Important Home Improvements for Sellers

Sometimes, getting the best price for your home means spending money before you ever put a “For Sale” sign in your yard. However, not every home improvement project will increase your home’s value. For the biggest impact with the best return on investment, consider making updates in these three areas before selling your home.

Attend to Major Repairs

It doesn’t matter how good your home looks if it has major problems. Buyers don’t want a house that requires big, costly repairs. Assess your home to identify significant repair needs before you list it. If a problem turns up during a buyer’s home inspection, it could cost you the sale.
Here are the major components to assess:
  • Roof: Check for curled, broken, or missing shingles, loose or rusted flashing, and water spots on interior ceilings.
  • Foundation: Look for doors and windows that are hard to open and close, cracks in the drywall, moisture in the basement or crawlspace, and certain types of foundation cracks.
  • HVAC: A system that is noisy, increasingly inefficient, or more than 10-15 years old may be due for replacement.
  • Mold: Assess for musty odors or visible mold. According to the CDC, respiratory problems in family members may also indicate mold problems.

Boost Curb Appeal

Most home buyers window-shop before scheduling a viewing or attending an open house, so it’s important that your home’s exterior is inviting. Thankfully, most home improvement projects designed to increase curb appeal are relatively inexpensive, and some you can do yourself.
  • Front door and garage: A fresh coat of paint in a contrasting color draws prospective buyers in.
  • Lighting: Ensure lighting over the front door and along the walkway is functional and bright enough that people can view your home after dark.
  • Landscaping: Well-designed landscaping turns a boring lawn into a lush garden. In addition to keeping the yard tidy and trimmed, add fresh mulch and install high-impact elements like landscape lighting, window boxes, and evergreen plants.
  • Patios and walkways: Repair and clean existing patios and walkways that are cracked, dirty, or overgrown. If your home doesn’t feature a patio or walkway, consider installing one made out of flagstone for an affordable and appealing update.

Make the Interior Shine

With some exceptions, indoor improvements generally focus on appearance over function. Buyers want a house that feels modern and clean, so sellers should focus on updating their home to reflect current interior design trends. However, these updates are more important in some rooms than others; while buyers will probably forgive ugly paint colors in bedrooms, outdated kitchen cabinets may be harder to overlook. Here’s where sellers should focus their efforts:
  • Kitchen: Refinish old cabinets, update hardware, and consider replacing major appliances with stainless steel models. While a minor kitchen remodel has a strong return on investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, sellers should avoid a full remodel, or they may lose money.
  • Bathroom: At an average cost of $8,820, bathroom remodels can be pricey. However, adding a walk-in shower, ceramic tile flooring, and a solid surface vanity can pay for itself when you sell.
  • Flooring: There’s no hiding damaged or dirty flooring. Refinish hardwood, repair cracked tiles, and consider replacing outdated carpeting.


The most valuable home improvement projects aren’t always the most affordable ones. As you assess the value of potential home updates, consider not just dollars and cents, but also the features that are most likely to impress buyers—or turn them away before they give your house a chance. When you ensure your home looks and functions its best, you give it the greatest chance of a speedy and successful sale.

Article by Seth Murphy
Seth Murphy first got into doing DIY projects to save money, but over time he has developed a real passion for this hands-on, intensive work. He knows DIY can be intimidating so he created to share tips and help others with their own endeavors.