It’s always a task to set a budget for a renovation—or at the very least an ever-moving target—but if you’re planning to put your home on the market, you’ll have a way different set of calculations than a starry-eyed new homeowner.
Before you embark on a gut of your circa-1990 kitchen, consult with a Realtor® and a general contractor about which renovations will yield the biggest return on investment. How much work you’ll need depends on your home’s value, your market, and the comps in your neighborhood. Your house needs to measure up to the other listings on the market.
Committed to doing some work? Start by thinking small. Minor cosmetic upgrades go a long way in getting more buyers through the door for a quicker sale—and time on market is key to determining what you’ll net at closing.
Where to start? Here are some suggested upgrades (and some to avoid):
Walls and floors
Replacing or refinishing your flooring and painting the walls are the quickest and least expensive ways to give a house new life. With these enhancements, you can expect roughly a 15% uptick in asking price.
Paint colors matter. Shades of gray are in with buyers right now; stay away from tan and beige hues. While you can certainly go the DIY route with paint, hiring a pro will get the best results. Expect to spend $2,000 to $3,000 for whole-house interior painting
The same goes for new carpet. A sturdy, builder-grade fiber in a neutral color that doesn’t compete with your wall color is the way to go. While most buyers prefer hardwood floors, they’re pricey to install. If you have existing hardwood floors, refinishing them will bring back the luster.
According to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, replacing your existing front door with a new steel door will net you a 101.8% return on resale for a minimal replacement cost of about $1,230. Who knew? But think about it: It’s the first and last thing you’ll touch on your home visit. It makes an impression.
Installing a new garage door has an impact on buyers, too. Even better: It offers an 88% return at resale and costs an average of about $1,600 to replace, according to the Remodeling report.
Roof and siding
Adding a new roof and replacing your home’s unsightly vinyl siding will also yield a high return on investment. Homeowners may recoup 72% and 80% of the cost, respectively, for those upgrades. Another benefit: When it comes time for inspection and appraisal, having those repairs done will not only increase the value of your home but also reduce the likelihood of being forced to make fixes or adjust pricing later in the process.
A modern kitchen is a top draw for buyers—but don’t try to overhaul a dated one, which could cost mucho dinero. Buying new cabinet drawer pulls, painting or refacing old cabinets (white is in right now), and installing sleek light fixtures are all low-cost upgrades that will make your kitchen sparkle.
New appliances, which can run about $10,000 for a whole-kitchen replacement, are an easy way to add value. While the upfront cost might be hard to swallow, new stainless appliances make your kitchen more attractive to a wider range of buyers.
Granite or quartz counter tops are also hot, but they can be pricey, depending on your kitchen layout.
“You need bids from professional remodeler to figure out how much new counter tops will cost—and if it fits your budget and timetable. A less pricey alternative is simply adding a clean, white ceramic tile back splash to create visual appeal.
Upgrades to skip
Thinking about finishing an attic or basement? Adding a deck? Well, don’t. Those upgrades tend to be pricey, and buyers will likely prefer to remodel those areas to their own tastes.
Other areas to avoid doing a major renovation: bathrooms, bedrooms, and home offices, according the Remodeling report.
In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t renovate it!