Home remodels are on the rise with fix and flip transactions. Even with the coronavirus pandemic, it seems like remodeling is on the rise. Unfortunately, the average average amount of return for home remodeling projects is on the decline. What does this mean for you? Great question.

According to an (Oct 2020) article from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies– “Annual expenditures for renovation and repair of the owner-occupied housing stock are expected to rise from about $332 billion today to $337 billion by the latter half of 2021,” says Abbe Will, Associate Project Director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “While a softening of growth is projected in 2021, recent strengthening of home prices and sales activity—including second home purchases—could provide further boosts to remodeling and repair next year.”

In light of the market, I’m going to give you a rundown of a few things that may help you decide what’s in and what’s out on the upgrade side of homeownership. Everything that glitters isn’t gold and everything that you shell out money for doesn’t necessarily add value. So let’s get into it :


This is the oldie but goodie. Paint is the cheapest means of updating a home while simultaneously adding value. Whether it’s touchup paint or simply painting the walls to a neutral color, paint can completely change the way a room feels. The great thing about paint is that it’s universal for so many things. You can paint siding, walls, cabinets, etc. any color to suit your needs.

The front of your house is the first thing potential buyers see, so make sure it’s warm and welcoming. A brightly colored door is a great way to draw attention to your house and make it feel modern and inviting.

Eliminate Eyesores

Buyers can be turned off by minor things that are visually unappealing to them. Get new outlet and lightswitch plates. These get super dirty with use, but are really cheap to replace ($1 or less each). Paint ugly tile. Some things like an ugly breaker box can be covered with a pretty canvas.


Cabinets are a major focus in the upgrade department since the kitchen is usually a big selling point for most homes. Somewhere around 42% of millennials prefer the trend of white cabinets, according to research by Houzz. Grey is on an upward trend as well.With that being said, let’s look into some options for upgrades in that department.

Photo credit: https://simplemadepretty.com/before-after-pictures-thatll-inspire-you-to-buy-a-fixer-upper/

Sometimes homeowners don’t want to spend the additional funds to completely replace cabinetry in the home. Painting your cabinets is like giving them facelift (hopefully a pain free one lol). A really good sanding and coat of paint may be the cheapest- yet most effective, way to do this. If your nervous about doing the tedious undertaking yourself, enlist a good painter. It’s still a cheaper alternative to replacing the cabinets all together.

You may also be tempted to replace the knobs and handles on cabinets in the kitchen. Do it! You would be surprised what a fresh set will do. It’s an inexpensive yet effective way to update your kitchen.

A Center Island

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone looking for a breakfast bar or peninsula in a kitchen. It’s all about the island. It can tie the kitchen into the rest of the home or an open floor plan. The more grand the better lol. If you want to make it super special for potential buyers – farmhouse sink in there maybe?


Imagine going to look at properties and you come across a home that screams “Buy Me”. You love the kitchen and then walk into a dark, grungy-looking bathroom. Not only is it visually unappealing, but it could also be a costly renovation for a potential buyer. To avoid this, think of the bathroom as a major selling point as well. Simple upgrades such as new light fixtures, a good cleaning, and a fresh coat of paint may be all you need to go from drab to fab!

On that note, I cannot forget to mention the bathroom sink situation. Nobody really wants to share a sink with their significant other or children lol. Double vanities are a huge bonus, especially if they’re in a private, en-suite master bathroom. Two is always better than one.

Preference vs Value

Some upgrades are more preference than value related. You don’t want to spend a fortune upgrading something that will not add value to your home, especially if you plan on selling.

Carpet vs laminate flooring

The battle between the carpet lovers, and haters is one for the ages. Most laminate flooring and carpets are right around the same price. So, it’s often hard to discern which one is better based off pricing alone. Being that laminate floor is almost expected in homes these days, pulling up your carpet to install laminate will do little to nothing to increase the value. This falls under the preference category.


Replacing your windows can cost a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars, which you won’t get back when you sell. Instead, make sure the existing frames are cleaned and well maintained. You may or may not get dinged in a home inspection for them. But that is what home inspections are for.


Out of sight out of mind could also mean out of sight no extra money. Buyers expect HVAC & plumbing to be in working condition (unless your selling the home “as-is” ) so its not something they are going to pay more for if you decide to overhaul the entire system. If you have no issues with HVAC or plumbing, it’s best to just leave well enough alone. Always maintain routine maintenance.

New Roof

The same principle applies when it comes to adding a new roof. Replacing a roof past its average life expectancy is considered a maintenance issue and won’t enable you to increase your asking price in most cases.

The Conclusion

Some homeowners will be shocked to find out what will (and Wont) be advantageous of them to improve the value of their property. While some of these enhancements won’t help you turn a bigger profit, they probably won’t hurt, either—just keep in mind, is what I’m spending going to yield me a profit? Give it a good amount of thought and research before shelling out the big bucks for nothing.

Article sources:

HowStuffWorks. “Top 10 Ways to Add Value to Your Home” https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/remodeling/5-ways-to-add-value-to-home.htm”. Accessed December 15, 2020

The Balance “7 Things That Won’t Increase Your Home Value.“ https://www.thebalance.com/things-dont-increase-home-value-4048933. Accessed December 15, 2020

Homelight. “What Upgrades Increase Home Value? 19 High-ROI Improvements Buyers Love.” https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-upgrades-increase-home-value/. Accessed December 15, 2020

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. “RESIDENTIAL REMODELING TO CONTINUE A STEADY EXPANSION”. https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/press-releases/residential-remodeling-continue-steady-expansion. Accessed December 15, 2020


Source:  https://daniellegetsreal.wordpress.com/2020/12/15/what-upgrades-increase-home-value/