Can you list the home renovations that get the best returns for sellers? If not, can you honestly claim to get top dollar for sellers’ homes?

  • Sellers often lose money making high-cost renovations. Inexpensive renovations tend to offer higher ROI and present less risk than costly projects.

Can you list the home renovations that get the best returns for sellers? If not, can you honestly claim to get top dollar for sellers’ homes?

Tracy McLaughlin

On a podcast with Pat Hiban, Tracy McLaughlin shared her expert advice on home renovations so more real estate agents can offer competent suggestions for boosting sale prices.

Below, we’ll cover five of the inexpensive home renovations that McLaughlin suggests to homeowners who want to sell their homes for as much as possible.

To learn more about renovating homes prior to sale and discover the factors that have helped McLaughlin rank as the top agent in her market for more than a decade, listen to the podcast below.

Saving on home renovations is smart

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to make poor choices concerning renovations when getting ready to sell, which is partially due to the disconnect between buyers and sellers.

Instead of getting returns on renovations, homeowners often lose money.

To prevent this from happening to you or your clients, remember one thing: inexpensive renovations tend to offer the highest returns.

Here are five inexpensive home renovations that return the most:

A fresh coat of paint

Tastes have changed in the past 10 years. Dark shades of paint are out, with most homebuyers committed to clean shades of neutral on their new walls.

When sellers want to increase interest in their home and boost their sale price quickly, repainting their walls white is often the fastest, cheapest way to do it.

If you plan on hosting an open house soon and only have time for a single home project, a fresh coat of paint is often the best choice.

Dark stained wood floors

When it comes to wood flooring, dark finishes tend to resonate more with buyers.

McLaughlin isn’t saying sellers should replace their hardwood flooring; that would be way too expensive to generate a return reliably.

What she is suggesting is staining and refinishing current wood floors for a darker look with more modern appeal.

New carpeting

There are situations where replacing materials makes more sense than attempting to refurbish them.

When a home has old dirty carpeting, for instance, deep cleanings often aren’t enough for buyers.

Ripping out and replacing carpeting is typically a straightforward job; it’s also a relatively inexpensive one.

Repainted cabinets with new hardware

It seems like just yesterday wooden kitchen cabinets were all the rage. Now, most buyers want something more stylish.

In most cases, it’s not necessary (or advisable) to spend $20,000-$30,000 on a kitchen remodel before putting a home on the market.

Updating kitchen cabinetry with a coat of white paint and new hardware is often all it takes to get a kitchen ready for buyers’ eyes.

Updated light fixtures

Another great way to boost the sale price on a home is to install better light fixtures.

Like the other renovations on this list, this is a cheap, easy project that’s almost always guaranteed to generate a decent return.

Even wiring and installing new lighting is fairly affordable, which is great for brightening up homes that have poor natural lighting.

More about the home renovations that return the most

As we emphasized earlier, the home renovations that return the most are often relatively inexpensive.

With greater cost comes greater risk, so sellers should think twice before dropping thousands of dollars on any home renovation project.

To learn more about ways to boost sale prices with smart home renovations, listen to the complete podcast with Tracy McLaughlin.

Pat Hiban is the author of the NYT bestselling book “6 steps to 7 figures: A Real Estate Professional’s Guide to Building Wealth and Creating Your Destiny,” the founder of online real estate sales training site Rebus University, and the host of Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, an agent-to-agent real estate podcast with Hiban Digital in Baltimore, Maryland. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Email Pat Hiban

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription