House hunters will likely wonder about the age and upkeep of certain big-ticket features in a home like the roof and HVAC system. But they will also likely be interested in just how move-in ready the home is. Sellers can take on some prep work to get their house move-in ready to appeal to the largest buyer pool.
HomeLight, a real estate referral company, recently interviewed real estate agents to list some of the top remodeling projects before selling a home. Some of the projects that topped their list:
- Average project cost: $954 to $2,893 (depending on location, paint type, and labor)
Stick with neutral colors throughout, like whites, beiges, or soft grays. “It’s fine when there’s an accent wall or whatever; that’s different,” MaryBeth Harrison, a real estate professional in Dallas, told HomeLight. “But when every room’s a different color … that’s cheap to fix with paint.” More than half of real estate professionals surveyed by HomeLight said they advise sellers to paint their interiors before listing. Some of the most popular colors: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray and Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.
2. Keep flooring consistent
- To install carpet: $789 to $2,794
- To install hardwood floors: $2,493 to $6,754
- To install vinyl floors: $800 to $2,900
Real estate pros may be more likely to recommend this house project if the home has several different kinds of flooring throughout. A more uniform flooring look—one or two types—can be more appealing to buyers. Real estate pros say that many buyers may expect hardwood floors or premium vinyl. But not all carpeting has to go. However, many real estate pros do suggest removing any dated carpet, like those in bright colors, as well as any stained or worn carpet.
3. Brighten the kitchen
- Average project cost: $382 to $1,064 (depending on equipment and labor); $2 to $20 per piece of hardware
White-colored kitchens remain the most popular. They can brighten the look of the space. “What the buyers are looking for today is white and clean—they just want clean,” Harrison told HomeLight. “It doesn’t have to be stark white. But they just want a clean palette.”
Dated kitchen cabinets can be painted by a pro for a quick fix. If the kitchen has other colors throughout, real estate pros recommend painting the walls white to try to brighten the space. Also, kitchen cabinets can get an upgrade with new hardware, such as hand pulls.
4. Replace dated countertops and appliances
- Average project cost: $40 to $100 per square foot for new countertops (depending on material); $1,360 to $19,050 for appliances
Dated appliances and countertops can turn off buyers. If replacing the countertop, Harrison suggests a bright, monochromatic look, such as a gray or white countertop made of granite, marble, or quartz. Butcher block countertops could be a more cost-effective option. Harrison advises against brown or multicolored granite, which she says can date a home. She also recommends not replacing a countertop if the rest of the kitchen has not been upgraded and is dated. New countertops will look out of place.
5. Hire a professional cleaner for your bathroom
- Average project cost: $70 to $85 per hour for a professional
A thorough cleaning of the bathroom can make a big difference, and often a professional cleaner can do the most thorough job. Pay attention to tile grout lines and any signs of mildew.