Written by Jon Long on June 1st, 2021
We all love to be homeowners. Sure, there are headaches – repairs, hours of upkeep, unexpected expenses – but it’s all worth it to have a home you love.
It can be a tough decision to sell. If you are thinking of making the leap and putting your home on the market, you want it to be worthwhile. One of your biggest concerns will be how to get the best return on your investment. Improvements to increase home values are a great idea!
There is a lot more to think about besides the cost of a remodel or upgrade, and it is not so easy to determine an exact return on investment from just one renovation project. An experienced local real estate agent can give you the best advice and help you to compare your home to the houses available in your current market. You will need some help to look at sales for homes with upgraded bathrooms versus homes without, upgraded kitchens versus non, or maybe remodeled bathrooms but outdated kitchens.
There are many variables, and it’s certainly not an exact science. The best upgrades and improvements are the ones that cost the least and create the most significant impact. You can rely on the experience and knowledge of your local real estate agent to help you to strike the balance you need to optimize the sale of your home!
Flooring is one of the least costly things you can do to remodel your home that has a big impact. Here we will look at carpet, vinyl and laminate flooring, hardwood flooring and wood tile. You have many options, and you will need to consider how potential buyers will view your home.
Upgrades to increase home values are vital when getting ready to put your home on the market. One of the most straightforward changes you can make to your home is to replace the carpeting. But first, consider the advantages and disadvantages of carpeting. It provides a sense of warmth and comfort, but it can be more challenging to maintain than options like wood or vinyl. Carpet is an attractive choice, especially for places like the living room.
Many homeowners spend $1200 – 1400 for a 16’ X 16’ room, but keep in mind that costs vary widely depending on the carpeting you choose, the cost of installation, and whether or not you have carpeted steps (or other hard to carpet areas).
Some rooms are just not meant to be carpeted, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Some options will work better for those spaces, such as laminate or tile.
Modern vinyl flooring is considered a low-budget but attractive choice and can be a step up from carpeting. Do-it-yourselfers might be drawn to self-adhesive vinyl tiles, ranging in price from $.50 – 1.00 per square foot.
Glue-down vinyl is more expensive, from $2 – 3 per square foot for materials. The cost of luxury vinyl planks can be in the $5 per square foot range. The extra costs can be worth it, as luxury vinyl can feature a waterproof core and a thicker wear layer.
Labor costs can be $2 – 4 per square foot, though some contractors will charge by the hour.
Vinyl and laminate flooring costs are similar – and both are less expensive than hardwood or ceramic tile. Most laminate flooring will cost around $1 – 5 per square foot. It all depends on the thickness of the materials and the design styles you choose.
The warmth and endurance of hardwood floors make it an obvious choice. The average cost to install hardwood ranges from $6 – 11 per square foot at the low end and from $12 – 23 per square foot at the higher end. These costs are for both materials and installation (including finishing, trim and removing your old floor).
Another choice is tile flooring that looks like wood. Porcelain and ceramic tile are durable and versatile. Ceramic costs $2 – 8 per square foot, and porcelain can run $4 – 12 per square foot.
Paint is another of the least expensive options with a significant impact -- most people underestimate the boost this can bring to the overall look of a home.
Paint opens so many creative options to increase your home’s curb appeal and the impact of the interior, and it is relatively inexpensive.
Take a look at the outside of your home first. When a home buyer sees paint issues, they might be concerned that there are problems with the house’s siding. Before painting, make sure to replace any exterior wood that’s damaged or worn. If you have a stucco exterior, repair any chipped areas. Taking care of exterior issues will help create a terrific first impression.
Also, make sure to choose a color that helps your house fit in with your neighborhood. Try to stick with colors found in nature – blue, light green, tan, gray and white are the most common choices for exterior paint. Painting your front door can add instant value.
Make sure your design choices consider the buyer’s eye more than your own. Interior colors are best kept neutral, with white, tan and gray helping your home look clean and open. Neutral tones will help prospective buyers to imagine bringing their own design sense once the home is theirs.
Remodeling to increase your home’s value is such a great idea! Looking at the bath areas means costs will be higher, but it really depends on how much you feel needs to be changed. If the cabinets are in good shape, they may just need a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.
“Improving America’s Housing 2021,” a report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, reports that a minor bathroom remodel has an average cost of $3567. A major bathroom overhaul averaged a cost of $23,557 – we assume that this cost would include replacing cabinets, the tub and/or shower and other fixtures.
Suppose the bathroom cabinets are in bad shape. In that case, you could replace them with a pre-made vanity, which contains a sink and faucet enclosed by a cupboard to conceal the plumbing. Some also feature a mirror and cabinet above the sink. Pre-made vanities cost $1500 on average, and installation could run $200 – 1000 per vanity.
If your budget is on the lower end and your bathroom countertops are in good condition, you can save some money by just freshening up the bathroom where needed. Make sure to replace any chipped or cracked tiles. You may be able to reglaze your countertop if it is tile or laminate.
With a larger budget, consider adding a stone countertop. Today’s buyers prefer quartz, which is more moisture-resistant than granite. The cost of quartz is $80 – 140 per square foot with installation.
The bathroom mirror is one component that can look dated, so replacing it is an easy and affordable way to modernize the bathroom. Other features that you can bring up to date include towel racks and lighting fixtures. Stick with the most classic items possible.
Consider whether your bathtub and shower need to be replaced. If they are in good condition, you can save money by updating them where needed. Be sure to replace any cracked or broken tiles. If you’re working with a lower budget, you could consider having the tub and shower reglazed. It is a lower-cost way to make them look fresh and new.
The kitchen is considered the most essential part of the home, and upgrades to the kitchen are among the most expensive you will need to consider. Many of the same cost-saving ideas we covered for the bathroom will also apply to your kitchen. A transformation in the kitchen can enhance your prospects in attracting a buyer!
Kitchen cabinets are a significant source of your kitchen’s appeal. If yours are already in good shape, you can save money by transforming them with just a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware. The average cost to paint cabinets is $3 – 10 per square foot, including materials and professional labor. Painting contractors charge $50 – 100 per cabinet door, $120 – 170 per cabinet and $20 – 30 per drawer.
Looking again at the Harvard report, we find that a minor kitchen spruce-up costs an average of $6329. A major facelift, on the other hand, costs an average of $42,816.
If your cabinets do need to be replaced, consider some low-budget options with features like soft-close hinges for the cabinet doors. With this type of hinge, the drawers never slam shut. It’s an inexpensive way to make your kitchen posher. Adding crown molding at the top of your cabinets is another low-cost feature that can take your kitchen from “blah” to “wow!”
Replacing the cabinets is always a possibility, of course. New kitchen cabinets are a big-ticket item, with a national average cost of around $6000.
If your budget is low and your countertops are in good condition, you can save money by just making a few updates, if needed. If your kitchen features tile, make sure to replace any chipped or cracked tiles. You might want to consider reglazing the countertop if it is tile or laminate. If your budget allows, it is best to add a stone countertop. Today’s buyers prefer quartz countertops, especially in the kitchen.
Quartz countertops cost from $80 – 140 per square foot with installation. As quartz has become more popular and widely available, the costs of basic countertops have fallen.
Replace old light fixtures with new, classic choices. You will want to make sure there is plenty of light, and if your budget allows, recessed lighting is a terrific choice in the kitchen.
If your appliances are showing their age, it is best to find newer ones to replace them. Select appliances that coordinate with the colors you choose for your cabinets and countertops.
Prices for new appliances can vary widely, depending on brand and features. Major appliance manufacturers offer packages that include refrigerator, dishwasher, range and over-the-range microwave for around $2000 – 2500. You could also get free delivery, free installation and free recycling of your old appliances with these types of packages.
And Another Thing…
When it comes to adding another bedroom or a bathroom, it really depends on the area you live in and the comparable sales. In most cases, an addition would not be recommended to sell your home. The report by Harvard revealed that the average cost of adding a room to the home was $24,352.
If your home does not have a true master bedroom, sometimes adding a bathroom to one of the bedrooms may help to make your home stand out compared to the competition. The average cost of a bathroom addition was $13,706.
Suppose your home is the smallest home on the block and your budget is significant. In that case, it may make sense to add another bedroom as long as you don’t take away from the usability of the yard. Again, it all depends on comparable sales, and adding on to your house may not always be the best choice.
Once you have made the monumental decision to put your home on the market, you have a lot of decisions ahead. Improvements to increase home value will be high on your list. Changes to the flooring can add warmth to certain rooms and make others more versatile. Updates with paint can add a lot of curb appeal to bring buyers in and then impress them with your home’s openness and calm. A sense of modernity can be conveyed with changes to the bath areas, and bringing a new focus to the kitchen can give your home a more inviting and hospitable feel. With a lot of help from your realtor, you can determine which investments will provide the best return, adding more value to help make the sale.