16 Home Improvements to Boost Value in 2024 (+ 5 to Avoid)

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By Jon Stubbs Updated June 25, 2024
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Reviewed by Steve Nicastro Edited by Katy Byrom


Making strategic improvements before listing your home can attract more interest, speed up the sale, and net a higher price. While some renovations offer high returns, others may not be worth the investment. Our guide helps you decide which home improvements make sense based on your budget, home condition, and sale goals.

Top renovationsEstimated costROI
Replace garage door$4,513194%
Steel entry door$2,355188%
Stone veneer siding$11,287153%
Fresh paint$3,000152%
Show more

✍️ Why you should trust us

Countless generalized "high-return home improvement" guides pull from the same national averages databases. But averages can be misleading. The improvements and upgrades that make sense for you often depend on your home, market, and priorities.

That's why we draw from multiple sources — including surveys of recent home buyers and sellers, various data sources on home improvement costs vs. the estimated return on investment, and expert opinions from leading realtors across the country — to help you make an informed decision on which home improvements will be worth your investment.

Best home improvements for adding curb appeal

The first thing potential buyers will see is your home's exterior. Great curb appeal can capture their attention even if they're just browsing online listings. But if your home's exterior creates the wrong impression, winning back buyers once they're in the home is an uphill battle.

Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs, says, “Any extra money should go straight into landscaping, whether adding a single small flower bed or a major outdoor feature like a patio.”

These low-maintenance, high-impact improvements are energy efficient, customizable, and great for curb appeal or seller sheets. They give the home a refreshed look both current and future homeowners will enjoy.

1. Upgrade your siding

  • Average cost: $17,410–20,619 | Estimated value added: $13,957–18,230
  • 80.2%–88.4% return on investment

Based on 1,200 square feet

Siding is an easy, high-ROI way to shape your house's look. It's also highly customizable to match any aesthetic or budget.

  • Vinyl siding is durable, low-maintenance, easy to clean, and inexpensive.
  • Fiber cement siding is more expensive than vinyl, but it lasts up to 50 years and has options that closely resemble natural wood.
  • 💰BONUS: Manufactured stone veneer gives your home a rustic, realistic stone façade much less expensive than natural stone. It's also long-lasting, durable, and water-resistant, offering the highest ROI: 153.2% for 300 square feet.

2. Update your landscape

  • Average cost: $4,650 | Estimated value added: $3,325
  • 71.5% return on investment

Based on the cost to upgrade walkway, flower bed, and shrubs

Multiple experts said landscaping should be at the top of your list because it draws in potential buyers and is a DIY-friendly upgrade that can save you money.

  • Walkway upgrades can include simple concrete pavers, stepping stones, or a fully-poured concrete sidewalk
  • Custom-designed landscapes highlight the best features of your home’s exterior
  • 💰BONUS: Minimal landscaping can add thousands to your home’s value. Spreading 3 cubic yards of fresh mulch has an average 536% ROI with nearly $1,500 value added.

3. Install new vinyl windows

  • Average cost: $21,264 | Estimated value added: $14,270
  • 67.1% return on investment

Based on 10 3-by-5-foot windows

New vinyl windows increase your energy efficiency and can last over 20 years. They're easy to clean and can be made in custom colors to match the existing exterior.

Your contractor will probably be able to replace windows without disturbing the existing trim or windowsill inside, so your home can be ready to tour as soon as they're installed.

4. Replace your garage door

  • Average cost: $4,513 | Estimated value added: $8,751
  • 193.9% return on investment

Based on a 16-by-7-foot double door

If your garage faces the street, installing a brand-new garage door is a great way to update your curb appeal. Newer garage doors have better insulation, too, boosting your energy efficiency.

5. Get a steel entry door 

  • Average cost: $2,355 | Estimated value added: $4,430
  • 188.1% return on investment (DIY saves you about $400 on labor)

Based on one prehung steel entry door

Add a measure of style and security to your home with a steel entry door. You can spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a new entry door, but an economical version will be a great upgrade if your current front door looks worn or not secure.

Steel doors are available in various colors and styles, including models with decorative windows that let natural light in.

6. Put on a fresh coat of paint

  • Average cost: $3,000 | Estimated value added: $7,571
  • 152% return on investment

Fresh paint can make a home's exterior look brand new again. For the best results, always choose long-lasting quality paint and a color that fits in with the neighborhood to maximize your home’s desirability.

7. Add an outdoor living space

  • Average cost: $10,500-16,900 | Estimated value added: $10,000-15,000
  • 89-100% return on investment

Outdoor living spaces span various options, from patios and decks to outdoor kitchens.

  • Outdoor kitchens have the highest outdoor living ROI at 100%[1]
  • Paver patios and decks improve outdoor livability
  • 💰BONUS: Front porches have grown in desirability in recent years. Turning your front porch into a focal point can add $5,686 to your home’s value.

Quick DIYs for maintaining curb appeal

  • Driveways and walkways: Sealcoat your asphalt driveway and fix uneven paving stones or cracks in cement walkways.
  • Basic lawn care: Mow your lawn and string trim around landscaping and sidewalks. Add seed and fertilizer to bare spots.
  • Landscaping: Trim all shrubs and bushes and plant flowers. Remove and replace dead or dying plants.
  • Paint: Scrape and repaint any peeling paint on the front of the house or entry door.
  • Siding: Pressure wash your siding or brick to remove stains and brighten the exterior.

» LEARN: How to Stage a House to Sell

Best home improvements for sprucing up your interior

Consider updating your interior as advanced staging to prepare your home for listing. Staging newer homes might mean removing furniture and decorations to make the home appear roomier and ready for move-in. But you may need to make deeper improvements if you have crumbling cabinets or dated kitchen fixtures.

Old and worn interior elements are distracting and may appear on a buyer’s mental to-do list if they buy the home. Upgrading these items replaces a liability with brand-new added value.

On a budget? Narrow down your list of projects by asking your agent for advice about the biggest sticking points for buyers in your area.

» LEARN: How to keep your house in top shape and avoid major maintenance

8. Install hardwood flooring

  • Average cost: $6,000–12,000 | Estimated value added: $4,200–9,600
  • 70–80% return on investment

Based on 1,000 square feet of flooring

Regarding flooring, hardwood is a great investment for making your home more marketable. Installing hardwood replaces the distraction of creaky boards or worn carpeting with a flooring style many buyers are looking for. Two-thirds of homeowners say hardwood floors would be their choice for their dream home.

Hardwood flooring is easy to align with various budgets, too, as there are many materials and styles to choose from — and it's relatively simple to install yourself.

🛠 DIY hardwood flooring

Average cost: $3,000–6,000 | Estimated value added: $4,200–9,600

  • Up to 100% return on investment

Based on 1,000 square feet of flooring

Hardwood floors can be relatively easy to install if you have the time — saving almost half on materials and maybe even making money on resale. You'll just need a few tools and a way to dispose of the old flooring.

9. Do a minor kitchen renovation

  • Average cost: $27,492 | Estimated value added: $26,406
  • 96.1% return on investment

Based on costs for new hardware, major appliances, finishes, and flooring

Kitchens are expected to be beautiful and functional and vital for everyday livability. Any issue that puts yours out of order is a liability.

Updating your cabinets or countertops to a more modern yet neutral style is smart for an extremely dated kitchen. Any cracked tiles or a leaky sink should also be replaced. If you can't deep clean a grimy oven, range, or refrigerator, consider replacing those.

🛠 DIY ideas for minor kitchen rejuvenation

If you’re handy, you can improve the look of your kitchen without taking your kitchen out of commission for several weeks.

Here are some projects you can tackle over a few weekends:

  • Replacing faucets and fixtures
  • Installing new tile backsplash
  • Painting cabinets

» FIND: The Best (And Worst) Paint Colors to Sell a House

10. Give your bathroom a minor update

  • Average cost: $25,251 | Estimated value added: $18,613
  • 73.7% return on investment

Based on a 5-by-7-foot bathroom

Unless it's unusable, you don't need to remodel your bathroom to impress buyers. Not only are major bathroom remodels expensive, but your buyers might not share all of your tastes in tile and fixtures.

Updating a few things — tub or shower, toilet, vanity, or flooring — is easy to keep buyers from turning up their noses at cracked tile or fixtures from another decade. Just make sure not to disturb any of the current plumbing.

🛠 DIY ideas for minor bathroom upgrade

Don’t need an entirely new bathroom? You can save money by replacing some items in your bathroom. Here are quick projects that can be completed in only a day or two:

  • Replace leaky faucets
  • Replace toilet or vanity
  • Install tile flooring

11. Finish out that basement

  • Average cost: $57,500 | Estimated value added: $49,250
  • 86% return on investment

Extra square footage can entice buyers with larger families who want to move into your area or who want additional living space. You can also DIY some of this project to get more return on investment.

🚨Warning: Be careful to research whether other comps in your neighborhood have renovated basements — this upgrade could price you out of your area.

12. Renovate your closet

  • Average cost: $6,000 | Estimated value added: $5,000
  • 83% return on investment

Closet renovation budgets vary widely based on the size and extent of the remodel. Creating a larger walk-in closet could cost thousands and require a contractor’s help, while a simple refresh may only need new shelving and fixtures.

🛠️ DIY Ideas for a closet renovation

Wire shelving and hanging racks often come in pre-packaged systems and only require a few tools. This simple upgrade can increase your home’s appeal through improved storage space.

Best home improvements for energy efficiency

According to Homelight’s Top Agent Insights Report, roughly half of agents say homebuyers prioritize energy efficiency when looking for a new home.

Even if some potential buyers are indifferent to the long-term energy savings, newly replaced items that will last for years will always be a plus for your home on the selling sheet.

13. Install a tankless water heater

  • Average cost: $2,261 | Estimated energy savings: 24–34%

Annual energy savings per unit

Tankless water heaters provide instant hot water for your shower or kitchen sink. In years past, homes with tankless water heaters have sold 43 days faster and for 4% more than expected.[2]

Tankless water heaters last five to 10 years longer than conventional storage tank water heaters — without the added risk of failure or major flooding.

14. Upgrade your insulation

  • Average cost: $2,000–4,000 | Estimated energy savings: 10-15%

Annual energy savings per 1,000 square feet of batt insulation

Attic insulation is one of the best low-cost, high-impact improvements a homeowner can make to their home. A properly insulated attic will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Some insulation options are simple enough to DIY, while others are hazardous to work with and are best installed by professionals.

Hire a proDo it yourself
Blown-in insulation is good for applying around irregularly shaped areas.Batt insulation is the least expensive and easiest to install.
Spray foam insulation is easily applied around obstacles.Reflective barrier insulation blocks downward heat to keep attic air ducts cool.
Show more
Source: Types of Insulation, Energy.gov

15. Install low-flow toilets

  • Average cost: $100–300 per toilet | Estimated energy savings: 20-60%

Annual water savings per toilet

Can't upgrade the entire bathroom? Swapping out the toilet for a low-flow option is a quick and easy way to improve the room's look. Some areas also offer rebates to homeowners who replace toilets with low-flow models.

16. Replace your aging HVAC system

  • Average cost: $3,420-5,390 | Estimated energy savings: 20%

Savings based on Energy Star Unit vs. Non-Energy Star

Brand new HVAC systems aren’t on the top list for many buyers—only 25% of buyers prioritized them, according to Clever’s 2024 Homebuyer Report. But multiple experts said buyers are willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient upgrades.

Home improvements to reduce future maintenance

Buyers want move-in-ready homes, not a list of items to repair or replace immediately. One of the best ways to maximize your home's value is to stay on top of routine maintenance.

By fixing minor yet obvious problems, you can strengthen your negotiating power and protect against paying too much in buyer concessions — which cost recent home sellers an average of $7,200 in concessions.

Homelight’s Top Agents Insights Report of the New Year highlights that small maintenance projects greatly impact perceived value. Basic yard care and fresh mulch can boost your home’s value by nearly $4,500.

Budget 1–2% of your home's value toward annual maintenance, if you can.

Routine maintenance of major systems and appliances

  • HVAC system: Call your local HVAC technician for biannual tune-ups. Have your ducts cleaned once every three to five years.
  • Plumbing: Small leaks can quickly turn into big problems. Check for water stains, leaks, and running toilets.
  • Gutters: Clean your gutters at least once a year to keep rainwater draining safely away from your home.
  • Chimney: Get an annual inspection and sweep to keep your fireplace or wood stove operating safely.
  • Kitchen appliances: Repair or replace dated or broken appliances to ensure the kitchen is completely functional.
  • Bugs and pests: Take care of ants and spiders yourself, but call in the pros if you see signs of termite damage or rodents.

Home improvements that don't pay off

Some projects just don't translate to increased resale value. You should undertake these projects for your own enjoyment in your home. But you'll lose money on these projects if you list your house soon after completing them.

Over-personalized projects that appeal to your interests, like a high-end home theater, built-in aquariums, or themed rooms, can hurt your resale value in the long run. Deborah Lamberton from ASAP Restoration says that sellers don’t appreciate the money that goes into these projects — making it hard for you to recoup money on them.

Remember that your buyer will add their own touches to the space when they buy. Neutral colors and basic upgrades will give them a starting point to make the home feel like theirs. 

1. In-ground pools

An in-ground pool is a luxury — but it's not something everyone wants. In addition to limited appeal, pools have some major drawbacks:

  • High upkeep expenses, costing around $1,450 a year to maintain[3]
  • Added liability, probably raising your homeowner's insurance
  • Unsafe without supervision, possibly turning away buyers with small children

If you want a pool but think you may be selling soon, consider an above-ground pool, which can be disassembled and moved. However, you'll need to regrade the ground and replant grass to remove all traces of the pool.

2. Major kitchen remodels

Major kitchen remodels cost $150,000 on average — and they recoup only about half that at resale. They can also take months to complete.

If you have the budget and the time to enjoy your dream kitchen, go for it! Don't expect the remodel to pay off when it comes time to sell.

3. Home additions

The cost of adding a room to your house can vary greatly depending on its size and complexity. Expect to pay anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000 for an addition to your home. Plus, additions require design work, permitting, and inspections in addition to the extensive building process.

Home additions are usually built to solve a problem for the current homeowner, such as a family room built over the garage or an in-law suite in a finished basement. A buyer might see a similar value in an addition you built, but probably not.

4. Projects that are out of sync with the neighborhood

Some sellers equate high-end fixtures or elaborate renovations with a higher resale value, which simply isn’t true. But you should also avoid going too cheap with your renovations — buyers can tell if it looks like you cut corners or choose bargain fixtures during a remodel.

The best way to know your renovations will pay off is to imitate popular upgrades in your neighborhood. Sabbat Abid from Property Saviour instructs sellers that “a high-end market may pay back a luxury finish, while a more modest one may gain a better return on basic improvements in curb appeal.”

5. Projects you won't be able to finish

Nearly 35% of new home buyers want a move-in ready home without renovations, making unfinished projects a major turnoff for many sellers. Uncompleted updates like half-finished landscaping also hurt curb appeal and perceived value.

Remember that one major upgrade may make the rest of the house look outdated. Fixr’s Adam Graham warns sellers that updating a feature like flooring in one room but not the others can hurt your home’s resale value.

How to pay for home improvements

Most homeowners will need to borrow money for more extensive home improvements. Different situations call for different solutions. Here are a few options to consider.

Save for maintenance

Putting away 1–2% of your home's value each year to save for maintenance costs is the safest way to ensure you have money to pay for your home's upkeep. Regular maintenance will help you avoid big problems later, saving you money in the long run.

Look into a 'buy before you sell' program

Popularized by companies like Knock and Orchard, buy before you sell programs offer bridge loans — short-term loans backed by your current home value — to help you purchase a new house without your offer depending on your old house selling.

With the equity freed up from your current home, you can make an offer as good as cash, move into your new house as soon as you close, and list your current home for sale when ready. You pay back the bridge loan, plus associated program fees, out of the proceeds from your home sale.

As an added benefit, several buy-before-you-sell programs allow you to use a portion of your bridge loan to pay for value-adding home improvements before listing, upping your chances of selling for the highest possible price. 

Ask your realtor about pre-listing concierge services

Some real estate brokers offer concierge services that make needed upgrades and take some of the proceeds when your home sells. This strategy takes the pressure of identifying which repairs you need off your plate, but it may limit your realtor options.

Tamar Asken from Parasol Realty in Beverly Hills, CA, believes that concierge services are, “often a better solution than financing the repairs from a home equity loan, but a homeowner will have to compare the options for their project and market and see which makes more sense.”

A concierge service gives you less autonomy over the updates, so it may not be a good fit if you want to DIY most of your renovations.

Take advantage of contractor financing

Paying for costly updates upfront, like kitchen renovations or patio installs, doesn’t work for many sellers. Some contractors make these major updates more affordable by offering financing. Benefits of contractor financing include:

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs for renovations
  • No need to save up thousands before upgrades
  • The convenience of paying for renos over time

However, you should pay close attention to interest rates and whether the contractor uses a third party for financing. Saddat Abid from Property Saviour highlights the convenience of contractor financing, but “it might be wise to obtain several quotes for competitive pricing and to consider doing some minor improvements yourself to save on labor costs.”

Explore a novation agreement

A novation agreement is a joint venture between a seller and a real estate investor to defer an upfront sale and sell at a higher price after renovations. This partnership can make you more money if you want to sell as-is.

Ken Csurilla, the acquisitions manager for HomeWise, explains the benefits of novation agreements like this:

“By deferring the upfront purchase costs, investors can invest in renovations that boost the home's value. This allows homeowners to potentially net up to 40% more than an as-is sale, while avoiding renovation expenses themselves.”

One thing to note is that once you enter an agreement, you must wait for renovations and the home to sell before you make any money. This structure may make novation agreements less feasible for sellers with a short timeline.

Take out a personal loan

This type of unsecured personal loan from a bank or a credit union doesn't use your home for collateral, instead basing the interest rate on your credit and income. You can borrow up to $100,000 with repayment terms of up to 12 years, but you can plan on paying off the loan with the increased resale value when you sell.

Apply for a HELOC or cash-out refinance loan

If you're not planning on moving immediately, consider getting a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or refinancing your mortgage with a cash-out refinance. Both loans are backed by your home's value and tend to have lower interest rates than unsecured loans.

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that allows you to withdraw money as you need it. This works great for projects with uncertain budgets.

A cash-out refinance replaces your current mortgage with a larger loan and new repayment terms, paying out the difference in a lump sum. The loan extends your payment period or raises your monthly payment to pay for it.

How do I decide which home improvements to make before listing?

You probably won't be making a profit on most home improvements — you'll just be recovering some of the cost when you sell. But that doesn't mean repairs and improvements aren't worth making before you list.

When asked if sellers should expect to make money on pre-listing improvements, Deborah Lamberton, General Manager at ASAP Restoration in Phoenix, said, “It depends on the repair. That said, if not repairing might cost you potential buyers, it’s hard to say that it isn’t worth the investment.”

Your goal for improving your home before selling is to make it appealing to buyers, but there’s no cut-and-dry answer to which improvements are the best. Learning about your market and getting repair quotes can help you focus on the best options for your home.

Working with a trusted real estate agent BEFORE you start renovations can help with this process. They can show you comps in the area, connect you with reliable contractors, and provide guidance on what improvements may make you the most money.

💡 Need some advice from a reliable agent? Clever helps you compare local top real estate agents, get free listing advice, and save thousands on commission fees!

What is the project cost vs. ROI?

Gather contractors' quotes to determine the potential project cost — or how much you'll spend on a repair. After receiving quotes, ask your realtor to pull comps of nearby homes with and without similar upgrades.

Taking the difference between the price of homes with and without renovations can give you a ballpark figure of the added resale value from renovations. Then, you can use the formula below to determine the potential ROI on your project:

To maximize your ROI, look into a project’s DIY ability. You may be able to do some small projects, like installing mulch or repainting, without a contractor's help to lower project costs and increase ROI. 

Which projects could be deal breakers if left undone?

Major issues like a leaking roof or non-functional plumbing are costly to repair. Still, they'll need to be resolved before putting your house on the market — unless you're prepared to offer buyers money to fix the issues themselves or sell to an investor at a significant discount.

Homes needing significant repairs may be off limits to traditional buyers needing mortgage financing, explains Oregon-based real estate broker Sharlys Leszczuk. “If someone makes an offer with a mortgage contingency, the property's condition could impede their ability to secure enough financing to cover the purchase.”

Elisha Lopez of Ocala Realty World in Florida agrees that problems with leaks, mold, termite infestation, dry rot, plumbing, or HVAC could make a home uninsurable.

Even if a buyer is willing and able to close on a home needing repairs, you may still be on the hook for the costs. Clever Real Estate's survey of recent home buyers found that money for repairs was among the top concessions buyers asked for in 2023 and 2024, while sellers spent an average of $19,773 on repairs after negotiating with buyers.

What are your priorities? 

Priorities play a significant part in your repair strategy. Sellers who want a hassle-free selling process and don’t mind taking a hit on profit may want to hit the high points and sell immediately. On the other hand, more repairs will be a better bet if you want to make the most money possible.

We recently surveyed home sellers and found that 33% prioritized selling without repairs, and 39% wanted to sell quickly. If you fall into one of those groups, selling as-is or funding repairs at closing might work.

But Adam Graham, an industry analyst at Fixr.com, still recommends a deep clean or decluttering even if speed or minimal repairs are your top priority, “Focus on depersonalizing and decluttering the home. This helps buyers visualize themselves living there and allows them to see the available space.”

Talk with a realtor for those who aren’t sure where to begin or don’t know what they want from a sale. They can help you build a selling timeline and prioritize which renovations work well in your neighborhood.

What's your overall timeline and budget? 

Many home improvements can be done in a few days and on a tight budget, while others may take months and thousands of dollars to complete. Fitting your improvements into your timeline and budget is essential to getting the most out of your selling experience.

If you’re working with a tight budget, Dudi Shamir, co-founder of Proven House Buyers, recommends focusing on affordable cosmetic improvements that impact curb appeal. A well-maintained lawn and fresh mulch can greatly affect your home’s perceived value.

A larger budget for improvements can make your home more desirable, but you must not price yourself out of the neighborhood.

Adam Graham points out that “luxury, high-end additions that might not cater to every homebuyer's needs or wants aren't good for resale—for example, a music recording studio or media room with the latest audiovisual setup.”

Sellers unsure what to budget for pre-sale repairs can follow this rule — 1-3% of your home’s value is typically enough for upgrades.

What are buyers in your area looking for?

Knowing what buyers want is essential to making the right pre-listing improvements to your home. In some parts of the country, energy-efficient upgrades like new windows and insulation could be good investments, while in others, you may just need to add a bit of curb appeal.

Timing can also affect what buyers perceive as a value-add. Saddat Abid, the Senior Property Buyer & CEO at Property Saviour, explains:

“The value perceived in energy-efficient windows, better insulation, or a new roof can be much greater during the winter months in the northern states. On the other hand, highly attractive features during the summer or in states with a warmer climate would be a well-landscaped yard, outdoor living areas, and [an] air-conditioned interior.”

The Clever American Home Buyer Report found aesthetics are a major priority for many: 33% of buyers stated that kitchen, bathroom, or lighting fixture upgrades were essential when shopping for a new home.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore significant maintenance issues. A leaking roof, malfunctioning HVAC system, or outdated electrical can be dealbreakers for buyers.

What's currently selling in your neighborhood?

Your location plays a significant role in what upgrades to consider before selling. And the best way to determine what’s selling in your neighborhood is to look at comparable homes.

Matching the look, feel, and quality of repairs in your neighborhood can also give you a baseline for estimating the cost of your improvements.

“If you see homes selling in your neighborhood for a high premium that looks new and updated, it may be a good idea to upgrade your house to the same level,” says Suzanne Seini, CEO and Owner of Innovate Realty in Irvine, CA.

For example, you might get away with only adding new cabinet hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms, while it would make more sense to spend extra on granite countertops if comps in the neighborhood have them.

Should you DIY or hire a pro? 

Your skill level, time, and budget play a role when choosing to DIY or hire a professional.

The do-it-yourself route could work for sellers with background experience and enough available time. However, opting for DIY on major projects could be a bad choice if you want a quick sale or don’t have prior knowledge of working in that area.

If paying a professional upfront is outside your budget, ask potential contractors about paying over time. You may have access to financing options that minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Brian Durham of WeGo Real Estate points out that a home equity loan is one route many sellers take and that “there are also companies that will front the repair money, which is paid back at the sale's closing. At Realty Group, we call that our Refresh Program.”

What does your realtor say? 

Consulting your realtor can be one of the best ways to determine your pre-sale upgrades. A great real estate agent knows the local market, can help you tailor your home improvements to buyers' wants, and connects you with reliable contractors.

However, different real estate brokers may have different opinions on what renovations bring the most value.

Some brokers, like Brian Durham, focus on updating curb appeal with brightly colored flowers to attract potential buyers. On the other hand, Andrew Fortune — owner and realtor at Great Colorado Homes — finds interior updates like cabinet hardware, paint, and flooring to be the best ways to improve your home’s value.

The right improvements often vary widely depending on the market. For example, your realtor may guide you to forego upgrades because buyers will be more willing to prioritize location over upgrades in a seller’s market.

And if you’re worried about realtor costs, you’re not alone — 21% of sellers feel like commission rates are too high. The good news is that plenty of agents offer competitive commission rates through discount real estate brokerages and referral networks like Clever.

Need advice?

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Frequently asked questions

What is the best home improvement to increase value for resale?

Hardwood flooring, tankless water heaters, and new exterior siding are all fairly easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and have been proven to be popular at resale.

Do I need to remodel my home before listing?

Minor renovations can be beneficial if you replace worn or outdated home items. However, extensive and costly renovation projects likely won't pay off at resale.

How do I decide what to renovate before listing?

Broken or dilapidated parts of the home (such as a leaky roof) should be replaced before listing. After that, look at your budget to see what out-of-style elements you can afford to replace. On a tight budget? Consider investing in deep-cleaning tools (like a pressure washer) and updated hardware (new cabinet handles) to refresh your home's appearance.

Related reading

Article Sources

[1] National Association of REALTORS® – "2023 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features". Accessed June 25, 2024.

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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