My husband and I are getting ready to remodel a home in the Elizabeth neighborhood. It’s a massive project that I’ll be sure to share with you as we really start getting our hands dirty.

Home renovation projects come in all sizes and most homeowners have had to tackle at least one. What are the most efficient for ROI?

One of the questions I am asked the most by potential sellers is, ‘What should I spend my money on to sell my home?” My advice is always to spend your budget first on needed and known repairs waaayyyy before finishes and aesthetics.

While you may dream of upgrading your countertops to quartz, painting the kids old bedroom with a fun statement wall, or installing a second dishwasher, not every project gives you the same return on investment.

Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report says homeowners get back an average of 64% on every dollar spent on home improvements. 

Before you start planning that gourmet kitchen or spa-like bathrooms, brace yourself. The highest returns come from home maintenance projects. Now don’t get me wrong, a new kitchen or bath adds huge value and can help push a buyer to make an offer but it won’t make them overlook major electrical issues or a leaky roof.

ATTIC INSULATION: Attic insulation tops the list for a second year in a row. Yes, putting in loose fill fiberglass attic insulation is the only project that returns a higher value than its cost. It has an ROI of 107.7%

SIDING REPLACEMENT: In general, projects that improve a home’s curb appeal did better than those that focused on interior options. For example, siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. For those of you trying to sell your home, take note! The fact siding is low maintenance is an added value for some buyers.

BASEMENT REMODEL: a basement remodel is one of the top ten home improvement projects that give you a return on your investment. It’s a good way to add living space without building an addition. If your basement is in poor condition make sure you fix drainage problems before beginning a remodel. Nothing can turn off a buyer quicker than walking from a beautiful kitchen into a dark or musty smelling basement. No one wants the headache of water damage or mold.

ROOF REPLACEMENT: The average cost for a roof replacement is $11,376. On the East Coast, homeowners recoup an average of 96.3 percent of the cost.

BATHROOM VS. KITCHEN REMODEL: Either is a good investment. A bathroom remodel is often less expensive than remodeling a kitchen and it takes less time.  According to Consumer Reports 52% of real estate professionals consider the kitchen the most important room to influence a house sale versus 42% who consider the bathroom to be the most important room.

The bottom line is your home doesn’t have to be perfect to sell. Most buyers expect to make some cosmetic changes to a home. In fact, one study shows more than 70% of buyers who purchased a home knew what they planned to change before they even closed the deal. It’s the structural issues of a house that might scare them off! I encourage my sellers to get a pre-listing home inspection done.  Having an inspection done will reveal any surprises so you can decide what you are willing to fix ahead of time.  Plus it puts homebuyers at ease when you are able to disclose any potential issues upfront.   It’s nice for homeowners to know they won’t have to spend money on basic upkeep or routine systems so they can spend their extra money customizing interior spaces exactly how they want it. That’s the fun stuff!