Home Improvements for Resale: What to Consider

Along with being your castle, your home is a major financial investment. Thus, when considering doing home improvements for resale, you should look for the best return on investment, or ROI. The following pre-sale home renovations typically protect or increase a home’s value regardless of whether a real estate market is up or down. These improvements also may be necessary to successfully market a home.

Pre-Sale Home Renovations That Add Value

  1. Replacing a roof in need of repair.

While not exciting, a new roof can add aesthetic value while addressing any existing or soon-to-be problems. Even a minor leak can severely damage your roof trusses, attic, and ceilings.

  1. Upgrading your HVAC system.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are integral components to every home. Upgrades in these areas typically increase or protect a home’s fair market value because of their importance. The next area to look at would be the light fixtures and bulbs. Updating light fixtures and bulbs not only saves money but is good for the environment — all while providing an immediate return on your investment. As we all know, LED lighting is still a bit pricey however, it is the most promising energy-saving technology available now. After the lights have been evaluated, consider updating old energy-hungry appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and washer/dryers. Local energy providers may even offer incentives for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. You can even reduce energy costs by making minor modification to the doors, window, and insulation of your home. Check with your local electric company to inquire about a free energy audit inspection. And last but certainly not least, using native plants for landscaping. This is not only beautiful and ecologically sound, but it also reduces the cost of water, fertilizer, and maintenance.

  1. Painting.

When it comes to making a place look fresh and neat, fresh paint cannot be beat. The good news is that painting is also one of the most affordable improvements any homeowner can make. That’s right. Dollar for dollar, painting offers one of the best returns on investment you can spend on home improvements for resale. In addition to paying big dividends, painting is one of the easiest do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. For a few hundred dollars and a bit of elbow grease, you might be able to increase the sales price of your home by thousands of dollars simply by making things look clean and up to date with a fresh coat of a paint.

When choosing the type of paint, it is important to consider today’s color trends. You want to be sure you aren’t choosing a dated color. Ways to spot trends is to check out current real estate listings online to compare your home’s colors against other homes that have been professionally staged. If you have a child’s bedroom, they often have decorative murals and brightly painted walls that might not appeal to all ages or genders. Remember this important rule of thumb: unique designs are uniquely for you. In the case of a sale, buyers are much more likely to be pleased, or at least not offended, by a neutral palette. At the very least, you can make the paint look fresh and clean by using the same color to quickly touch up any blemishes or defects. If you need advice on what sells best in today’s market, ask a real estate professional. He or she will be able to offer insight on what popular colors are in demand in your area.

Consider Hiring a Contractor.

You may be thinking, how in the world can I do this all in a timely manner. Well, we have great news for you, you do not have to! Consider hiring a contractor for all your home improvement projects. Carefully define the work to be completed and compare estimates from several contractors.  When choosing a contractor be sure to check the references provided. A few questions to ask the references would be if they would hire the contractor again and if they have ever referred the contractor to a friend or family member if so, get on a call with that person. If you have 2 or 3 other contacts from the original reference and they all offer positive testimonials, you may have found a great contractor. Now view credentials in view of the estimates. If the contractor’s reputation, licensing, insurance, and expertise meet your needs, and their price is in line, say plus or minus ten percent, hire that contractor. Save yourself future problems by insisting on the lowest price; it is not always the best price.

Below are a few questions to ask your home improvement contractors:

  • When can you start?
  • When will you be finished?
  • What time will you knock on my door each morning?
  • What time will you quit for the day?
  • Are you going to work every day?
  • Can you finish before (major holiday or significant family event)
  • How much will it cost per square foot?”

But What About DIY?

But wait, can you do some of this yourself? Have you ever been inspired by an amazing DIY home renovation in a magazine or off a tv show and wondered if you could complete something similar yourself? DIY projects can be a satisfying and rewarding way to get work done on your home, provided you have the time, the money, and the skills to tackle them on your own. For best results, look at each project as an individual and decide which suit you best before you begin.

Leave it to the Professionals.


  1. If your project requires any type of licenses and permits for the state or county. If your projects require any types of licenses and permits it is probably the best idea to leave it to the professionals.
  2. If you are running new circuits or upgrading a service panel, a contractor is really needed. A license is probably required, and your personal safety could be in jeopardy. Your insurance will also not cover a fire caused by improper work.
  3. Changing your home’s plumbing lines. Most water companies will also not allow you to work on a meter system; this requires a contractor. When it comes to gas lines, your safety and the potential for fire is not worth the money you might save doing the work yourself.
  4. Major changes to the structure of your home need engineering approval. While you might want to enlarge a room, if you remove a load-bearing wall, you can have structural failure. Consult a contractor when you want major renovations.

By taking time to focus on home improvements, you are helping raise your home’s resale value. Real estate agents can offer very valuable advice on what home renovations you may need to help increase your resale value. Though it can be extremely tedious and tough to manage on your own, there are many great contractors out there to help you with all your home renovations.

Closing CTA

Contact a reputable real estate agent today for advice on any pre-sale home renovations. Of, if you are ready to begin your search for a new home, explore real estate listings in your area now.


What about “Upgrading Energy Efficiency”

Join The Discussion

Compare listings