Which home improvement projects should you do?

If you’re thinking about listing your home within the next year, you might want to know which home improvement projects to tackle first and which have the best return.

If you’re like most sellers, you already have several repairs just waiting for this moment, and those tasks are first priority. Then, there’s another layer of projects that can really kick up the competitive power of your home, making it sell faster and for more money.

I consulted the ultimate annual authority, the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report to pull together the numbers. In drilling down, I discovered that most of the projects with the greatest return on their cost—here in the Atlanta market—also increase your curb appeal, which is especially important if you’re targeting the Millennial buyer.

As a seller, you may not be excited about spending money on a home that will no longer be yours. But, these projects will give you the biggest bang for your buck and don’t cost an arm and a leg:

  1. Attic Insulation – It’s not pretty and will not elicit any ‘oh’s and ‘ah’s when buyers tour your home, but with the emphasis on energy efficiency, especially for many of the older homes in our area, this small investment will pay back an average of 105% at sale, essentially increasing the value of your home. The average cost to blow some insulation in your attic in the Atlanta area is $1,249 but you can expect it to increase the value of your home by $1,313. Worth it, right?
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer – I know it sounds expensive and time consuming, but if you can swing it, the look of some stone on the exterior of your home, primarily on the lower half of your home’s street-facing façade, will greatly increase your curb appeal and you’ll get back about 99.7% of the cost at sale. The average cost of this job is $7,536.
  3. Garage Door Replacement – Having a nice looking, updated, well-working garage door will pay you back at sales. Sellers in Atlanta will recoup 93% of the cost of buying, installing and painting a new garage door. The average cost of this project is a cool $1,680.
  4. Entry Door Replacement – I’m so glad to see this one because an inviting entryway is extremely important in creating a great first impression. Whatever you spend to get a nice new front door will come back to you, with at least 75-84% of the cost at sale.
  5. Minor Kitchen Remodel – Spending some time and money to update your kitchen is a good idea, but there’s no need to gut and replace everything. In fact, according to this report, you’ll get the highest return (78%) by doing the following: replace cabinet fronts, including hardware; replace appliances with energy efficient models; replace laminate countertops; install a nice sink and faucet; give it a fresh coat of paint and replace the flooring. Viola, you’re done! But, yes it’s the priciest project with an average price tag of $19,936.

And finally, even though I don’t have data on this, I always recommend a fresh coat of paint on the interior too, especially if the paint job is more than a few years old.

So, if you’re planning to put your house on the market, consider starting a few of these projects now in order to crank up the selling power of your home and get top dollar. Of course, I’m happy to discuss all these options with you, so, contact me today.

Cheers to successful selling!

© 2016 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.