When preparing your home to sell, the to-do list can seem never-ending. Beyond making necessary repairs and getting the house clean and decluttered, there’s also the question of which home improvements to make. Getting top dollar for your property often means making an investment in updates and functionality. But how do you know which renovations will reap the biggest return?

Real estate experts have studied which areas of the home get more bang for the buck, as proven by appraisal value and buyer desirability. The clear winners are: the exterior for curb appeal, kitchens, and bathrooms. Depending on your home’s starting point, many improvements can be done on reasonable budgets.

The Exterior

A home that looks well-maintained on the outside creates a positive feeling about what a buyer will see on the inside. No doubt, the yard and condition of the front of the home will make a first impression that can make or break whether a buyer even sets foot inside. A recent study in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics showed that homes with curb appeal sell for 7% more than similar properties in the same locale with poor exteriors. Here are suggestions for improving curb appeal without spending a lot:

∙ Apply a fresh coat of paint.
∙ Repair walkways, driveway, or garage.
∙ Mulch around trees, bushes, and flower beds.
∙ Trim, mow, and edge every bit of landscape for a crisp, clean, maintained appearance.
∙ Add color accents on the front door or porch with décor and flowers.


Interior designers estimate that mid- to upscale bathroom remodels recoup close to 60% of investment. Here are some bathroom freshening tips to add style and modernization:

∙ Repaint in a light or neutral color.
∙ Update faucet fixtures, ensuring a match with shower and tub.
∙ Stick to a monochrome palette overall.
∙ Update vanity light fixtures.
∙ Replace an old cabinet for a newer one.
∙ Add shelving above a toilet or below a sink.
∙ Re-caulk tub and shower.


Design experts estimate that full kitchen remodels offer about 77% return on investment. Full kitchen remodels can be among the most costly in the home. People who tackle this endeavor usually plan to enjoy the fruits of labor and cost for several years at least. If you’re moving, you may decide to stick to one or several improvements.

∙ An alternative to full cabinet replacement is exchanging the doors for new colored ones and refinishing the boxes to match.
∙ Replace drawer and cabinet hardware with a modern style or new color.
∙ Add a backsplash.
∙ Upgrade countertops with quartz or granite. You can upgrade an island alone as long as the new material and color complement the rest of the countertop space.

Because the kitchen is considered the heart of the home, ensure you get as much natural light in your kitchen as possible. If the lighting doesn’t feel right (natural or artificial), consider hiring a lighting expert to help create a brighter, welcoming feel for such an important room.

Home improvements for the purpose of selling can help achieve top dollar for your home. Your goal is to spend enough to create value for the greatest number of potential buyers rather than overspend on features that only a select few appreciate. Keep updates modern, clean, and non-polarizing.

Real Estate Term of the Week

Mechanicals: The systems inside the walls and ceilings such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC that essentially power the home.

Platinum Service Realty