Whether you’re looking to sell your home soon or just want to be smart about the ways you invest in it, knowing what upgrades have the best payoff is important. Nobody has to tell you that there are endless ways to spend money on a property, from knocking down walls to replacing floors to adding new windows, so thinking through them can be tough. How are you supposed to choose? Where should you start? To help make the decision easier, here’s a look at five of the most low-cost, big-impact improvements that can increase your home’s value. When you want to invest in your property for the long haul— or for a fast sale— here are some good places to start.
- Replace the Front Door: Believe it or not, replacing your front entry with a steel door is one of the best investments, at least in terms of resale value, you can make in your home. According to Remodeling Magazine, there was an average 95.6 percent of costs recouped for homeowners who replaced their front door in 2014, making it the best cost-versus-value upgrade for the year. And since swapping out the front door usually costs just over $1,000, it’s not an unbearable change for the pocketbook, either.
- Paint: Fresh paint makes a home feel fresh and new— exactly what buyers want to find. So pick a neutral color that is calm and soothing and paint fresh coats throughout the main living areas and bedrooms. This upgrade won’t break the bank, especially if you do the work yourself, yet it will go a long way toward making your home more attractive. What’s more, even if you aren’t planning to move any time soon, fresh paint can give you a bright and new feeling in your living spaces.
- Make Strategic Kitchen Upgrades: In today’s real estate markets, kitchens are hot. Buyers want beautiful kitchens and are often willing to pay for it. To make upgrading your cooking space an affordable improvement, focus on budget-friendly changes like replacing the sink faucet, upgrading cabinet hardware, updating old light fixtures and finding low-cost ways to make the entire space feel clean and cohesive. Another tip is that buyers like appliances to match. To avoid totally replacing appliances (and shelling out a bundle in the process), try ordering new doors or face panels for them.
- Say Goodbye to Ugly Bathrooms: Anything you can do to modernize your bathrooms is a step in the right direction, value-wise. So rather than investing tens of thousands of dollars in full remodels, try instead to make small but significant changes like swapping out a cabinet sink with a pedestal one or regrouting dingy tile. Other ideas: replace the toilet seat, lay new floors over old ones or replace tired showers and tubs with upgraded options.
- Get Out the Green Thumb: Curb appeal is important because it sets the first impression of your home to potential buyers. Take proper care of your landscaping by mowing the lawn, tending to flowers and taking care of your walkways. For small improvements with a lot of impact potential, consider adding new sod, new shrubs or colorful plants and flowers. Even if you have to pay a landscaper to make some changes, the payoff in wow factor could be worth it.
The fact is, making some simple, smart improvements to your home can reap big rewards, now and in the future, when the day comes that you decide to sell. So use the five ideas listed above as a starting place for where it’s worthwhile to put your dollars to see good returns. It may make all the difference in how you enjoy your home, not to mention how quickly it can go off the market!
Lindsey Schroeder is the voice behind Chicago’s home remodeling company, Archway Construction. She is in charge of their blogs and social media accounts. She also loves working with homeowners ensuring their remodeling projects are a great investment while changing the look and feel of their home.