Upgraded amenities homebuyers look for

With homes selling for top dollar in many markets lately, some sellers may question the decision to spiff up their abodes above and beyond “as is” condition. Truth is, however, that homes boasting the in-demand features and frills buyers crave will likely sell sooner and net a bigger profit. And that's why it pays to add popular upgrades to a home before listing it for sale, insist the experts.

“Upgrades to your home are critical for getting your home sold, as the right improvements can increase a home's marketability and desirability,” says Jeff Martel, a broker and owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43°North in Boise, Idaho. “The market is shifting, and we're beginning to see more housing inventory on the market. Only the best and most marketable homes will still enjoy the brisk sales pace we've been accustomed to.”

Teresa Mack, broker with Los Angeles-based Pacific Playa Realty, says “Sellers want top dollar, and buyers want a deal. In-trend amenities can close the gap in favor of the seller.”

But not all upgrades are valued alike or worth the investment.

“Buyers today value what they can see and feel in a home. A new roof or new plumbing are important improvements, but vaulted ceilings or a remodeled kitchen can have a wow factor that makes the buyer feel like their money is well spent. Buyers often initially make offers based on what they see, not what they know, about a home,” says Mack, who adds that upgraded homes can sell for 10% to 25% more than homes in need of improvements. “And buyers often perceive the cost of repairs and upgrades as higher than they will actually cost.”

Here are seven fashionable fixes worth making that can help you home sell for more money:

1. Repaint using buyer-friendly colors.

A fresh coat of paint on walls, ceilings and baseboards can work wonders — hiding imperfections, lightening living spaces and casting a fresh glow.

“We're seeing more white and grays than tans and beiges of the past, so try to stick with a neutral paint palette,” recommends Clayton Katz, broker associate with John Daugherty Realtors in Houston.

2. Undergo a minor kitchen redo.

“Renewing your kitchen by adding simple butcher block counters, lacquering the cabinets with new paint, and adding some on-trend cabinet pulls can instantly increase its appeal,” says Courtney Poulos, owner broker of Acme Real Estate in Los Angeles. Katz adds that white-on-white kitchens with either quartz or marble countertops and shaker cabinets are also hot choices.

3. Put in a new and stylish front door.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that first impression is usually made with the front door,” says Martel, who advises choosing a sturdy solid wood, steel or fiberglass door that matches the design aesthetic of your home.

Consider a door with eye-catching carvings, moldings, stiles and rails, decorative glass accents, and stylish hardware like oil-rubbed bronze or satin nickel handles, knobs and hinges.

4. Replace old and inefficient windows.

“Vinyl replacement windows provide both a visual upgrade, a functional advantage and greater energy efficiency that buyers appreciate,” Mack suggests.

If your budget allows, consider wood casement windows that sport a more striking and upscale look.

5. Create a “spalike” experience in the master bath.

“Adding luxury features like a heated towel rack, extra storage, upgraded shower head, aromatherapy products and a fluffy bath rug aren't expensive but will leave buyers feeling like the home is very modern,” Martel says.

6. Swap out those old lighting fixtures.

“Hit the refresh button and improve illumination in your living spaces by replacing outdated fixtures with trendy but understated fixtures,” says India Kershaw, a Realtor and managing partner with Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered Sims & Kershaw Realty.

7. Up your home's IQ with smart features.

“Technology is probably the fastest growing popular upgrade today and often the easiest to implement,” says Martel. “A new Nest thermostat, Ring video doorbell, Philips Hue smart bulbs, and smart speaker or smart display, for example, represents tech that the buyer sees immediately and creates the feeling of a modern home.”

Smart-home technology, such as a programmable thermostat, is one of the fastest growing home upgrades today.
A fresh coat of paint can help sell your house quickly. Experts advise white and gray are popular, "buyer-friendly" choices right now.
A beautiful front entrance, with either a new or freshly painted door, improves your home's curb appeal.
A fresh coat of paint can help sell your house quickly. Experts advise white and gray are popular, "buyer-friendly" choices right now.
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