Improvements to make your home more marketable when you’re ready to sell

By Benjamin Szweda

AAA World Article

Even if you haven’t yet found your forever home, you can still make renovations to your current house so it suits you better now—and will make it more marketable when you’re ready to sell.

Cleveland-based realtor Tim Brown advises that kitchens and baths are the best renovations to undertake to add value to a home. 

However, the cost for a complete renovation of a kitchen can easily reach $30,000—or much more if you choose pricey finishes, fixtures, and appliances. If you don’t have that much to spend on one project, or you’d rather spread your budget across multiple spaces, there are smaller projects that can still add value to your home.

Research done by Remodeling Magazine suggests that it’s easier to recoup the cost of a minor upgrade than a major one. Depending on the location of your renovation and the details of your project, you might recover 80% of your remodeling expenses when you go to sell.

New faucets and lighting are easy upgrades to make. For changes a bit more intensive but shy of a full kitchen remodel, try updating the backsplash tiles, replacing flooring, or refinishing cabinets.

Brown recommends choosing “whites and gray schemes for cabinetry.” And, for added pop, making “the center island another color, such as a dark blue or even stained dark woods.” For a backsplash upgrade, Brown adds, “subway tiles with dark grout are always a plus, as are gold drawer and cabinet pulls.”

Throughout the home, Brown recommended “replacing carpeting with hardwood or wood laminate.” Instead of a complete bathroom redo, consider replacing shower and sink fixtures, lighting, tile or flooring. Swapping in a new vanity—a double vanity if you have space—is also a smart change that adds value.

Regardless of the renovation you’re undertaking, Brown warns against making highly personalized changes, noting that if the updates you make are really trendy “that it could be overdone and look dated in time.”

Unless you plan to sell before the current trends fade away, “don’t be so taste-specific that it hurts. Try to stay neutral” in color and design selections. For additional ideas, view pictures of homes that just sold in your neighborhood or ask a local realtor what they see on local buyers’ wish lists.