5 of the Best Renovations to Do Before Selling

Peter Chambers

Dec 2, 2022

renovations to do before selling

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If you’re thinking of selling your home, now might be the best time to act. Although experts remain divided, many financial analysts predict a good chance that the U.S. will enter a recession by the spring of 2023. Prices remain high at the moment — you might want to list your property now before they fall again. 

Before contacting your real estate agent, ask whether your homestead is market-ready. Putting a bit of time, money and elbow grease into tackling a few DIY projects could mean a higher return on your investment when you sell. What do today’s buyers look for, and which improvements are most likely to make a difference? 

Little touches can mean a lot, and you can handle many of the projects on this list yourself. However, it might be worth calling in the pros for better results. Here are five best renovations to do before selling, whether you DIY or phone an expert. 

1. Paint 

Painting is one of the simplest and least expensive renovations to do before selling. It can mean considerably more green in your pocket, with an interior job alone netting a 107% ROI. Say goodbye to all those fingerprint smudges and your toddler’s stairwell crayon Picasso. 

What colors should you use? In general, warm, neutral tones work best when you want to sell. That way, prospective buyers can visualize the property with their furnishings and decor — they could have vastly different tastes. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a splash of vivid color here and there. If you want to get creative, try these ideas:

  • Make an accent wall: An accent wall provides a focal point and a place to hang family photos. 
  • Use a border: Cute borders can lend appeal to children’s rooms. 
  • Consider wainscoting: A wainscot lets you alternate colors top and bottom or play with texture. 

Furthermore, don’t neglect your home’s exterior. Ideally, you should wait for moderate temperatures to begin this task — experts recommend the ideal lies between 50° and 70° Fahrenheit. Scrape off that old, peeling paint and give your facade a facelift. 

However, you might not have to do the whole thing if your siding is in good shape. A quick pressure wash can brighten your exterior without requiring you to climb a ladder. Still, a quick dash of fresh color on your front and garage doors and windowsills can transform your facade, making it cheerier and more welcoming. 

2. Landscape 

Your front lawn, along with your facade, is the first thing prospective buyers see. Furthermore, outdoor living came to the forefront during the pandemic, as people discovered this method of socializing helped them keep their distance and reduce their chances of infection. 

What should you do? Simple DIY tasks such as adding a few window boxes or planting lively blooms in your garden help, as does a thorough cleanup, removing clutter, cutting back dead branches and tending to weeds. 

However, if you want to go further, why not investigate xeriscaping? Why? For one, it increases your sustainability quotient, a value that inspires many consumers today to pay more. Secondly, it frees you and the prospective new owners from the drudgery of lawn work every weekend. This landscaping style uses native vegetation to minimize water and maintenance, meaning you only have to weed and rake a few times a season. 

3. Organize Your Garage

Today’s homebuyers prioritize storage space, especially in the garage. Fortunately, it’s not challenging at all to get this area ship-shape. 

What should you do? It’s a piece of cake to hang a few pieces of pegboard to your walls to organize small tools. A locking cabinet is an excellent place to store dangerous items like antifreeze away from pets and tiny tots. However, if that’s not in your budget, a high set of shelves can serve the same purpose. 

Furthermore, consider insulating the space, especially if you have a room above the garage. The floors in such areas can grow freezing in winter, and you’ll save a bundle on heating by not letting the full force of the outside air blow in every time you pull in with your groceries. Doing so also ups your sustainability score. 

4. Finish Your Basement 

Here’s one of two items on this list that may require hiring an outside contractor, depending on your home’s configuration. Converting your basement or attic to a living space is a wise choice in today’s world of multigenerational living — a downstairs in-law suite is a powerful draw for many buyers with older family members or adult children saving up for a down payment. Most homes don’t feature such amenities, making the owners miss out on a way to up their value. 

However, per the International Construction Code, basements must have two points of egress in case a fire or other hazard blocks the stairs. That typically means installing an egress window, a project beyond many DIYers’ scope. You may also have to install plumbing and frame walls, which are not the easiest jobs for newbies to master. 

While such projects may cost you $10,000 or more, they can also result in bigger payoffs. The National Association of Realtors ® found that the right accessory dwelling unit can add up to 35% to your home’s value. 

5. Embrace Sustainability

Remember that tidbit about people paying more to go green? Fortunately, you don’t have to do major renovations to make your home more sustainable. Consider the following upgrades: 

  • Change your lighting: LED bulbs can create a mood while saving energy. Get rid of glaring overhead fluorescents in exchange for track lighting that shines illumination right where you need it — like your grandma’s recipe book on your kitchen counter. 
  • Embrace passive solar: You can invite more solar energy into your home without calling a contractor. Take down those heavy blinds and let the sunshine in, opting for a one-way film that provides an unparalleled view while heating up your home for free.
  • Consider a compost bin: It isn’t very hard to construct one of these, and you can use recycled pallets — your local hardware store probably gives them away for free. 

If you want even more eco-friendliness, consider converting to solar. While you’ll most likely need a contractor’s help, you can reap considerable benefits come tax time. Congress recently extended the federal solar tax credits through 2032. 

Finally, take a look at your appliances. Are any of them aging? If so, consider upgrading to newer Energy Star models for immediate savings on utility bills and an added selling point when showing to buyers. 

The Best Renovations to Do Before Selling 

Now may be the best time to sell your home. Looming economic changes means you might not get as much for your property if you wait. 

However, you need to get your homestead in listing shape. Consider tackling these best renovations to do before selling to maximize your ROI. 

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