Resale Ready

Home improvements that maximize return on investment.

When approaching home improvements for resale, the first piece of advice Matt Leighton, an Arlington-based Realtor with Century 21 Redwood, offers is to hire professionals. Most homeowners’ first instinct is to DIY, but, “When you do it yourself, people can tell,” says Leighton. He also recommends focusing on cosmetic fixes rather than full-scale renovations—it is possible to keep these projects within a budget of only a couple hundred or couple thousand dollars.

The number-one home improvement Leighton suggests? Paint. You have probably customized your colors for your own family and lifestyle, but preparing for resale is the time to go neutral to appeal to the majority. In the bathroom, Leighton says minor upgrades, such as replacing outdated light fixtures and old tile work, are the way to go. Freshen up the kitchen by refacing cabinets or installing a granite countertop. But again, keep it neutral. “The reality is, whatever you do with it, people are going to want to do something else,” says Leighton.

Other finishing touches include landscaping—at a minimum, no overgrown or brown grass. And if you have old carpet that needs replacing, go for hardwood instead; it’s just a little more expensive and is much more desirable, advises Leighton. 


This article originally appeared in our June 2019 issue.

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