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5 Home Improvement Projects to Do If You’re Trying to Sell Your House



While it may seem obvious, it’s worth repeating: When you put your house on the market, you want it to sell quickly. Case closed. But how do you make the magic happen?

Real estate agents know the real deal—curb appeal wins the day. First impressions matter to potential buyers, and that may mean completing some renovations before putting the house on the market to help it sell with speed.

If you’re interested in improving your home’s resale value, what project should you choose? Renovations can have varying impacts on your home’s value, so it might be worth doing a bit of research. The best value-boosting projects can change from year to year, depending on the economy, demand for raw materials, and buyer preference.

For example, recent natural disasters have increased demand for labor and certain housing materials, which may account for part of the reason some projects don’t have as much potential to make returns this year.

But buyers might go for updates that add pizazz. So you could focus on those to get the best price when you sell your home. If you’re trying to budget for some improvements, you can check SoFi’s renovation calculator to get an idea of how much you might spend.

So, what projects should you concentrate on when you’re preparing house for sale? One organization that has its pulse on the best home renovation objects is Remodeling, a magazine targeting the construction industry. The organization annually publishes a “Cost vs. Value” report to help sellers get the most for their homes.

Here are a few of the top projects that may help you attract buyers when you’re preparing your home for sale.

1. New Garage Door

It may sound like an odd update to make, but on many homes, the garage door takes up a lot of visible space if it faces the street. Sometimes, it’s the first thing the buyer sees.

If your garage door is old, damaged, or just plain ugly, a replacement is probably a must. But you might get a good return if you upgrade, even a little bit.

If you have a farmhouse-style house, wood doors can add a lot of charm and a bit of nostalgia. With more modern homes, sleek fiberglass or translucent designs mesh with contemporary styles. Manufacturers also offer unique types of garage door windows, creating an interesting, inviting look.

Average Cost: $3,470

2. Manufactured Stone Veneer

Do you want a big impact when buyers see the front of your home? You could replace some vinyl siding with man-made stone veneer.

Imagine a 3-foot-high band of rock running from the garage to the front door and across the rest of the front facade. Immediately impressive.

Manufacturers have improved the look of man made products so much, it can be difficult to tell the difference between real and manufactured stone.

They also offer a variety of types and colors to match your home’s style or regional preferences. And because veneer stone is comparable in price to natural stone, it’s really your own preference on how you want to upgrade your home’s curb appeal.

Average Cost: $8,221

3. Steel Entry Door Replacement

Visitors’ eyes are naturally drawn to the front door. So changing it up—whether that’s with a pop of color, a bit of texture, or adding upgraded accessories like door handles and kick plates—can be impactful changes when you’re preparing to sell your house.

But according to Remodeling, it doesn’t take that much money to add value to your home and potentially improve your sales price.

Most homes come with relatively lightweight metal doors. By replacing them with 20-gauge steel doors with dual pane windows and fancier molding around the entryway, inside and out, you could face a relatively low cost while adding value to your home.

You might finish it off with an upgraded threshold, jams, and a lockset, and you’ve turned a so-so entryway into a curbside star.

Average Cost: $1,471

4. Wood Deck Addition

If you have a backyard, you could improve its aesthetics and function with a new wood deck . Wood decks become family gathering places, outdoor kitchens, or lazy afternoon go-to spots.

The richness of wood, whether stained or not, could be an appealing element to add to your yard. A 16-foot by 20-foot deck of pressure-treated wood with railings and built-in benches could ramp up the value and catch the eyes of potential buyers.

Average Cost: $10,950

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen is still king when it comes to interior improvements. They add great value and a splash of style to your home. And you don’t have to embark on a major renovation to get back some of your investment.

Simple sanding, painting and new cabinet hardware can improve the look and feel of your kitchen. But if you have a dated cabinet design, refacing cabinets or completely replacing them means you can get a bang for your buck no matter your budget.

“Remodeling” magazine based its renovation example on a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinets. Rather than replacing completely, add new fronts with wood panels in the latest style and change out the hardware.

Add a stylish sink and new laminate countertops, buy new appliances that are energy efficient, repaint the room and change out the flooring and you’ll have a practically new kitchen.

Upgrade the lighting with one of the newest style hardware for a finishing touch.

Average Cost: $21,198

Avoiding These Home Improvement Projects

Not all home renovation projects pay off when you’re preparing house to sell.

In addition to roofs, air conditioning, and other functional units, there are several others that just aren’t worth the investment.

One of the worst is a new patio. While a new wood deck adds considerable value, patios do not. You may have your heart set on a flagstone patio and amazing outdoor kitchen, but you’ll likely only recoup approximately 47.6% . Likewise, adding an upscale master suite may only recoup 48.3% .

Such investments could be worthwhile but may not add as much value when you’re preparing house to sell. It’s worth taking the time to do a little bit of research on what is popular in your area since different regions value certain projects differently.

Paying for Your Projects

If you’re preparing your home for sale, it may make sense to look into a personal loan. Unlike a home equity loan, you can lock in a fixed rate on a home improvement loan, which adds protection in an environment of rising interest rates.

Learn more about SoFi personal loans today.

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The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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