When preparing to sell your home, or simply trying to give it a facelift, it’s common to wonder what updates will provide the most return on investment. Which improvements or additions will add to your home's property value and equity? After all, if you’re going to put in the money to improve your home, you will want to know that your efforts could provide a return in the long run. 

It’s smart to be thinking about the future equity of your home, and these are questions our agents here at HomeCity get asked a lot. There is no one, go to upgrade that will work in every situation and with every budget. However, here are some of our top suggestions – straight from the experts themselves!

Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms. Remodeling the kitchen and master bath are the two best areas,” says Dallas agent Mike Williamson. “Kitchens and bathrooms that have new tile, counter tops, fixtures, and cabinets show very well.” If all of that seems a little daunting, that’s because it can be. If you are on a budget just installing new faucets, shower heads, and fixtures can do wonders. Replacing an old, outdated vanity with a modern, clean design can give your bathroom the facelift it needs. It’s a bit more work, but replacing old countertops and installing new cabinets can transform a kitchen from drab to fab.

Fresh paint. If the budget doesn't allow for a complete overhaul of the home, a coat of fresh paint will do wonders. “Fresh paint is one of the easiest ways to liven up a home,” says Dallas agent Christina Stephens. Paint the walls a neutral color if you’re selling so that the new prospective homeowners can imagine themselves in the space.

Add outdoor living. Outdoor living space is very attractive to buyers,” says Broker Seth Thompson. Adding that extra outside area is like adding an extra living space – especially for those who live in temperate climates. “A nice deck or patio makes the livable space of the home feel bigger too.” Austin agent Kirk Lewis chimed in confirming, “No question, the cheapest and most important thing you can do is add a backyard space for outdoor living via a deck or patio and landscaping. It’s very cost effective and adds immense value!"

First impressions matter. “First impressions are sometimes all a buyer needs to fall in love with the house,” advises Austin agent Josh Pruitt. “That being said I would concentrate on curb appeal. Plant some new flowers, keep a clean yard and consider painting the door a nice bright color to make that first impression a welcoming one.” Austin agent Laura Tumulty confirmed this saying, “I definitely agree that first impressions are key. Painting the front door and/or replacing an older garage door will make or break the curb appeal and attract buyers.” Austin agent Aly DeMaio agreed adding saying, “A brand new, decorative door with nice hardware is one of the easiest ways to update you home. Think wood, metal, or glass.”

Don't forget the laundry room and garage! "There are a lot of obvious updates, and they are obvious for a reason,” says Austin agent Gray Adkins. “It's all about functionality and enjoyment. Kitchen, bathrooms and curb appeal are great places to start if they aren't up to date already, but there are some really important spaces that get overlooked a lot of the time. A couple of great ways to add value to a property is by hitting the laundry room and garage. The more functional, the better. Make your spaces look great and work well and it's a win. Of course, you could always build an auxiliary guest house/mixed use structure in the back yard, but let's finish the house first!” 

Cleanliness is key. If you are selling your home and are on a very tight budget, just ensuring that the house is very clean can add perceived value to the property. Dallas agent Christie Malone says the home should be, “squeaky clean and decluttered; it makes the home appear well cared for.” A well cared for home is easier to sell, as it assures the home buyer that minimal repairs will be needed.

Utilizing just a few of these options when preparing to sell your home, or slowly updating and adding new features to the home over time while you live there can drastically improve you homes marketability, and ultimate sales price. It’s important to remember that your house is not only your place of residence but likely one of the most valuable items you own. Don’t forget – putting money and effort into your house can prove extremely profitable in the long run!