What You Should Know if Renovating Your Home Before Selling

There are lots of renovating upgrades you can do to your home to help boost its appeal, and perhaps even help you sell it at a higher price.

Before committing to any particular project, look at common industry practices to determine if it’s a good choice for your situation.

Focus on “break-even” remodels to attract buyers

For example, if a primary room of your home such as a bathroom or the kitchen turns potential buyers away it could be worth the cost to renovate.

In such a scenario you want to avoid paying more for the remodel than what you can recover from the sale of the home. 

To do this, do a “surface” remodel rather than overhauling the room entirely.

For example, countertops are among the most visible features of a bathroom or kitchen.

Of any remodeling project, replacing the countertops could be a great option. However, focus on affordable materials that look nice because not everyone may share your tastes.

If the cabinets in your bathroom or kitchen are still solid but look a little dated, save money and either paint or reface them.

However, if the cabinets are falling apart, you’ll need to replace them with new ones.

In some cases, replacing the hardware on all of the cabinets is a less expensive option that can be easily done in a short time.

Save by doing it yourself, if possible, especially if you’re planning to sell in a year or more.

But if you’re planning to put the home on the market in just a few months it’s smart to hire a contractor to be sure it’s done by the time you plan to list the home.

Focus on renovations that are appealing to the eye such as new paint or flooring

For example, a new water heater is a good selling point, but visual appeal is what draws buyers in to see your home.

Room areas that some industry pros argue don’t return much value include:

  • ⬥ theaters
  • ⬥ offices
  • ⬥ basements
  • ⬥ attics
  • ⬥ deck
  • ⬥ patio
  • ⬥ backyards
  • ⬥ garage conversions
  • ⬥ media rooms
  • ⬥ additions

Low-cost improvements that attract buyers

Some individuals say that good curb appeal can add as much as five percent to your home’s value, so it’s worth the effort to make improvements if needed.

Despite any disagreement among real estate pros about increasing your home’s value with landscaping, it’s a fact that the first thing potential buyers see is the outside of your home.

That’s why it’s common sense to make sure your home stands out when buyers are scrolling through Zillow.

Things to look at (and improve if needed):

  • ⬥ Paint is in good shape
  • ⬥ Any pavers are straight and even
  • ⬥ Dead plants are removed
  • ⬥ Shrubs are well-trimmed
  • ⬥ Lawn is well kept
  • ⬥ Outside furniture is in good shape (adds to the aesthetic appeal)

Don’t spend so much that you won’t recover your costs

To get some idea what to expect when renovating before selling, take a look at the “Cost Vs Value” report published each year. This tool is used by the real estate and construction industries and can give you some idea of how much you’ll spend on renovating your home.

The report gives the average cost of common home renovations and sets out the expected home value increase of each renovation.

Averages vary at both the national and regional levels, so look for your city to see what kind of bump you might get from renovating.

Keep in mind that every housing market is different. Different locations can vary in the kind of value you can expect to get from a home renovation.

Even the kind of market you’re planning to sell in (buyer’s market vs seller’s market) can dictate how much (if any) bump in value you’ll get when renovating shortly before selling.