You know the old saying: you have to spend money to make money. This potentially applies to houses too. There are certain aspects of a home that, if remodeled, could help you get a much higher offer. Although, if you don’t have much excess cash to spare but still want top dollar for your home, there are plenty of budget-friendly options, too.

Keep in mind, though, that remodeling might not be your best option. Large projects can take much more time and money than they are actually worth it, so make sure you read this article carefully before unnecessarily remodel something.

Major Remodels

Probably a bad idea

First, let’s start with the simple one. If you’re thinking about doing a major remodel on a home that you’re planning to sell soon, the solution in this situation is almost always NOT to do the major remodel.

These large renovations include things like adding an in-ground swimming pool, finishing a basement, or doing a major kitchen remodel.

Let’s say you already have the entire changes planned out, including exactly what materials you want, who you’re going to hire to do it, and the exact timeline. Let me just tell you from experience that the details you choose in the beginning will almost always change.

The timeline will, 99% of the time, be longer than expected. Contractors sometimes have issues with their staff, the store might be sold out of the material you need for week, and many more problems that are simply out of your control will inevitably happen.

So, with these very common issues alone, it is usually not the smartest decision to undertake a major remodel if you’d like to sell your home in a relatively short timeline.

If you don’t have a specific date in mind but know that you’ll be selling your house in the future, there are still some aspects to consider about major remodels.

First, realize that large renovations almost never give you a high ROI. In fact, according to Remodeling magazine, these projects offer an average 62% return on investment. When they do, it’s typically because it’s a seller’s market or you’re located in a good area. So, with all of the potential problems and the small return on your investment, it doesn’t make much sense.

If you’d like to put a pool in your backyard for your family because you don’t plan on selling for another 5 years, of course that’s fine. Just don’t expect to get your money back when it comes time to sell.

Second, don’t forget that not everyone has the same taste as you. If you spend a lot of money on a renovation that you think it absolutely beautiful, understand that buyers might not think the same.

Which major remodels are worth it?

The only time when a major project is worth taking on is when your house has odd features that need to be fixed. For example, let’s say you have a two-story house with the master bedroom located downstairs, but only one bathroom and it’s located upstairs.

In an odd event like this, it could be worth the cost to put a bathroom on a main level. This would greatly increase the number potential buyers, leaving you with more competition and a higher offer price.

Another expensive remodel that might be worth it is repairing the roof. If it hasn’t been updated in many years, this might be called out in the inspection anyway. So, if you repair it at the beginning, you could get a better offer and not have to worry about it when the home inspection rolls around.

One more sometimes costly change is replacing your home’s vinyl siding. The curbside appeal is very important to potential buyers. Make sure you don’t replace the vinyl before first hiring someone to pressure wash it to see if it even needs to be replaced! Getting rid of all that dirt and grime can really do wonders.

Smaller renovations

Here is where the discussion really begins. Smaller renovations, especially those you can do yourself, are usually a great plan to help you get more money for your house.

One of the first changes you can make to your house is to paint all of the walls in a nice, neutral color (gray is in right now). Additionally, touching up the molding with a bright, shiny white will help more than you can imagine. These changes will automatically cover up a lot of wear-and-tear the house has gone through over the years, making it look cleaner and newer without much cost.

Don’t forget to make sure all holes or dents in the walls are filled in before you paint everything! Trust me, you might think that big hole from when your doorstop broke isn’t noticeable behind the door, but it is.

Another simple update to make your home look newer is changing the light fixtures. If your fixtures are from the 70s, it’s pretty obvious. Not only is the material chipping, but the design is very old-fashioned.

Low-cost but simple, elegant light fixtures can be found at most home improvement stores, and they’re a nice small touch to make the house look more modern.

Of course, some obvious renovations that will be worth your time and money are things like fixing any leaking pipes or faucets and repairing any nonworking appliances.

If your stove is covered in grease and won’t come clean after years of use, it might be worth buying a new one. Many wholesale stores sell these for great prices, and don’t forget sites like Craigslist if you aren’t looking for a brand-new appliance.

The last simple, but important, update is to swap out your old-looking doorknobs, especially the one on the front door. You don’t notice how dated and dirty it looks when you use it every day, but new buyers certainly will.

So, a simple recap: these small renovations can usually work wonders with getting you a good ROI, but you should almost always skip the larger ones.

Michele Karl is the Owner/Broker of Priority Real Estate. She can be reached at her email at or give her a call at her office at 865-577-6600.




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