If you’re ready to put your home on the market, you’ve likely begun the arduous process of getting it ready for walk-throughs and open houses. But if a full reno isn’t in your budget — hey, you’re selling it anyway, right? — there are some key updates that still boast a big return on your investment.
‘Cause, let’s be real: There are certain things that will send a potential buyer running and, more often than not, they are things that have been on your to-do list for quite some time. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to make these improvements.
Here are seven repairs and upgrades you should consider when selling your home.
1. Curb appeal
The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers see when they pull up, so it’s important to give a good first impression. Fortunately, this can mean as little as pressure washing your house or painting your entry door to make it pop. Of course, a stunning landscape can be a major selling point, but it comes with a few caveats. A professionally landscaped yard can run a pretty penny, and it takes several years of growth to get the most return on your investment. Still, even adding a few charming flowerbeds will add impact to your existing curb appeal.
If you’ve ever spent any amount of spare time watching home improvement or house-hunting shows on HGTV, you know just how often potential buyers comment on outdated appliances — buyers like to see matching appliances and, more specifically, ones in stainless steel. If your budget only allows for one replacement, swap your old fridge for a stainless steel French door refrigerator. You can always give the rest of your appliances (if fairly new) an aesthetic boost with stick-on panels in stainless steel. But, at the very least, replacing your old fridge will woo buyers.
3. Interior paint
For the record, pros don’t recommend painting your entire home prior to resale — unless every single room is in a particularly bright or distinctive hue. Rather, focus on giving a few rooms a fresh paint job in a modern neutral. True neutrals such as gray and beige are always fail-safe paint color bets. If you can’t live without a little color, though, consider a “new” neutral like pale blue or a light gray-green. Also, try to ensure the color story throughout the home is cohesive. As for any walls you don’t paint, hit any scuffs or smudges with a Magic Eraser and call it a day.
More: 7 things I learned when I painted my house
4. A minor bathroom remodel
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it at least a hundred times — buyers want to see updated bathrooms and kitchens (more on the latter in a minute). According to a survey by Bankrate.com, 42 percent of real estate professionals said the bathroom is one of the most important rooms home buyers want to see in good shape. Sure, doing a full bathroom reno could cost you an arm and a leg, but luckily, it doesn’t have to come to that. Simple fixes such as caulking the tub, re-grouting the tile, removing dated wall coverings and removing old shower doors to create the illusion of more space all go a long way in the mind of potential buyers. If you tackle all of them for a complete minor bathroom remodel, you stand to recoup 102 percent of your investment.
5. A minor kitchen remodel
Home trends come and go, but one remains with stalwart persistence: The kitchen remains the heart of the home. Thus the old real estate adage that, more than any other room, the kitchen sells a house. If your kitchen is only in need of minor cosmetic repair, you’re in luck! You can get away with a minor kitchen remodel. This might include updates such as re-facing cabinets and drawers, swapping out fixtures and hardware, installing recessed lighting or upgrading countertops to natural stone. According to HGTV, minor kitchen remodels offer a 98.5 percent return on your investment at resale.
It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to a potential buyer, walking through a house packed with stuff can be a total turn-off. Because all of the clutter makes it difficult to envision the space with their belongings as opposed to yours, de-personalizing a space as much as possible is a must-do before you open your home to potential buyers. The great news here, of course, is that this doesn’t have to cost you anything. In fact, you even stand to gain a few bucks if you have a yard sale or otherwise sell off a few unused belongings. But even bringing in a pro won’t put too big of a dent in your budget.
7. Replacing the entry door
For several years running, a somewhat surprising swap has ranked in the top tier of improvement projects — entry door replacement. It’s not a drastic change. It’s not even a particularly high-cost change. But it is one that nearly always recoups close to 100 percent of its cost, especially if the replacement door is steel. The logic behind this update is likely twofold: Potential buyers want to feel safe and a new entry door gives curb appeal a major cosmetic boost.
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