Real Estate 101

Home Renovations That Pay You Back

posted by Marissa February 1, 2017 0 comments

In the market to upgrade a room or two in your home but worried you won’t get your money back in resale? Not to worry. When done correctly, real estate experts agree that many home updates and renovations can actually help you garner a higher sales price. If you committed to giving new life to a room or two in your home this new year, read on for tips on how to renovate two of the most important rooms in your home while recouping most or all of your costs at resale!


Experts agree that hand’s down, a kitchen renovation (even if a mini-makeover) will give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to resale, with anywhere from 60-80% return on investment. But where to start? You might be surprised to find out you don’t necessarily need to rip out all of your cabinets and start from scratch. If your existing cabinets are solid wood and in good shape, consider just refinishing or painting them. White cabinets remain a very popular preference for many buyers and as we all know, paint is a pretty simple and relatively inexpensive update that can make a huge impact.

Since you’re saving a bit by keeping your cabinets, consider investing in a good quality paint that can handle the constant wear and tear a kitchen receives. Better yet, hire out the job to a trusted painter whose expertise can get the job done the right way and quickly! From there, you can really make cabinets pop with upgraded hardware. Knobs, pulls and handles can take an old outdated cabinet and make it look modern in a matter of minutes.

From there you can update the counters and backsplash to really create a more updated look. But here is where you really need to be careful. These are by no means “cheap” materials and because of that, you want to be sure you select the most crowd-appealing look. While you might absolutely love the look of a unique granite with an interesting colorway or a tile backsplash in a fun color, you’ll want to err on the side of caution and select finishes with more mass appeal.

Tip: When selecting finishes, ask the sales associates at your local stores what they sell the most of. Yes, scouring Pinterest for hours works too, but this is an easy way to really get a sense of what is most popular in your area. Since you’ll be competing with homes nearby (and not on Pinterest), it’s better to have a pulse on what sells in your neck of the woods.

Next on your list is appliances. This is a rather standard upgrade and buyers will appreciate a matching set, so take a look at your local stores and favorite online retailers and try to plan to make your purchase during a large sales event, which typically occur in September and October when stores are making room for new models and also around major national holidays several times a year. If you have a big box store’s credit card, retailers will often give additional discounts when using their card – so don’t forget to consider that perk when shopping around.


After the kitchen, your home’s bathrooms (both the quantity and condition) will significantly matter to potential buyers. If your home is lacking a guest bath or a master bath, now might be the time to think about adding one. In this case, it really might be a matter of quantity over quality. While adding a bathroom could set you back quite a bit, experts agree that you will likely recoup your costs in cases of taking a one-bath home to a two-bath home. If your home is lacking an updated bathroom, instead of upgrading the one, use that money to add a second bath and you will more than likely see a full return on your investment, potentially even more than you spent.

If your home has a sufficient number of bathrooms (most buyers would typically like to see a powder bath, a full bath to serve secondary bedroom(s) and a private master bath) but it’s screaming for a makeover, do not fear. While the average bathroom remodel is around $10,000, depending on your bathroom’s current state, you may get away with spending less. Similar to the kitchen, if you have good quality cabinetry, consider painting the cabinets – better yet, get a bid from a painter to do both the kitchen and bathroom jobs at once, getting the most bang for your buck. With updated cabinets, a fresh paint job on the walls in a neutral color and some updated lighting and fixtures, you can very affordable give your bathroom a face lift.

Should your bathroom require a bit more work, the same tip rings true: do a bit of research in your local stores to see what features and materials they are selling the most of. White subway tile and marble-looking countertops are neutral winners that can appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers without breaking the bank.

Needing to carve out a bit more room to make a cramped bath feel more spa-like? Consider replacing your once-coveted-but-barely-used bath tub with a glass-enclosed steam shower finished with quality neutral materials that will make a nice statement in the bathroom. You’ll add visual real estate to the room and by not cutting corners with a cheap shower curtain, you’ll give buyers the spa-like retreat they are looking for that will stand out in the competition. Something else to consider in lieu of the tub? A double-sink vanity if you don’t already have one. Most master baths boast two sinks these days and buyers have come to expect this feature.

What rooms are on your to-do list this year and what finishes do you have your eye on? Are you planning to sell soon? If so, what updates have you prioritized before listing your home? Share with us below.

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