Home updates and upgrades don't have to be significant to make a big impact.

7 Home Upgrades That Make a Difference

There is no end to the list of home upgrades you could do to your house. It seems there is always room for improvement somewhere, right? But which updates and projects are worth your time and money?

If you’re contemplating selling a home, reach out to Julia Monaghan Real Estate. Our team of experts can walk you through the must-do projects before you decide to list your home. Whether you’re ready to buy or sell, let’s connect and make a winning plan.

Upgrades can improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers, but they are also an excellent way to personalize your living space. Let’s dive into the seven home upgrades that give you the most bang for your buck.

1. Kitchen Mini-Remodel

The kitchen has more potential to make or break a home sale than any other room in your house. If your kitchen is dark, dated, or non-functional, many potential buyers will pass on buying your property. There are other fish in the sea.

But a total remodel can come with a price tag well beyond the potential bump in value for your home. How do you put the kitchen on your home upgrade list without breaking the bank? 

Painting or updating your cabinets is a great home upgrade that you will enjoy for years.

Try to keep your kitchen remodeling budget at 5-10% of the total value of your home, so no more than $30,000 for a $300,000 home. And you may be able to get by with spending a lot less. Pencil out your plan and take a look at prices before making any decisions. 

Some choices that can add appeal without major construction include:

  • Replacing knobs and hardware on your cabinets
  • Adding a tile or solid-surface backsplash
  • Painting the cabinets
  • Upgrading your countertops to granite or soapstone
  • Replacing your sink and faucet
  • Installing smart appliances
  • Laying luxury vinyl plank flooring

If you have your heart set on a more extensive remodel, and you’re going to be in your house for several more years, it’s probably a good idea. For most homeowners, the joy they get from a complete remodel is worth the price tag.

2. New Windows

New windows can be one of the best upgrades for a home. If your home’s windows are sticking, leaking, or inefficient, replacing them should be a high priority. 

Must-do home upgrades usually include new windows.

Windows that won’t open can be more than just an annoyance. In a bedroom, they can be a safety hazard in the event of a fire. You need two functional egresses in any bedroom, and usually, a window is one of those.

New windows also add curb appeal on the outside while adding natural light and beauty inside. Light-filled rooms tend to show well to potential buyers, so updated windows are an excellent choice if you’re preparing to sell.

Depending on the number and size of windows in your house, replacement costs can require a big chunk of change. But new windows can improve a home’s energy efficiency and reduce utility costs by up to 12%. This savings means that you start recovering your investment right away.

3. Updated Landscaping

There’s nothing like a good first impression. Homes with high curb appeal sell faster and for more money than homes that are only beautiful on the inside. 

If you aren’t planning on selling any time soon, landscaping is still an excellent home upgrade. The fun thing about a landscaping project is that it keeps getting better over time. Your plantings will grow and fill in, welcoming you every time you come home. 

Updated landscaping is a simple and beautiful home upgrade project.

Perennials and shrubs offer low-maintenance foliage and pops of color. Hardscaping provides structure and beauty. Consider hiring a landscape designer or architect to bring out the best features of your home.

4. Upgraded Garage Door

There is a lot of room for style in garage doors today. Whether your home is a bungalow or mid-century modern, there’s a garage door to fit without breaking the bank.

Today’s garage doors come in a variety of materials, including:

  • Steel
  • Fiberglass
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Aluminum

You also can personalize your garage door with choices like raised panels, windows, and custom colors. It’s kind of shocking how much of a change new garage doors can make!

5. Hardwood Floors

If your home has hardwood floors that have seen better days, it’s well worth the cost to refinish them. Homebuyers overwhelmingly prefer hard floors over carpet, especially in the main living areas.

And aside from resale value, hardwood floors also help keep allergens at bay and are easier to clean. If you don’t have hardwood floors in your home already, consider having them installed. This is one of the home upgrades that will almost certainly pay you back when it’s time to sell your house. 

6. A New Roof

A new roof is one of the most valuable home upgrades you can do.

While many home upgrades are simply beautiful, a new roof may also be crucial for safety and structural integrity. You deserve a functional roof, and homebuyers will expect it. Nobody wants to struggle with a leaky roof.

If your home’s roof has seen better days and is more than 20 years old, it might be time to consider a replacement. There are roofing materials and colors to complement just about any home style:

  • Spanish Tiles
  • Slate Shingles
  • Wood Shingles
  • Metal
  • Concrete Tiles
  • Asphalt
  • Green Roof

If you don’t need a total replacement, at least have an annual inspection so that you can stay on top of maintenance before problems arise. And if your home is part of an HOA, be sure to check the rules before you decide on a roof color or material. Many HOAs have restrictions in place regarding things like roofs, fences, and paint colors.

7. Smaller DIY Home Upgrades

The other home improvement projects on this list will likely require thousands of dollars. But there are plenty of smaller upgrades that homeowners can tackle on a budget. Here are a few ideas that won’t break the bank.

  • Update or add backsplashes. 
  • Upgrade your light fixtures.
  • Swap in new sink faucets. 
  • Add trim or wainscoting. 
  • Paint the front door. 
  • Paint the walls and ceiling.
Simple updates like faucets and backsplashes make a big difference.

Your Home, Your Rules

While many of these ideas can help you sell your home, the final decisions are yours. Some upgrades you might want to do quickly so that you can enjoy them while you live in the house. Others might be on the “when we sell someday” list. 

If you’re thinking about searching for a new home in the Portland Metro area, reach out to Julia Monaghan Real Estate today. We are here to guide you through selling, buying, or both.

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