If you’re thinking about selling your home, you’re probably wondering what it’s worth. The quickest way to do that is to get it assessed, which is a process that also might identify a few of your house’s drawbacks, or the details that could reduce its overall value. Once you know which features aren’t popular among prospective homebuyers, strategic renovations can really come in handy. “Renovations are the greenest way to salvage a classic home and transform a place into an exquisite refuge,” says Jarret Yoshida, the principal designer and owner of New York City’s Jarret Yoshida, Inc.. “They give us, as designers and contractors, the opportunity to carefully carve away unsuccessful past renovations and create something fresh and rewarding for our clients.”
Here are some of the home renovations experts recommend to increase the potential selling price of your home.
Nix the carpets and buff those hardwood floors
While carpets used to be a desirable home feature, they’re no longer trending. In fact, in all her 15 years of selling real estate, Courtney Poulos of ACME Real Estate has never heard a buyer positively comment on them. Instead, her buyers ask, “How much do hardwood floors cost?” Check to see if there is wood below—and, if there is, Poulos recommends getting rid of the carpets and refinishing the floors. “If you have hardwood floors, but they look a little dull, get them buffed. Stay away from high-gloss and move to water-based and matte finish products.”
Update the kitchen cabinetry
If your kitchen feels like a snapshot from the ’70s, with funky orange or avocado green cabinetry, Yoshida recommends switching to a white, neutral look. “If you choose materials and costs well, a kitchen renovation can easily bring a 10- to 20-percent return on the cost invested depending on how successful the renovation is and how atrocious the kitchen was before,” he says.
Spruce up your bathroom
Sometimes, all your bathroom really needs is a refresh. “Design your bathroom right and the renovation pays itself off and then some,” says Yoshida. “Skip the brass swan handles and Czech crystal beaded tiles—eco-friendly toilets and clean hardware should be go-tos for a clean and simple vibe.”
Switch to LED lighting
This costs next to nothing and can mean everything, according to Yoshida. “You should be using LED bulbs in the 2700 K range—no bright white with a bluish tinge,” he says. “The American real estate market ties luxury to the familiar yellow glow of candle light.” The return on your investment for this relatively inexpensive act is promising, he notes.
Upgrade your outdoor space
With people entertaining at home more than ever before, Costello REI realtor Nelvia Bullock is noticing that her clients are currently seeking outdoor living spaces, with the most sought-after updates being screened-in porches, pergolas, tons of greenery, hardscaping, paved patios, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens. “Your average home is going to see some of these offerings but typically not all of these features,” she says. “The return on investment tends to be about 80- to 100-percent, as these updates can be enjoyed by all demographics of homebuyers and family dynamics.”