5 Home Renovations to Boost Your Resale Value

Despite an undoubtedly challenging year, 2020 brought with it a surprising boost for the real estate market in Union County, NJ.

According to the Monthly Housing Market Statistics report from New Jersey Realtors, December saw a significant increase in new listings, closed sales, and median sales prices for properties across the county. The report analyzes a range of metrics—including the aforementioned—for single-family homes, townhouses/condos, and adult communities. At the time of writing, the most current information available was the December statistics.

Indeed, the increase in median sale value for all three property groups is as follows:

  • Single-family homes increased from $400,000 in 2019 to $443,000 in 2020
  • Townhouses/condos increased from $235,000 in 2019 to $270,625 in 2020
  • Adult communities increased from $245,000 in 2019 to $322,500 in 2020

With significant jumps in value for all three property groups, it’s safe to say it truly is a sellers’ market in Union County, NJ. While this is not good news if you’re looking to buy, for homeowners the current market is certainly in your favor.

Yet, even if the market is working in your favor, the savvy homeowner knows to invest in their home to get the most resale value possible. The best way to reap the benefits of your home’s sale is by completing home renovations.

But, the key question is: Which home renovations will give you the greatest return on your investment?

To answer this question and give you the tools for a successful sale, the experts at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains and Metuchen have put together the following guide. Continue reading to discover the best home renovations to complete for boosting the resale value of your home, as well as quick fixes that get the job done.

1. Landscaping

As a prospective buyer pulls up to your house, excited and nervous at the possibility they may be finding their new home, first impressions are everything. And the first impression of your home is its exterior. A patchy lawn riddled with weeds and overgrown hedges is hardly appealing. When a buyer arrives at your home they want to be able to envision themselves living there; their dog running around the yard, children playing in the garden, and parents relaxing on the porch with a cool beverage on a hot summer’s day. Even in snowy months, your front yard should still look tidy and presentable—offering the promise of a beautiful lawn come spring.

A few ways to spruce up your front yard include:

  • Removing any dead fauna, such as trees, fallen leaves, and brown grass
  • Removing weeds like crabgrass, dandelions, moss, and mushrooms
  • Trimming overgrown bushes, hedgerows, and grass
  • Re-sodding or planting grass seed; especially over patchy areas
  • Adding finishing touches like potted plants or newly planted shrubs and perennials

The Lowdown

Landscaping costs vary depending on the work you need to be done. For instance, according to HomeAdvisor, the national average for installing sod is $1,869. If you’re planning on going the full mile with a complete yard makeover, hiring a landscape designer runs an average of $4,505. That said, a professionally landscaped property can increase your home’s resale value. In an article in HouseLogic.com, landscape economist John Harris said good landscaping can add up to 28% of the overall value of a house, and reduce its time on the market by 10% to 15%.

On a Budget

If investing thousands of dollars in your home doesn’t make sense financially, there are a few low-cost DIY alternatives. You likely already have the tools to quickly mow your lawn, rake leaves, and spruce up your yard. If you don’t have the time, there’s probably an entrepreneurial-minded teen living in your neighborhood who could lend a hand pulling weeds, trimming hedges, and cutting the grass for a reasonable fee. If your lawn has seen better days, a 20lb bag of grass seed costs between $30 and $60.

2. Exterior Improvements

Although your landscaping greatly impacts your home’s first impression to prospective buyers, there are a few other factors that affect your overall curb appeal.

Fence Repair

It’s imperative to maintain the appearance of your fence. Make sure any missing slats and pickets are promptly replaced. If your fence has been worn by sun exposure and changing weather, consider sprucing it up with a fresh coat of paint or stain. Your fence not only guards your property and provides privacy, but it also acts like a frame around the “picture” of your home’s exterior. Keeping your fence in good condition makes your place look more upscale and put together.

Fix Damaged Siding

Siding that is falling apart, warped or buckling, or stained from mildew and mold detracts from your home’s appearance. Even if you have a beautiful house, dirty and faded siding will deter prospective buyers. Like your fence, it’s important your siding is in tip-top condition.

Exterior Painting

Is your home’s exterior color outdated? Or does it blend in with all the other houses on your street? Make your home stand out with a fresh coat of paint. Consider colors that are on-trend for 2021, which would look suitable for the outside of your home. For instance, if all the houses on your block are dull gray or off-white, why not paint your home in an eye-popping olive green or storm blue? If you can’t paint the entirety of your home’s exterior, what about the window and door frame trim? You’ll be amazed at the difference a simple paint job can make.

Masonry Projects

Do you have a stone or brick walkway leading up to your home? What kind of condition is it in? Even if your lawn is a verdant green, chips, cracks, and missing stones in your walkway will look unkempt. Also, cracks and uneven paving can be hazardous. You wouldn’t want a prospective buyer to trip and hurt themselves on the way to view your home! Talk to a masonry about fixing up your brickwork to help make a great first impression of your home.

The Lowdown

Much like landscaping, the cost of fixing up the exterior of your home ranges significantly. For instance, according to Remodeling magazine, if you have to replace damaged vinyl siding it could cost up to $17,819, but have a resale value of $13,388—recouping 75.1% of your investment. In a 2019 HomeLight survey of more than 900 real estate agents, the average cost of painting a home’s exterior was $2,803 and the estimated added value was $4,228—roughly a 51% return on investment.

Other repairs, like replacing broken fence slats, fixing damaged brickwork, or repairing a section of siding (as opposed to replacing your siding entirely) can also be scheduled with the team at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains, and Metuchen. We are your “one call does it all!” handyman service. If you’ve taken a look at your home’s exterior and realized there’s a list of touch-ups that need to be done before your open house, give us a call. We’ll get all your to-dos done so your home can put its best foot forward.

On a Budget

An easy way to refresh your home’s exterior is by hiring a power washing service. Rather than replace your siding with an updated style, a quick power wash can make the vinyl siding look as good as new.

3. Transform Your Interior with Paint

Painting the interior of your home is the most cost-effective improvement with the highest rate of return. When choosing colors, keep in mind you want to create a space where buyers can envision themselves living. Color can be very personal. And while you might love your fire engine red feature wall, bold colors often don’t fare well in open houses. Instead, stick to a neutral color palette. Neutral colors work well because buyers can picture space with their own possessions since neutral tones go well with anything. Consider painting your entire home in beiges, tans, off-whites, and grays. In fact, one of the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2021 is a delightfully neutral gray called “Ultimate Gray.”

The Lowdown

In a study completed by HomeGrain.com, hiring a professional service to paint your home’s interior had an average return on investment of 107%. In the state of New Jersey, it costs an estimated $2 to $5 per square foot to paint the interior of your home. The average sized home in the US is roughly 2,300 square feet, meaning the total cost would be around $6,900 (at $3 per square foot). At an ROI of 107%, you’re not only recouping the cost to paint your home but also ending up with a surplus of around $483.

On a Budget

Do you want to reap the benefits of painting your home, without the cost of hiring professionals? If you’re DIY-inclined, you can easily paint your home by yourself. It’s possible to buy brushes/rollers/trays, painter's tape, tarps, and paint/primer for slightly over $100.

4. Bathroom Update

A midrange bathroom update can boost the resale value of your home. Likewise, an outdated or dingy space can really detract from it. When preparing for buyers, think of your bathroom as if you were visiting a five-star hotel. Not only should the space be clinically clean, but it should make buyers feel like they’ve found a little oasis they can call their own. Consider neutral, inviting tones, quality materials, and up-to-date features and fixtures. Create a space that evokes calm, and has usable functionality.

A few reasonable updates for your bathroom include:

  • Installing natural stone countertops
  • Installing new ceramic or porcelain tile
  • Replacing metal-framed shower doors with frameless models
  • Refinishing or replacing cabinets
  • Installing new faucets and tub fixtures

The Lowdown

According to Remodeling magazine, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs about $22,158 with a return on investment of $13,840—meaning you recoup around 62.5% of total costs. If you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom, it’s worthwhile to do so while you still have time to enjoy the space. Any remodeling project is an investment. If you know you’re planning on selling your home in less than five years, we suggest hopping on the remodeling train sooner rather than later. That way you benefit from boosting the resale value of your home, and can enjoy the revitalized space.

If you're looking to update your bathroom, be sure you hire a professional, trustworthy contractor such as the team at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains and Metuchen. Our handyman experts have an average of 20 years’ of experience in the trades, including construction, carpentry, and masonry. From laying new tile to fitting bespoke cabinets, we can create a bathroom that will make buyers jump at the chance to put in an offer.

On a Budget

If remodeling your bathroom isn’t a reality for you, or you simply don’t have the time before your house goes up for sale, consider the following tricks to make the space look its best.

  • Replace old grout with a fresh, neutral color
  • Paint cabinets white or cream
  • Buy a new shower curtain and bathmat
  • Display “guest” or luxury towels in a matching set
  • Replace cold light bulbs with warm-tones
  • Remove clutter

5. Kitchen Makeover

Like your bathroom, an updated kitchen will increase your home’s resale value. Many buyers will spend time looking at your kitchen to ensure it’s equipped with updated appliances, ample countertop space, and backsplashes that are in good condition. The good news is that a minor kitchen remodel will actually reap the most benefits. In addition to ensuring your kitchen is spotless during the open house, consider the following updates:

  • Install natural stone countertops
  • Replace old fixtures
  • Re-tile the backsplash
  • Replace or refinish cabinets
  • Update light fixtures
  • Invest in up-to-date appliances

The Lowdown

A minor kitchen remodel will cost around $24,049 with a resale value of $19,178—according to Remodeling magazine. In total, you’ll receive a 79.7% return on your investment. This compares to a 56.3% ROI on a mid-range kitchen remodel, and 52.3% ROI on a major kitchen remodel. Suffice it to say, even the simplest changes in the kitchen make a huge difference to your home.

Similar to how Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains and Metuchen is the go-to team for your bathroom update, we’re also perfect for a minor kitchen remodel. Many other contractors are more interested in tackling big projects they know will keep their team employed for weeks, even months. At Mr. Handyman, we thrive on smaller projects that require our niche skill set.

On a Budget

If you can’t invest in multiple kitchen updates, choose to revitalize your cabinets. Since cabinets take up the majority of real estate in the kitchen, they can make or break the space’s aesthetic. For instance, even if your appliances are older, kitschy vinyl cabinets will make the space look more dated than modern, neutral wood models.

Bonus Tip: Hire the Pros at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains and Metuchen

Are you ready to get the most out of your home’s sale by investing in renovations? If so, we invite you to call the experts at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains and Metuchen. Our qualified, experienced, and courteous technicians will expertly handle all your home renovation needs. Not only are we recognized throughout Union County for our outstanding workmanship, but also for our commitment to customer service. We care about our community and treat all our clients with respect and integrity.

We invite you to call our friendly team or to request a service online to get started on your next project today.