Whether homeowners are looking to put their house on the market or simply give their space an update, there are many different home improvement projects they can tackle.
But not all projects are created equal. Certain upgrades add value while others can actually make the home more difficult to sell.
“The homeowner must know what’s going on in their market,” said Bart Miller, Vice President of Operations for My AMC, a Dallas-based appraisal management firm. “Make upgrades in your home to the upper end of the price range for what’s going on in your neighborhood, but don’t exceed it unless you’ll be staying there.”
While these specifics will depend on the neighborhood, here are some improvements that tend to provide the most ROI.
The kitchen is arguably the most important room in the home, making a critical impression on guests as well as potential buyers. To revitalize its look, homeowners can install a new sink and faucet as well as update the lighting.
“You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck in the kitchen if you make it perfectly functional,” said Miller. “In my own personal situation, I would not sell my home now until I can make it current. Everyone goes into the kitchen to look, so whatever you spend [on upgrades] you will get back [when you sell].”
Bathrooms are another area where potential buyers look first. Improvements to the bath include replacing faded, chipped or missing tiles, selecting clear glass to replace frosted glass for a cleaner look, removing grout and removing rust stains, applying fresh caulk, updating doorknobs and cabinet pulls, and replacing faucets.
Because there is only one opportunity to make a first impression, how a home looks on the outside can make a huge different when it’s time to sell. Homeowners might consider updating exterior paint, clearing debris, adding exterior lighting, and replacing worn out hardware. An audible, working bell is a plus and overhangs such as awnings or porticos above the front door will add a welcoming touch.
“Maintaining the exterior of the property ensures that your home will have good curb appeal, and that is extremely important,” said Miller. “As a result, you have to work hard to maintain the exterior of the home at all times.”
It is also important to replace flooring when it becomes worn or faded looking. Choosing a material that is durable and easy to maintain is key to making this update appeal to future buyers.
“The trend in most markets is moving away from a lot of carpeting,” said Miller. “More people are going to concrete tile, wood tile and laminates. Homeowners will get more bang for their buck on one of those three items.”
Energy efficiency is a home feature that is becoming increasingly important to potential buyers. A great way to do this is by adding fiberglass insulation to the attic. Fiberglass insulation can lower electricity costs because it helps retain heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
Adding energy-efficient windows can also keep electric costs down and have the additional benefit of being more soundproof.