Piggy backing off of last week’s post, we wanted to talk about specific, smart fixes that you can do to give a little more bang for your buck when renovating with the intent of adding value to your home.

We know that upgrading your home can potentially cost a lot of money, so it’s time to be smart about those upgrades. The key word here is: smart. Always be patient and do your research anytime you are thinking about doing renovations. Make a plan, decide on your desired outcome, then do your research or talk to your real estate agent to see what sort of return these improvements may bring. Some improvements will add more value to your home than others, and a lot will be based on the homes in your area (the comps).

As mentioned in last week’s post, updating your kitchen is the most important room. Below are five more ideas that will considerably boost the value of your home if done smart:

Freshen Up The Bath

Simply looking at a dirty, old bathroom will make a buyer cringe. You should do everything to ensure that your bathrooms aren’t just clean and well-maintained, but also modern. No matter how clean they are, a dated bathroom will only make a potential buyer envision 20+ years of people using that bathroom before them. The cost of renovating a bathroom can range from $300 – $1000+ depending on what you do, and the potential return is generally 2-3%. According to ConsumerReport, 42% of real estate professionals said that the bathroom is one of the most important rooms of the home to have in good shape. Some bathroom tips to consider are to install new bathroom fixtures, especially if the old handles are corroded, or update the mirror and lighting to make the space look brighter. If you can afford more substantial upgrades, you might be able to add a new floor and vanity countertop for less than $1000. Adding new toilets is also smart because it adds a clean, modern touch, but can make your house more water-efficient.

Paint, Paint, Paint

One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements is paint. Freshly painted rooms not only smell clean and fresh, but they add instant value to your home. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that usually neutral colors are the best way to go. Whites, off-whites, grays, and beige are all reliable. According to Kim Parten, most people don’t have a vision of what a room can look like. You don’t want to be known as the house with the green room! This doesn’t mean that you have to repaint every room in the house, but it probability makes sense to redo a couple rooms and hit others with a Magic Eraser. On average, a gallon of paint costs $25, leaving plenty of room to buy painter’s tape and brushes. Ranging from $100 (if you do it yourself) to $1,000 (if done by a pro), you’ll get a 1-3% return. So buy a few gallons and get busy!

Create Space

Want to get bold with your improvements? Take that 1980’s boxy home and modernize it by knocking out a non-structural wall to create an open floor plan. Anything that opens up space will help create a sense of flow and airiness in the house. Buyers today are requesting open floor plans for various reasons, but if kids are in the equation, open floor plans rise to the top of the list so parents can keep tabs on kids from different areas of the house. Ripping out a wall can get complicated if anything pertaining to electrical, plumbing, or HVAC is involved, or it is a load-bearing wall. For any of those scenarios, it’s recommended to contact a professional. To knock out a wall or partition that really has no purpose being there, pick up a good sledge hammer, some drywall, paint, and flooring supplies to fill in the empty space, and you’re in business for, most likely, a price of only a few hundred dollars. The return on having an open floor plan is simple – it can instantly take your home from a “no” to a “yes” in the eyes of many buyers.

Think Green

Are the old appliances in your kitchen or laundry room an eyesore? Instead of simply replacing them with standard appliances, go one step farther and choose energy-efficient models. Potential buys are often looking for ways to save money in their new house, and Energy Star-rated appliances are a simple marketing tool that can very quickly attract those buyers’ attention. Check out Money Crashers to find when the best times to upgrade your appliances to save energy are. Take your energy-efficiency to the next level by adding energy-efficient windows as well. Energy Star claims that Energy Star-rated windows can save a home-owner up to $500 a year in heating and cooling costs. I think potential home buyers would love to hear that…

Don’t Forget About The Exterior

Unless you have a landscaper on staff or are a masterful lawn care expert, you should never sell your home without sprucing up its exterior. Let’s start with the basics: keep the lawn freshly mowed, trim all of the shrubs, apply fresh mulch to all mulched areas, and try to maintain any flowers or planters with fresh, vibrant plants. Beyond those absolute necessities, it would also be highly beneficial to give your house a good power washing. After the minor touchups and a good wash, follow that with any necessary paint touch-ups to siding, trim, or other areas as needed. It might be worth repainting the door as well, depending on your budget. Diving deeper, it is obviously a very important that your house have a roof that is in good shape. If your roof is rough and you do choose to replace it, it won’t be for naught. Having a new roof (with a warranty) will add significant returns to the value of your home. The key part of that is the warranty – the new owners will love you for it.

Well…what are you waiting for? Start upgrading!

Until next time…keep it real!