If your version of spring cleaning includes selling your entire house completely (hey, no judgment if you want to start fresh), you're in luck — Zillow has released a new study that explains where you'll get the best bang for your buck in terms of prepping your house for sale.
While it'd be lovely to simply leave your house as is when you put it on the market, the reality is that you need to invest in a renovation or two in order to maximize your home's value. Actually, according to Zillow, most people complete 2.2 renovation projects on average when selling their house. But they also note that the key to maximizing ROI is to follow four simple rules.
- Improve your home's curb appeal. You've gotta dress (your house) to impress. Spruce up your landscaping and repaint your home in order to woo potential buyers. Just don't paint your home yellow — Zillow reports that yellow houses often sell for $3,500 less than expected.
- Go for that bathroom reno.
You've heard that you should upgrade your bathroom a million times, and Zillow's study actually proves that to be sage advice. But moderation is key — spending too much on a bathroom renovation will actually hurt your ROI. Zillow suggests "replacing the toilet, tub, and light fixtures, adding a double sink, tiling the floor, and hanging some wallpaper."
- Upgrade your windows.
Again, moderation is key here. Zillow reports that replacing old windows can earn you up to $1.15 for every dollar spent, but warns that spending too much will have you break even.
- Keep everything trendy.
Pay attention to trends in home design, and update your house accordingly. Even if they'll eventually change the interiors anyway, potential buyers want to see an on-point look in a home, as it shows the potential of the space.
Zillow also shared some intel about the worst reno projects in terms of ROI — the kitchen and the basement. The kitchen is notoriously expensive when it comes to renovations, and buyers often want to modify the space to their own needs anyway. It's not worth investing a small fortune on your kitchen just to have it gutted after it's sold. As for the basement, you'll only get about 50 cents back for every dollar you spend to finish it, so it's best to just let it be.
Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.