Projects That Generate the Best ROI When Prepping Your Home for Sale

When you’re planning to sell your home, naturally you hope to get the greatest sales price possible. Your home is naturally your biggest investment, so it makes sense to do what you can to boost its value. Many renovations will yield a decent return on investment, but some are better than others. Choosing which projects to undertake may also depend on your time, skill level and willingness to DIY versus your budget for hiring someone else to complete the projects for you.

Make sure that you check with your realtor, too, who will likely recommend certain projects (and nix others) that will help your home to sell more quickly. Meanwhile, check out this list of potential projects that most experts agree will give you the biggest bang for your buck.


Projects With an Average ROI of 70% or Better

Improve energy efficiency

A recent remodeling.com survey found that homeowners who insulate their attics can recoup up to 116% of the cost. You’ll eliminate drafts and save on heating and cooling. Upgrading HVAC, water heaters, and windows net about a 73% return (more, when you factor your lower energy bills while you’re still living in the home).

Bathroom remodel

Update your bathroom on a budget by replacing the toilet, vanity, faucets, and lights. Freshen up the walls with paint, re-grout tile, remove and replace caulk around the shower, tub, and toilet. Save your splurge for towels, curtains, a shower curtain, and rug in complementary, neutral colors. You could see a 102% ROI without breaking the bank.

Kitchen remodel

Minor remodels typically recoup about 87% or more of the cost. Focus on minor face-lifts to your home’s heart: new paint, hardware, faucets, and lights work wonders. If your budget allows for updating appliances and upgrading countertops, you’ll find it a worthwhile investment, too. Or if the budget’s low but the counters are worn, give laminate countertops a new look and feel with an epoxy coating. the backsplash with peel-and-stick tiles.

Add a coat of paint

Paint works wonders, and it’s among the least expensive updates with up to a 109% ROI. Walls painted crazy colors are turn-offs to most buyers. Opt for neutral hues that lighten rooms, hide visual defects, and make spaces feel fresh and clean.

Fix the flooring

Hardwood floors are a high priority on many home-hunters’ lists. It’s expensive to add hardwood floors—between $5 and $10 per-square-foot on average—but if your budget’s got the room, you could potentially add 2.5% to your home’s selling price and see a 70% to 80% ROI when you sell.

Attic conversion to bedroom

Increasing square footage is another bonus that many people value. Plus, since homes are listed based on their number of bedrooms, reclassifying your 3-bedroom home to a 4-bedroom home will increase its value. The most current numbers suggest that you could recoup between 75% and 93% of the cost to convert.

Curb appeal

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In the real estate market,

first impressions can make or break a deal. In fact, 63% of people shopping for a new home will stop by to check it out in person after they’ve seen the pictures posted online. A well-staged home interior is critical for highlighting its assets, but don’t undervalue the need to spend a little TLC sprucing up your home’s outside, too.

Walk around your home to identify areas needing paint, repair, or clean-up. Paint the front door, shutters, and trim. Update the garage and garage door or siding and give the outside a good power washing.  Replace older porch light fixtures and outdated house numbers with new ones that complement the home’s style. Upgrade the mailbox. Camouflage eyesores (like a clunky HVAC unit) with fencing. Replace the doormat with one that welcomes visitors into your home.

If you splurge a little on some landscaping—refreshing mulch, trimming shrubs, planting seasonal, colorful plants—you could well see an ROI of 100% or more. Overall, this worthwhile investment will net you about a 90% ROI.


Projects to Showcase Your Home

Lighten up

If you’ve got an older home that lacks ceiling lights, it’s worthwhile to add a few, especially to living, family, dining, and bedrooms. Brighten up kitchen and bathroom spaces with recessed lighting. Use dimmer switches or install a few smart technology switches.

Living room updates

Declutter and depersonalize, moving extra furniture, knick-knacks, pictures and other personal items to storage. Pull up old carpets and replace with a few area rugs to add color and warmth. Spruce up the walls with a fresh coat of paint, add a couple of lamps and light window treatments and voila! You’ve created a welcoming space that’s sure to impress.

Bedroom updates

Repaint bedroom walls, too, and cover-up hardwood floors with soft, inviting area rugs to create a sanctuary perfect for relaxing and sleeping. Move extra furniture and clothing to storage and you’ll increase that spacious feeling and highlight the storage.

Avoid these “investments”

When you’ve got limited funds—or time—you may need to pick and choose which big projects to tackle and fund. Many experts think that experts these projects aren’t a solid investment of your time or money:

  • Unless you live in a rural location or an area of the country where you lose power regularly or for long durations because bad weather, don’t bother with a backup generator. Generally, they don’t add much resale value to homes.
  • Renovations and remodels bring a greater ROI to bathrooms and master bedroom suites than do additions.
  • Generally, home office renovations aren’t something high on most buyers’ “needs lists.” The resale value they add is typically lower than 50% ROI.
  • Sometimes, it’s cost-effective to replace and update windows with better-insulated versions.  You can net up to a 74% ROI, but it depends on where you live, the market, and other variables.

Depending on your budget, and what your realtor recommends, these projects will help you to prepare your home for market and wow potential buyers. According to Remodeling editor, Craig Webb, “[2018’s] most expensive projects didn’t have much of a gain. I think it’s because real estate professionals think we’re getting close to a peak in market prices. So consequently, spending a lot of money does not automatically mean your house will just ride the escalator up and be worth a lot more.”

The moral of this story? Do your “home-work,” determine your budget, plan your timeline, and choose wisely!

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