Linda D. Dempsey - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY


When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.


When you’re making upgrades to your home, aim for changes that have a higher return on investment (ROI). ROI refers to the amount of money you can expect to recoup when you sell your home. Changes that have a higher ROI mean you can expect to recoup a higher amount compared to what you paid for these upgrades. You might spend more on these upgrades in some cases, but you’ll get all or some of that money back when your home sells. Knowing which home upgrades have the best ROI can help you choose which changes to make to your home. Keep the following in mind, since these upgrades can help homeowners recoup more overall.

Manufactured Stone Veneer on Exterior

Manufactured stone veneer on the exterior of your home offers one of the highest ROI out of all home upgrade projects. This veneer can give your home an elegant look or a more rustic one, depending on the style of stone you choose. You don’t need to cover all or even most of your exterior with this veneer. In fact, covering about a third of the lower part of your exterior that faces the street is all you need. When you choose manufactured stone veneer for your exterior, you can expect to recoup roughly 95 percent of the cost. Average costs for this job are around $9,357.

New Garage Door

Replacing your garage door might not seem like it would have that much of an impact on your home value compared to making other changes. However, garage door replacements have a high ROI, making them a good upgrade. For the highest ROI, choose a high-quality steel garage door with foam insulation, thermal seals, galvanized steel hardware and windows with insulated glass. When you replace an outdated or older garage door with a new one, you can expect to recoup around 94 percent of the cost. This type of home upgrade costs roughly $3,695 on average.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Making some minor or smaller changes to your kitchen is a solid investment in terms of ROI. These changes don’t involve tearing out any part of your kitchen or making any other big changes. Examples of minor remodeling jobs in kitchens include replacing cabinet doors rather than entire cabinets, replacing countertops, installing new flooring and replacing appliances with energy-efficient ones. You can expect to recoup around 77 percent of the cost to make these minor upgrades to your kitchen. These changes typically cost around $23,452 to make.

Fiber-Cement or Vinyl Siding

When you need to update the siding on your home, consider choosing vinyl or fiber cement for a higher ROI compared to other materials. Fiber-cement siding or vinyl siding with a water-resistive barrier can provide your home with a fresh look while boosting its value. When you replace worn or older siding with vinyl siding, you can expect to recoup around 74 percent of the cost. When you replace your current siding with fiber-cement siding, you can expect to recoup around 77 percent of the cost. Vinyl siding replacement typically costs about $14,359, while fiber-cement siding replacement costs an average of $17,008.


Image by PlusONE from Shutterstock

The presence of natural light inside of your living space can have a tremendous impact on how you feel in your home. If you're interested in introducing more daylight into your space consider installing a skylight or light tube.

What are skylights?

A traditional skylight is a window set into the roof of your home. They bring light into the room from above. Many skylights are fixed but others open up to allow fresh air and ventilation. Higher-end options may include options like preinstalled blinds, tinted glass, power openers, and screens. Because they are installed from the roof, skylights are a great solution for bringing natural light into a finished attic space or a central stairway that might not have walls that connect with the exterior of the house. 

What is a light tube?

Sometimes, you can’t install a traditional skylight. When your home has a large attic, the skylight must recess through the attic to the room to let the light shine into the room. Since this doesn’t always work, an alternative is to install a light tube. These are shafts that pass from a domed glass in the roof into a room below the attic. The tube may have mirrors that reflect daylight down into the room even if the exit is not directly overhead. An advantage of a light-tube style skylight is that the exit location does not have to be directly above the room at all. It may even exit from a sidewall. 

The tube bends or reflects the light, so there are diverse architectural applications. You might install one in a shower, to light up a dark niche or even in a closet. Light tubes typically include LED lights, so they are useful both day and night.

If the light tube or skylight is installed correctly, it retains and enhances the home's energy efficiency, and complements the home's design features. If you're planning to install a skylight in a home you intend to sell, discuss the advantages with your local real estate professional to determine the return on your investment.


Image by Patrick Turban from Pixabay

Sunrooms offer a place where you can enjoy outdoor views and sunlight without actually being outside. Whether you’re avoiding the summer heat or staying warm in winter, you can still get plenty of natural light in a comfortable environment with a sunroom. Since these are different types of sunrooms to choose from, it’s important to become familiar with what each type offers. This can help you determine which sunroom is ideal for your home. 

3 Season Sunrooms

A 3 season sunroom is one that usually doesn’t have any heating or cooling from your home’s HVAC system. This type of sunroom is a suitable option if you live in a warmer climate with a low number of freezing or below freezing days. With this type of sunroom, you can get plenty of use out of it all year round. Keep in mind that you might need to use other means of heating or cooling it if needed, such as with space heaters or oscillating fans. 

4 Season Sunrooms

A 4 season sunroom, also known as an all season sunroom, differs from a 3 season sunroom in terms of heating and cooling. With this kind of sunroom, you can have your home’s HVAC system supply it with cool or warm air as needed. These sunrooms also typically have insulation added for additional comfort. This setup allows you to use your 4 season sunroom all year round without having to worry about whether or not it’s warm or cool enough. 

Solariums

Solariums are sunrooms that feature all glass, even on the ceiling. These sunrooms typically have straight or curved panes of glass where the walls and roof meet. This type of sunroom is ideal if you want to be able to see all around you, since solariums offer optimal views of your surroundings on all sides. You’ll also be getting more sunlight overall in a solarium with its glass ceiling and full glass walls. 

Conservatories

Conservatories are known for adding a certain historic charm to high-end homes. These luxurious sunrooms typically have segmented roofs with either glass panes or polycarbonate material, giving you the option to add more or less natural light overall depending on your preference. A conservatory is a good option when you want a sunroom with a more vintage or classic look rather than the more modern or contemporary style and appearance that solariums, 3 season sunrooms and 4 season sunrooms offer. 


Image by mnplatypus from Pixabay

Proper insulation not only helps you save on your energy bills. It reduces your energy impact on the environment and may create a great selling point for your home when the time comes. But knowing were to insulate an existing home can be a project. Here's what you need to know.

How to Do an Insulation Assessment

First, you'll need to turn off the power at the breaker box. Have your flashlights ready. 

Remove outlet covers around your home and look inside to see if you have insulation. You might not have to check every outlet, but do check them on multiple floors and one on each wall to understand how well walls are insulated. 

If you have a wall that gets hot in the summer or cold in the winter, you may want to dig deeper. Pull a little out to see what kind it is and how thick it is.

Next, check your attic, basement and crawlspaces. This insulation you can more easily see. Use a yardstick to measure its depth and look for areas that are thinner than others.

Additionally, you may consider insulating:

  • Around storm windows
  • On band joints
  • Around pipes that might freeze
  • Between the studs on a finished attic floor
  • What You'll Need to Install Installation

    There are many insulation projects you can DIY. For example, re-caulking leaky windows and sealing drafty doors can help tremendously. But you can also add insulation in the attic and basement with either loose-fill or blanket insulation. Here's what you need.

  • LED lamp clip-on. You need your hands, so flashlights won't cut it.
  • Insulation of choice
  • 1-2 3/4" plywood panels to stand on if there's no floor
  • Goggles and a mouth/nose mask to protect your eyes and lungs
  • Long sleeves and gloves to reduce residue settling on your skin. Some materials cause terrible itching and bleeding if scratched.
  • Staple gun (for rolls) or insulation blower (for loose)
  • Prep the Area

    Take this opportunity to look for leaks. If you see signs of active water damage, you need to repair it before laying insulation. Now, place your plywood so you have somewhere to stand safely.

    Lay Insulation

    Lay insulation in areas where it's lacking. You can staple it to roof beams and beams on the floor. Just cut it to size if needed. 

    Keep in mind that when you open a pack of roll insulation, it expands. So please don't open it until you have it in the general area where you want it.

    *Pro tip* To cut blanket insulation more easily to fit, lay a two-by-four over the place where you want to cut it. This temporarily compresses it there so that you have a thickness that's easier to cut through.

    If using loose insulation, power up your insulation blower and aim where padding is needed. Always, carefully rinse off after applying insulation to reduce skin and lung exposure.

    And you're ready for lower energy bills through winter and summer. For more tips DIY home maintenance tips, follow our blog.