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Which Remodeling Jobs are Most Desirable to Homebuyers?


For countless people, the idea of owning property is still very much part of the American Dream. In fact, a recent survey found that 75 percent of US residents feel that buying a home is a priority. And for 82 percent of first-time buyers, the detached single-family home is their choice of dwelling. But just because most buyers tend to agree on the type of home they want, they might not always agree on the features they want inside the home. Or do they?

Whether they’re looking at luxury homes or at starter homes, there are certain universal features that buyers want to see. But knowing exactly what those features are may feel like a bit of a mystery. Sellers, for their part, often struggle with choosing the right renovations to take on before listing their homes on the market. Considering that US homeowners spend more than $300 billion per yearon residential renovations and repairs, it’s essential to choose wisely. Exactly which remodeling jobs offer the best ROI and manage to delight would-be buyers who walk in the door? Here are some of the renovation highlights you’ll want to keep in mind.

Minor Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen is referred to as the heart of the home for good reason. Aside from the obvious functional aspects, it’s where families tend to gather and to create countless memories together. So if your kitchen is a real eyesore, it could have a significant impact on your home’s selling price. While a major kitchen remodel can offer an ROI of approximately 65.3 percent, a minor renovation job can actually be the better choice (assuming you don’t need to perform a total gut job). According to 2017 data, a minor kitchen remodeling job can bring an 80.2 percent return on investment.

Kitchen renovation jobs can become costly very quickly, so you’ll need to keep your expenses in check if you really want to get the most bang for your buck. But buyers definitely want to see an updated kitchen that’s reflective of today’s preferences (e.g., clean and white). You don’t necessarily have to go for broke, as refacing or re-painting existing cabinets and switching out hardware can go a long way. But it’s important to work with a contractor if you plan on renovating here; a DIY job could result in expensive mistakes that diminish your potential ROI.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodeling is a popular option among both buyers and sellers. It doesn’t consistently offer the highest ROI, coming in at anywhere from 64.8 percent to a whopping 102 percent return. However, it’s still on the list because an outdated bathroom can totally detract from an otherwise amazing property. According to many real estate agents, bathrooms are the most important selling point after kitchens. While many buyers are willing to overlook an underwhelming half-bath, they might not be so forgiving when it comes to the ensuite.

That said, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg here, either. If you need to replace the toilet or the sink, you might consider taking those on. Replacing dingy or broken tiles will definitely be a must. If the bathroom is otherwise in good shape, you’d be amazed what a fresh coat of paint, a new mirror, some updated fixtures, and better lighting can do. Converting a tub into a shower may be costly, but it often pays off in the end (literally!). Just be aware that a bathroom addition probably won’t offer the kind of ROI you’d like. Unless your realtor believes your home really needs another bathroom to sell, you’re probably better off improving what you already have.

Garage Door, Entryway, or Siding Replacement

This next category of updates may not be the most exciting, but the numbers don’t lie. They definitely have a positive impact on the money you’ll make back upon selling your home. If your beaten-up garage door has seen better days, you’d be surprised by the ROI a replacement might offer. It’s been estimated that this improvement project can have an ROI of anywhere from 76.9 percent to 91 percent, proving just how important your home’s exterior really is.

Speaking of doors, your front entry might also be due for an upgrade. Landscaping is always an excellent investment when selling a home. You can further support those efforts by replacing your existing front door with a new one made of steel. If you’re worried that might make your home look like a fortress, consider the fact that the ROI comes in at 101.8 percent. Of course, a fresh coat of paint, new house numbers, and improved hardware can also help ensure your home welcomes buyers from the start.

On that note, siding replacement is also a good bet. It can completely transform the look of your home and set the right tone from the moment potential buyers drive up to the front. Vinyl siding and fiber cement are both good choices, but above all else, the siding you pick should have widespread appeal.

While there are other home renovation jobs that offer high returns (like improving insulation or a roof replacement), most buyers will fall in love with the look of your home first. They might have concerns about energy efficiency or what a home inspection might find later on, of course. But the bathroom, kitchen, and exterior of your home may be considered to be the Big Three for prospective buyers. Therefore, focusing on fixing up these areas will likely help you in the end.