If you’ve lived in your home for at least a few years, you’ve probably built up some decent equity. In other words, the value of your home today is worth more than what you originally purchased it for. A rising real estate market lifts your home’s value, but it doesn’t maximize it. That part is up to you.
To get the most out of your home when you list it, you need to make the right improvements and work hard to maximize your return on investment (ROI). In this article, we’ll review three home improvement projects—kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovation, and backyard changes—that can help you get top dollar for your home when you list.
Remodel your kitchen
When most people hear the word “remodel,” their mind immediately pictures a kitchen. It’s the most popular type of home remodeling project, and there’s a good reason for that. Everyone loves new kitchens—including homebuyers. If you’re thinking about listing your home in the near future, there’s nothing better you can do to improve your home’s value and attractiveness.
Every kitchen remodel should start with new cabinets and countertops. Invest in high-quality materials: these two elements of the project are going to make-or-break the value you get out of your remodel. You don’t want shoddy cabinets or low-grade countertops anchoring your new kitchen. For your countertops, go with granite or quartz. Granite countertops, in particular, have the right mix of durability, beauty, and wide-ranging appeal. Find the right counters and cabinets, and your home will be irresistible to buyers.
To maximize your kitchen remodeling ROI, don’t lose sight of the little things. Take the time to pick out the right lighting, backsplash, and door handles. Take a step back and look at your kitchen from a practical perspective: what would help the buyer picture themselves cooking in this kitchen? It’s not all about aesthetics. Installing in-cabinet organization—such as pull-outs for storing pots and pans—can really sell the right buyer on your kitchen and your home.
Rethink your bathroom
Just like kitchen renovations, bathroom remodels have a relatively high ROI. For every dollar that gets invested into a master bathroom project, the average U.S. homeowner eventually gets about 80 cents back. But, that’s just the average. Many homeowners end up getting more out of their bathroom remodel than they initially invested! By prioritizing the right things in your remodel, you can maximize your ROI and your home’s value.
What should your priorities be? Again, it helps to think of the space from a practical point-of-view. Most people appreciate clean, simple, and modern bathrooms. They don’t necessarily need frills or extras—they need a bathroom they can picture themselves using every single day. In other words, skip the jet-filled jacuzzi tub and instead invest your money into a nice shower and durable bathroom vanity. If you focus on utility over luxury, you’ll cut down on your project overhead and get more out of your home when you sell.
Another way to keep costs down? Keep your current layout. Most bathroom remodeling budgets balloon when homeowners want to move walls or fixtures, which often means moving plumbing or electrical. Unlike kitchens—where “open concept” layouts are increasingly trendy—very few buyers are clamoring for a larger bathroom, especially if it comes at the expense of closet or bedroom space. That being said, every home is different. You should talk to your realtor to get their opinion on the current viability of your master bathroom.
Transform your backyard
Here in the Valley, we enjoy beautiful fall, winter, and spring weather. People want to be outside. Accordingly, many homebuyers want a backyard that they can picture themselves using and enjoying. If your backyard needs a little work, putting the time, effort, and money into revitalizing it could make your home a lot more attractive to prospective buyers.
Don’t go overboard. You probably won’t see a great ROI from the massive upfront investment that comes with installing a new pool—at least not right away. Instead, focus on other, less costly improvements. A built-in grill and food prep area is perfect for any buyer who loves entertaining on the patio. A firepit is a great place for families to spend time on chilly fall nights. Just installing a pergola and shade trees can transform your backyard from a sun-drenched patch of dirt to a verdant oasis. Your options here are nearly endless!
If you’re starting to put together your home improvement plans, there’s one person you should talk to before you kick things off: your realtor. As it turns out, realtors are a lot more than just people who fill out paperwork. They’re experts when it comes to local homes and what gets top dollar in your neighborhood. After all, every market, community, and home is different. They’ll be able to give you a personalized recommendation for yours, and help you prepare your home for listing.