy a new shower curtain and/or shower rod
  • Replace an old shower head

Living room and family room improvements

Opt to make main living areas appear turnkey, organized and neutral to allow home buyers to visualize their own belongings in the space.
  • Install a new gas fireplace insert
  • Update an old fireplace with manufactured stone veneer
  • Have wiring for any wall-mounted televisions set up to route through the wall joists
  • Embrace natural light

Curb appeal home improvements

Taking the time to enhance your home's curb appeal can pay off big.

Routine maintenance, like sweeping sidewalks and washing the windows and siding goes a long way at making a home appear well-maintained, but in addition:
  • Paint the front door, and any other entry doors
  • Replace or paint an old garage door
  • Reseal an asphalt driveway
  • Stain a wood deck
  • Consider painting a brick exterior
  • Replace damaged siding
  • Prune trees and shrubs
  • Add mulch to garden beds