A fresh coat of paint and trendy design can certainly impact a homebuyer’s first impression, but those efforts may not translate to more money in the seller’s pocket. Homeowners focused on maximum value should consider improvement projects that go beyond aesthetics.

The Basics

If you’re planning to put your home on the market, the first step to getting top value is eliminating glaring problems. Cracks in the sheetrock, leaks in the roof, or fixtures that don’t work will quickly scare buyers away and drive down your sales price. Keep your home well maintained and fix any unresolved issues before listing it for sale.

Surprisingly, one of the most cost-effective projects is also one of the least visible. Properly insulating the attic, with loose fiberglass insulation up to an R-30 value, will likely pay for itself. It’s also relatively affordable, averaging around $1,300 to complete. And, it will lower your utility bill in the meantime.


The real estate adage “kitchens sell homes” still rings true, though it’s an expensive undertaking to make major upgrades. If your current kitchen is undeniably outdated, it’s a smart idea to bring it into the current decade—but be careful not to overdo it. High-end appliances and bold pops of color in tile or marble may represent your aesthetic, but could alienate potential buyers that can’t personalize expensive additions to their tastes. Consider researching comparable homes in your area to get an idea of buyers’ expectations, and how to impress them. Otherwise you might struggle to get a reasonable return on your investment. When in doubt, err on the side of neutral colors and simple upgrades.

Curb Appeal

Refreshing the exterior of your house is always a good strategy, but chasing the latest color trend probably isn’t. If your existing paint is in good condition, consider focusing on the doors instead. You’ll get more bang-for-your-buck replacing a bland entry door with an elegant upgrade. Updating your older, worn garage door can also have a noticeable impact.

Additions Add Up

Other than location, the size of your home plays one of the most important roles in its value. If you plan to stay in your current home for some time, adding square footage can increase your enjoyment while you live there, and your asking price down the road.

If it’s not an existing feature of your home, the addition of a master suite not only ups the bedroom count, but adds one of the most requested amenities. A less expensive alternative includes adding a bathroom or family space. In any case, you will likely get more than half of the cost back when it comes time to sell.

Whether you’re shopping for a new home, or looking to finance the renovation of your current one, give an Open Mortgage Loan Originator a call today to discuss your options.

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