Upgrading your home requires a significant commitment of time, money, and inconvenience. For many homeowners, there’s a long list of upgrades to make someday. However, these are usually prioritized based on financial implications and how they’ll benefit day-to-day life.
When making upgrades in your home, it’s also essential to consider your long-term plans and your home’s value. If you plan on selling in a few years, making upgrades that enhance the resale value of your house are well worth the investment.
Here are the best upgrades to improve your home’s value and increase your return on investment while decreasing your time on the market.
Upgrade the Electrical Panel
Most real estate experts recommend focusing on minor upgrades and repairs if you plan on selling in the near future, as you may not see a full return on investment — huge kitchen remodels, for example. However, there are some home upgrades that are well worth the upfront costs, whether you plan on selling or not. Upgrading the electrical panel is one of them.
According to electricians from Travis Electrical Service, upgrading the electrical panel offers several benefits. First and foremost is safety. Over time, wiring and connections degrade, which increases the risk of a fire. If you still have a fuse box, you’re well overdue for an upgrade.
Another key consideration is that our lifestyles and appliances demand more power with each passing year. Upgrading the electrical panel ensures your home can bear the circuit load of modern appliances and electronics.
The electrical panel upgrade will also increase your resale value. If you don’t include that upgrade, you may not stand out to potential buyers against similar homes, leaving your home on the market for longer. A potential buyer may also negotiate the price based on the necessary upgrade or add a contingency to the deal.
While it may not have the cosmetic “wow” factor, upgrading the electrical panel is well worth the investment.
Minor Kitchen Upgrade
As mentioned earlier, making major upgrades with immediate plans to sell isn’t always worth the effort. However, a minor kitchen upgrade can enhance your home’s appeal to potential buyers. The difference between a minor and major kitchen remodel means focusing on cosmetics rather than significant structural or floor plan changes.
With a minor kitchen remodel, you might add a backsplash, for example or replace the flooring. You could also refinish the cabinets, add new fixtures, and upgrade any outdated appliances. The goal is to make the space more welcoming and visually appealing without changing the core layout.
Increasing Functional Living Space
With more people spending time at home these days, increasing the functional living space offers significant value to potential buyers. You may even discover that you’ll want to stay in your home after you make the upgrade.
One of the best ways to increase the functional living space is to finish the basement. Closing the walls, adding some lighting, and finishing the floors are simple ways to effectively double the marketable square footage of your home. You can also frame the space to add extra rooms.
Creating a home office is another way to add value to potential buyers, many of whom are still working from home after the pandemic. If you have a garage, you can finish this space and highlight how it can become a multipurpose area. Finally, adding a deck or outdoor covered living room is also a high-value addition.
Basic Exterior Work
According to real estate experts, a home with good curb appeal sells at an average of 7% more than similar homes without. In other words, your curb appeal could affect your selling price by 10s of thousands of dollars. For that reason alone, it’s well worth spending time and money on basic exterior work.
Landscaping tends to be a focus when improving curb appeal. However, it’s important not to overdo it when making upgrades to your yard. While stunning, elaborate gardens are amazing to look at, the modern buyer can find them intimidating — fun to look at, but not to maintain. Landscaping upgrades should be simple and appealing, leaving potential buyers with the feeling that they could handle the upkeep.
An example of a low-maintenance, cost-effective upgrade is installing solar-powered post lights on decks or outdoor spaces. This can be done DIY since no wiring is necessary. Homeowners will only need to clean the panels every now and then to ensure they can still absorb sunlight efficiently. Solar lights add illumination to your exterior without ramping up your energy bills.
Updating the siding is a significant undertaking but should be on the to-do list if it’s cracked, faded or lifting. Generally, high-quality siding should last for more than a decade. If a full replacement seems far-fetched, repair cracks and give it a good cleaning.
Finally, focus on the front door and welcome area of your home. Apply an attractive coat of paint to your existing door or upgrade to a newer, energy-efficient model. Simply put out a few planters, add a classy house number, and improve the lighting for a noticeable increase in your home’s curb appeal.
Increase Natural Lighting
Replacing the windows in an older home is a big job that can reduce contingencies and time on the market. However, it’s a significant upfront cost. If you go this route, it’s also worth increasing the natural lighting in your home.
Natural light is what sells a home from a cosmetic standpoint. If you have dim, dark areas or small windows, it’s worth a few well-placed window upgrades to increase the natural light.
Consider adding a few light fixtures as well to help those problem areas that aren’t accessible by windows.
Eco-Friendly Bathroom Upgrades
Like kitchens, major bathroom remodels are costly and not always worth the effort immediately before selling — the exception being a bathroom addition.
Making minor upgrades and replacing faucets and fixtures with eco-friendly models will make a difference in your home’s value. Using low-flow showerheads and toilets will help cut your water consumption, thus offering a fresh new bathroom and lower utility costs.
Accessibility and universal designs are becoming a high priority for buyers and builders alike. In some regions, accessible home features such as lever door handles are being incorporated into regulations for new builds. It’s expected this trend will continue.
Modern buyers are looking for places where they can picture themselves aging. Open floor plans, wide doorways, and floating vanities are just the start. Adding accessibility features will help your home appeal to the 26% of Americans managing a disability.
With these upgrades, you can improve the value of your home, whether you choose to sell or stay in it for years to come.