Every home seller has one thing in common: they want to sell for the most money possible. So, what does it take to squeeze every last dollar out of your home? It often comes down to upgrading and updating the right areas and features. That’s why we’ve collaborated with real estate professionals across the country to get their advice on getting your home ready to sell.

The Lowdown on Big Upgrades

As much as this post is about upgrades to increase the value of your home, it’s also about upgrades you shouldn’t make. In short, big remodeling projects often cost more money than they are worth, especially for those looking to sell their house quickly. Even though one of your bathrooms may desperately need updating, it’s not worth putting in the money if its value doesn’t exceed its costs.

kyle hiscock“It’s important to keep in mind when completing a remodel on a kitchen or bath that it can get very expensive.  Some homeowners spend more money than they should and expect to improve the value of their home the same as they spend on their upgrade.  This isn’t the case, spending $40,000 doesn’t raise a home’s value $40,000.”

Kyle Hiscock | Rochester Real Estate Blog

While it’s likely not worth undertaking a major renovation project, the kitchen is still worth your time and attention. It’s often the focal point of the home and is a make-or-break aspect for buyers. Potential projects include replacing old light fixtures, painting with a neutral color and upgrading to new appliances (if yours aren’t relatively new).

Kitchen, bathrooms, backyards and basements commonly stand out to buyers. Why is that? The kitchen and bathroom have the greatest opportunity to stand out and add character with cabinets, sinks and appliances. They provide features that become ingrained in the memory of a potential homebuyer.

So what does this mean for you as a seller? It’s all about gauging your home’s most pressing needs and taking care of them in an affordable fashion. While it may not make sense to update an entire room, making minor updates may make sense.

Remodeling Magazine provides a thorough list of remodeling projects, including kitchen remodels, comparing their cost versus value. It’s a great resource for anyone considering upgrading their home and even breaks down each project’s value by region. For the most part, you’ll find that it echoes one of the main takeaways of this post: cost often trumps resale value.

kris lippi“Investing in major renovations to increase the sales price doesn’t always make the most amount of sense. A lot of times you will not get back the money you put into renovations. The best way to get more money for your home is to work with what you have and make it looks its best.”

Kris Lippi | Get LISTED Realty

So how do you work with what you have? There are several minor projects you can tackle that will impress buyers and make sense from a financial standpoint.

Home Upgrades Worth Your Time

Buyers make their decision on whether or not they like a home within the first few minutes of pulling up. This makes it critical to pay attention to small details and ensure nothing detracts from your home’s appeal. You want to do everything you can to help the buyer picture themselves living in the space. This may include tasks ranging from removing your family pictures to painting rooms a neutral color.

The projects listed below typically don’t require a large financial investment, but they do require effort and a keen eye. Consider all of these upgrades and updates before putting your home on the market.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your home. This is why it’s critical to have the exterior of your home kept up and inviting to guests; well-maintained landscaping and updated fixtures can go a long way.

green button homes“Homebuyers typically stand on your front porch for 3-4 minutes looking around while their agent fumbles with the lockbox to get the key out. Make sure everything is in order here. Consider new house numbers, a front door knob set, mailbox and doormat along with fresh flowers planted in the beds.”

Tom Tarrant | Green Button Homes

In the same frame of mind, it’s critical that the front of your house be updated with a fresh coat of paint. Many local paint stores can color match what you currently have, so you’ll save money by not having to paint the entire house. For those looking to do more than just paint, read our guide on How to Add DIY Curb Appeal. Get tips and tricks on improving the exterior of your home.

Go Neutral With Your Paint Colors

As important as it is to have a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your home, the same holds true for the interior. You want to give potential homebuyers something to work with and paint is one of the best ways to do so. It’s key to pick a color that appeals to the masses.

david welch“As far as painting is concerned, keep it light and use colors that are neutral, but fresh. That hunter green accent wall in your formal dining room, may look great with your decor, but not so much for your potential buyer. Beige or gray tones give the buyer a neutral palette to work with when they are redecorating in their mind’s eye.”

David Welch | David Welch Real Estate

Many industry professionals recommend Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter as a paint color to use throughout a house. It provides a unifying look that works well in a home with an open floor plan.

Open Up the Space

Buyers are looking to get their hands on an open floor plan. Open concepts create a single, unifying room that allows sunlight to flow and is good for entertaining guests. Opening up the space as much as possible, especially in the kitchen and living rooms, can go a long way in attracting buyers.

lynn pineda“A home’s floor plan that allows for an open concept within the kitchen and living area will appeal to the most home buyers, as the days are gone with separate defined rooms being desired by buyers. Can you easily make your home an open concept home by removing a dividing wall?”

Lynn Pineda | Imagine Your House

While it may not make financial sense for everyone to knock down walls, you can create the perception of a larger open space by making a few small changes.

  • Bring in more natural light to a room.
  • Choose and paint a central color palate.
  • Consider how your furniture is arranged.
  • Declutter each room as much as possible.

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

While we can’t tell you exactly what your home needs, you should now have a pretty good idea of what makes financial sense when you’re preparing your home for sale. Remember that while certain areas, such as the kitchen, may attract the largest number of serious buyers, you’ll want to make sure you at least get the money back that you put into the upgrade. Take a look around your home and note areas and items that could fall into this category. Always keep in mind the following:

Do you have any tips for homeowners looking to upgrade their home before selling? Please drop a comment below to share your ideas and/or success stories.