Woman choosing new faucet at home improvement store.

Your Quick Guide To Home Renovations That Buyers Love

Morgan McBride6-minute read
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2023

Don’t place that “For Sale” sign out in your yard just yet. Making a few home renovations before putting your house on the market could increase how much you end up selling your home for.

But, at the same time, you don’t want to go wild with the renovation budget. There are a lot of renovations that will not pay for themselves when you go to sell your home. But a few home renovations might help your home sell faster and for a higher price. Read on to discover some home improvements and home renovations that add value.

Home Renovations That Add Value: What To Consider

Many major home renovation projects result in little to no return on investment. In fact, many homeowners end up losing money on major overhauls like expanding a deck. The deck might be bigger and nicer, but, to a new buyer, it might still just look like a deck. If you are selling, there are a few home renovation projects that can possibly help you get more money for your home or, in the least, make it more marketable and help it to sell faster. From front yard landscaping ideas to tips on how to insulate an attic, we’ll help you increase your home value on a budget.

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Best Renovations To Sell Your Home

Making a few renovations before putting your house on the market could increase how much you end up selling your home for. There are a few popular renovations that might increase a home’s appeal with potential home buyers.

The reason for this is that many buyers don’t want to, or can’t afford to, buy a house and then put a lot of money into it for major renovations. Many people want to move into a house and have it be ready to live in as is. Or, buyers will be using all of their cash on hand for the down payment and would rather finance your renovations in the mortgage versus needing a large sum of money right after buying the home.

Home Buyers Love Kitchen Renovations

Kitchen renovations can get expensive, quickly. But, it is true that a dated kitchen will turn a lot of potential buyers off. Making updates in your kitchen can make the home look fresh, modern and well-maintained. Here are a few things that are easy to change in your kitchen before listing it for sale:

  • Replace Countertops ($1,000 – $10,000)
  • Paint kitchen cabinets ($50 – $500)
  • Add a backsplash ($250 – $1,000)
  • Update dishwasher or other appliances ($1,000 – $10,000)
  • Replace knobs or handles ($50 – $150)

However, when making updates to your kitchen, make sure you make choices that are pleasing to a large group of people and not ones that are very specific. Choosing highly specific countertops might put off some buyers, just as high-dollar countertops might not provide the full return on what you can up your price for. General upgrades are going to provide the best return for dollar value and sellability.

Living Space Makeovers Can Catch Buyers’ Interest

You could also complete renovations for the living spaces in your house. In general, living rooms don’t need anything fancy, but you want them to feel modern, fresh and get rid of anything that is dating the space. Simple renovations for dining rooms and living rooms include:

  • Painting the walls ($50 – $150)
  • Replacing flooring ($500 – $2,500)
  • Updating light fixtures ($100 – $500)

If you are about to sell your home, most living spaces would benefit greatly from a purge of your personal items and a deep clean. Getting rid of stuff (even moving it to storage for the duration of home tours) can make a space feel larger and cleaner, for free.

Landscaping Can Boost Curb Appeal

The front of your house displays its age and how you care for the home. If you haven’t power-washed the siding or trimmed the trees in years, then you will be pleasantly surprised by how new your home looks when you do.

Potential buyers start judging your home the second they pull up, so you’ll want to make sure your yard looks its best. Landscaping yard upgrades can really help to draw buyers in!

To boost your home’s curb appeal on a budget, here are a few ideas:

  • Install garden bed borders ($25 – $50)
  • Add fresh mulch and flowering plants ($20 – $100)
  • Reseed grass and trim shrubbery ($25 – $50)
  • Power-wash siding and walkways ($200 – $300)
  • Edge your lawn along walkways and the driveway ($0)

As for the backyard, it might not be the first thing buyers look at, but it’s a safe bet that an overgrown jungle won’t make a positive impression. In addition to pruning trees and shrubs, consider these backyard landscaping ideas before you plan to show your home:

  • Add a planter box or two to your patio ($50 – $100)
  • Brighten things up with a few tiki torches or lanterns along walkways ($50 – $100)
  • Freshen up your deck with a new coat of paint or sealer ($50 – $100)
  • Edge and mow grass along all fences and nonmoving fixtures ($0)

Win Buyers Over With A Bathroom Remodel

Minor bathroom upgrades can go a long way. No need to get out the sledgehammer or uproot the plumbing; just focus on affordable, easy-to-make updates to rejuvenate the room. Here are a few bathroom remodel ideas you can tackle on your own:

  • Trade up for a new faucet and showerhead ($200 – $500)
  • Replace outdated fixtures ($50 – $200)
  • Remove old bathtub caulk and apply a fresh layer ($5 – $10)
  • Install a wall-mounted magnifying mirror ($100 – $200)

Remember, it’s usually wise to focus on small bathroom remodeling ideas instead of any major transformations. Once you start rearranging the pipes or ripping out tiles, your return on investment is likely to drop drastically.

Home Buyers Want Efficiency Upgrades

There are a few home efficiency upgrades which can improve home resale value. These might be invisible, but many home buyers will love them once they hear about them:

  • ENERGY STAR® appliances ($2,000 – $10,000)
  • Energy-efficient windows ($500 – $1,000 per window)
  • Updated insulation ($3,000 – $10,000)
  • Sealed ducts ($1,500 – $2000)

Other Interior Design Ideas To Increase Your Home’s Value

Walk around your home with a neutral eye. Does anything draw attention in a negative way? Is there something that feels particularly dated, cluttered or even ugly? If you see it, so will buyers. Focusing on getting rid of any eyesores can go a big way toward making your home more appealing to buyers. An easy thing to think about fixing is anything that has been bothering you for a long time. And an easy thing to remove is anything you aren’t even planning to take with you to the new home.

Ways To Pay For Home Renovation Ideas

Renovations can be expensive. There are a few ways to pay for them.

Home Renovation Loan

If you need a loan to cover the renovations, you can consider home improvement loans or refinancing. Your ability to refinance may depend on the amount of equity that you currently have in your home. Consult with your lender to find out which options are best for you.

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The DIY Route

You can always try to do DIY renovations to save money. If you provide the labor, you will only need to pay for materials and tools. Beware of any permitting or licensing issues for larger renovations in your city that may require a contractor.

Paying Cash

Of course, you can always pay cash for a home renovation. This has the big benefit of being paid for all at once and not owing any interest. However, you can only pay with cash if you have the savings to cover it! Then, you will make your money back when you sell the home without having to lose interest on a loan.

Home Renovation FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about home renovations.

What costs the most when renovating a house?

Typically, you are going to spend the most money when you start changing the floor plan of your home. Moving walls, electrical and plumbing can require specialists or even permits and frequently come at a high cost.

Is it cheaper to buy or renovate a house?

It is almost always cheaper to renovate a home than to buy one that is “move in ready”. This will of course depend on the quality of materials used and if you are able to do any of the renovation yourself, versus having to hire contractors.

How do I start renovating my house?

First, you will want to come up with a general plan of what you want to do with your home and a total budget for the project. Then, you can do research or speak to experts to see if you can get what you want for your budget. If not, it’s time to reassess!

The Bottom Line: Good Home Renovation Ideas Can Help Homes Sell

Getting ready to sell your home can be a stressful process. By focusing on smaller renovations, you are more likely to get a return on your investment and sell your home quickly. Be sure to visit the Rocket HomesSM Home Seller’s Guide for more ideas.

Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.