Projects to Tackle When Selling Your House

Updated April 5, 2017
green grass, landscaped yard, house on a hill
There are several remodeling projects you can tackle in order to get top dollar for your house. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Hoi L.)

Get the best return on your investment with these home improvement projects.

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Prepping your house for the real estate market is a necessity to obtain top dollar from buyers. But you don’t want to sink too much money into a property that will soon no longer be yours. Recouping some of those funds at the closing table is ideal.

Aside from general house cleaning, organizing and staging — which you should always do before listing the house — here are some of the top midrange home improvement projects that yield the best return on your investment according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report

Fiberglass attic insulation

A home that’s toasty warm in the winter and cool throughout the summer is sometimes taken for granted, but not every house is insulated properly. If you suspect your house has insulation issues, have an insulation pro inspect the attic floor and make sure it’s sealed to prevent air leakage. Then cover it with fiberglass loose-fill insulation until the proper “R” factor for your climate zone is achieved.

The R-value measures the insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it – the higher the R-value, the better the insulation’s performance. A minimum value of R-30 is recommended, but will vary depending on where you live.

Cost recouped: 108 percent

Steel entry door replacement

It’s amazing the difference curb appeal can have on a house that you’re trying to sell. And nothing is more of a focal point than the front door.

If your entry door is faded or damaged, swap it out for a new version. Consider taking it up a notch by adding glass panels alongside or in the door. For a consistent look, try matching the new door with the garage door and/or the shutters. Complete the look with new hardware in a modern finish.

Cost recouped: 91 percent

Manufactured stone veneer

The idea of covering a portion of the exterior of your house with manufactured stone might be a new one for you, but it’s an attractive feature for potential buyers. The classic look of stone is a top trend in today’s market, and if you’re able to incorporate the look in your home’s exterior, it will be worth it.

There are a couple ways to get the look of a “stone” house, including replacing the existing vinyl siding from the lower portion of your home’s street-facing façade. You can also use the stone veneer to highlight an archway or porch columns.

Cost recouped: 90 percent

Minor kitchen remodel

If your kitchen is dated, certain updates can help attract buyers. Just remember to keep it neutral. Potential buyers want to picture themselves cooking and enjoying the space; they don’t want to be distracted by your ceramic rooster collection or wine-bottle wallpaper.

Replace or reface the cabinet surfaces and hardware, and make sure the appliances are energy-efficient models and match one another. Replace laminate countertops with a neutral-colored stone (granite or quartz are popular options) and update the flooring if necessary.

Cost recouped: 80 percent

Garage door replacement

It’s often overlooked, but the garage door can have quite an effect to a home’s overall appearance — especially if it faces the same direction as the front of the house. You might think garage doors just come in a few colors and with or without window cutouts, but there’s actually a wide variety of options.

If you’re stuck with a builder-grade garage door, upgrading it to a more stylish model is an investment worth considering. You can choose from steel, glass, wood, faux wood or aluminum doors that come in modern, contemporary or classic looks. Most garage door dealers have software programs which allow you to virtually “try on” different door options using a photograph of your house so you can see what might work best.

Cost recouped: 77 percent

What remodels would you recommend tackling before listing your house? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.

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