The Best Home Renovations To Do Before Selling

Thinking of selling your home? Take a look at your home’s condition. How does it measure up to similar properties for sale? You don’t want to over-improve your home. In a competitive real estate market, buyers want a home that’s move-in ready. Why? A home is a huge investment, and buyers don’t want to deal with any added costs. So, how do you decide what the best home renovations are to sell fast and get the best price? The basic measure is the Return on Investment (ROI). You’ll want to balance the renovation cost with the value it adds to your home. How much of your investment will you get back? An experienced home remodel contractor can help you determine what to do to your home before selling.

best home renovations

What Home Improvements Give the Best ROI

Remodeling Magazine shows the best home remodels in terms of ROI. The role a room plays in the overall design of the home can guide you to how important a renovation is. That’s why buyers look first at the condition of the kitchen and baths. While kitchen and bathroom remodels are the most costly, they’re more likely to pay for themselves. Because bigger homes carry a higher price tag, adding square footage by finishing out a basement or attic will pay off at the sale. The cost of a remodel isn’t always a good indicator of ROI. Sometimes, a small project can yield big results. A kitchen refresh instead of a total remodel could do the job. Keep prospective purchasers in mind when planning a remodel project. It isn’t about you! The best home renovation adds little value if it fails to appeal to the largest pool of buyers. Before listing your house, here are some of the best renovations to do before selling.

Boost Curb Appeal

First impressions count. If your home looks outdated, potential buyers may just drive by. When considering what to do to your house before selling, nothing scares off buyers like a roof that needs to be replaced. The cost of a new roof is a lot to pay on top of the purchase price. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates you can recoup up to $12,000 from a roof remodel when you sell. Old windows make buyers think of drafty rooms and high energy bills. Window replacement in a cold climate like Chicago delivers a high return on your investment. Worn-out siding creates the impression a home isn’t structurally sound. New fiber-cement siding for an average house can deliver an ROI of 75%. New budget-friendly vinyl siding offers a slightly better return. Simple fixes can increase your home’s attractiveness. Painting a home’s exterior is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to improve curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint can give you an ROI of 80%. Give your landscaping a little love that can pay off big. Call in a lawn care service or add some new plants to freshen up how your house looks. New lighting above the garage or along a walkway makes a house look more welcoming as well as boosts safety. Finally, to get more buyers through the front door, try painting or replacing it.

Freshen Up the Kitchen

An attractive, functional kitchen is one of the best home remodels. Families spend a lot of time in the “heart of the home.” When it comes to ROI, start small when remodeling a kitchen. Mainly cosmetic, simple updates can deliver a quick refresh. They also provide a healthy ROI. Cabinets can be painted in neutral colors or re-faced with new shaker-style fronts. Expensive-looking knobs and handles add sophistication. Adding a new tile backsplash can create drama. A fresh coat of paint rejuvenates and brightens walls. Flooring that’s seen heavy traffic should be replaced. Hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring can wow buyers and return two times your investment when it comes time to sell. If the initial outlay doesn’t fit your budget, vinyl flooring can make sense. Buyers see a house that’s been well-maintained. Whatever flooring you choose, the key is to make it consistent throughout the house. This can make your home seem larger.

What are some of the other best renovations to do before selling? Countertops are another way to make a dramatic change. With so many options, talk to your home remodel contractor to determine which options best fit your budget and needs. At the same time, consider installing a new sink that can handle large pots and pans. Do the 1990’s want your appliances back? An old stove or fridge can make your whole house feel sad. Upgrade to energy-efficient models and trim utility bills. Some remodeling projects don’t make investment sense. Avoid changing a kitchen’s layout or moving walls as these complex projects carry a much smaller ROI. The same goes for new cabinets which are one of the most expensive kitchen elements. Think about it this way. It doesn’t make sense to invest in an $80,000 kitchen when a house is valued at $250,000. 

what to do to your house before selling

Spruce Up the Bathroom

A quarter of realtors recommend sprucing up the bathroom as one of the best renovations to do before selling. On average, a bathroom remodel can cost between $70 to $250 per square foot. The ROI is 68 to 71 percent. Just like kitchen remodels, keep it simple. Avoid moving walls or plumbing. Skip the marble tub. Instead, focus on transforming the look of the bathroom. Start with a fresh coat of paint. Reglaze the bathtub. Install a low-flow toilet. Update mirrors and lighting. Also, look at how you can increase functionality. A new vanity can provide added storage. A rainforest shower head or hand-held attachment makes washing up easier and more relaxing. A walk-in shower and bench add safety and attractiveness. Bathroom remodels return 87.7 to 93.5 percent of your investment.  

Refresh Your Walls 

Brighten up your home with a fresh coat of paint. Cover brightly-covered walls with neutral colors that will compliment most decors. Remove wallpaper that looks like it’s from your grandparent’s home. De-personalize walls by getting rid of custom treatments like sponge paint or Venetian plaster. Painting interior walls will give you a 107% ROI. The log cabin look is far from modern. Lighten up wood paneling with a coat of paint or whitewash. Instead of trying to hide paneling, make it a focal point. Paint paneling in a color that can’t be ignored. No one likes popcorn or “cottage cheese” ceilings. Their texture creates shadows and traps dirt. Removing popcorn ceilings is a messy job but it always increases a home’s value.   

Add Square Footage

A larger home commands a bigger price. One of the best home renovations to do before selling is to add square footage. Increasing functionality and livability will increase the value of your home. This doesn’t mean extending your home’s footprint or raising the roof. These remodeling projects are too costly to make sense. Look instead at finishing the basement or attic space. Create a teen hangout, mancave, guest room, or office by adding drywall, plumbing, flooring, and paint. Each type of project carries several considerations a home renovation contractor can advise you on. An attic conversion needs to take into account such aspects as ceiling height, stair access, fire exits, and your home’s duct and vent system. Typical challenges when finishing a basement involve existing obstructions. Planning the space means dealing with HVAC ductwork, drains, water pipes, gas lines, and electrical systems. How to keep your basement dry is another major consideration. New, useful space increases your property value by $700 for every $1,000 you spend. These home renovations will also attract more buyers looking for these types of spaces.  

Put on a Deck

Outdoor living extends a home’s usable space. A finished area to entertain or relax in is among the best home remodels that can set your house apart. The materials you use will affect the price and thus your ROI. A wood deck can cost between $10 to $30 per square foot. It’s a cost-effective home remodeling project that adds value. Composite decks are more expensive to build. They range from $20 to $38 per square foot. While upfront costs matter to you, buyers care about the long-term maintenance cost. Wood decks can rot, warp, or splinter. They may need to be repainted or stained every few years. Buyers find composite decks attractive because they’re durable. They require very little maintenance and have an expected life of between 30 – 50 years. If you have an existing deck, make it look like new. Give it a powerwash. Replace broken boards. Refresh it by restaining or repainting.

best home remodels

Bottom Line on the Best Home Remodel Projects

The potential value you gain on home remodels depends on the extent to which buyers are willing to pay for the renovations. Few home remodeling investments recoup more than 100% of their cost. The best home renovation projects should address a design or structural issue to increase buyer interest and resale value. That way they earn a solid ROI. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is to improve a property well above the average price of neighboring houses. So pay attention to comparable values when planning home renovations. Start small with simple projects that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Remember, buyers will pay more for a clean, updated, well-kept property. 

How ETI Can Help

What should you do to your house before selling? ETI Construction can help you determine the best home remodel projects. We’re one of the foremost contractors for home renovations. Our team’s wide array of expertise makes us the perfect option for any project that requires a multi-faceted approach. We delight in personalizing our projects and getting to know you to help shape the results to your specific tastes. Our use of data when analyzing our work allows us to bring the full breadth of what we learn to each new project. When you work with ETI, you can trust that we bring our best. Reach out today if you have any questions about our process – or ask us for a quote if you have a project in mind.