As for-sale homes linger on the market, getting top dollar for your house requires hard work. It should eventually sell as is, but if you want to maximize your profit, you may need to do upgrades. That’s especially true for many pre-retirees who have been in their homes for decades and are preparing to downsize. Dated paint colors, cluttered living spaces and old cabinets and appliances can put off buyers, who have more houses to choose from.
“It is really imperative for sellers to actually sell their homes,” says Jeff Tucker, a senior economist at Zillow. “They have to convince buyers that it is a great deal, that it’s well-maintained and it’s ready to move into. Going the extra mile to help the home look the best will deliver much more.”
Depending on where you live, you may not have to replace kitchen cabinets or install hardwood floors to get top dollar in a sale, but there are some upgrades that will give you a strong return on your investment (ROI). Here’s a look at six of them.
1. Exterior upgrades
Nothing raises red flags more than an exterior that is old and weathered. Chipped paint, a busted garage door and siding in disrepair are all bad signs for would-be buyers.
“The data in Cost vs. Value over the past 20 years shows overwhelmingly that for single-family detached homes, it’s the exterior replacement jobs — siding, the garage door, roofing — that tend to have the highest return on value,” says Clayton DeKorne, chief editor at JLC Group at Zonda Media, a real estate market research firm. “Why? Psychologically, when a prospective buyer rolls up to a home that looks pulled together and in good repair, they walk into that deal with a positive impression of the home.”
Not convinced? Consider a garage door replacement. According to the 2023 Cost vs. Value report, nationwide it costs about $4,302 to swap out a garage door. The ROI: 102.7 percent. Installing manufactured stone veneers on the exterior of your home will get you a 102.3 percent ROI. And you’ll recoup 94.7 percent of the cost of replacing vinyl siding. If you replace the vinyl windows in your home, you should get back about 68.5 percent of your investment.