Creative Commons - Mark Moz

When clients are focused on selling their home, they want the best return on their renovations upon resale. While kitchens and bathrooms are a primary selling point, they aren’t the only features that could make or break the sale. In the past, kitchens were thought to have recouped 75% to 80% of costs upon resale, but according to 2015 data from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), that resale return is really at 67%.

In some cases, the homeowner will already be working with a real estate agent, who will have a renovation list prepared. In other cases, the client will expect the remodeler to make suggestions. Here are a few to keep in mind:

1. Upgrade the Exterior with New Vinyl Siding
Anything done to improve the outer appearance of the home helps to catch a buyer’s attention as they flip through catalogs and online ads. New vinyl siding is an affordable and effective cost, especially if there is physical damage to the old siding.

Per the 2015 NARI report, it’s cost effective to replace the old with new for around $12,000, and at resale, most owners recoup 83% of their investment. New siding adds to the effect of curb appeal upon prospective buyers, which should be a vital goal of any remodeling projects where the client is preparing for a resale.

2. Focus on Curb Appeal
First impressions are important. When prospective buyers pull up to the curb, they take in the presence of the house. Curb appeal is vital to making a good first impression if the client is looking to sell their home.

Ideas to enhance the home’s exterior include upgrading windows, coverings, entry doors, and garage doors. The biggest impact on an exterior home makeover is a garage door upgrade, which accounts for 20% to 40% of the home’s front elevation. It’s the biggest amount of unbroken square footage to make a change to when it comes to the exterior--and it's one of the more affordable changes.

From Coachman to Canyon Ridge, the styles of garage doors are versatile, made of real wood, strong steel, and other pleasing, beneficial materials. Once a client has chosen a garage door, if they replace the entry door with a similar design or color, it ups the curb appeal value even more.

Garages are also a potential source of high energy usage, increasing utility costs, and a new garage door provides more insulation. This increasing value by saving the prospective buyer more money in the long run.

3. Install New Wood Floors
Revisiting the 2015 NARI report, the installation of real hardwood floors will get clients the most bang for their buck = at resale. Typically, the cost to install new floors is around $5,500. A homeowner is set to recoup around 91% of their investment when putting in new wood floors.

There’s a charm to wood floors, and the eye moves across various rooms more easily if the wood floor installation is a multi-room job. This visually expands the room to prospective buyers, making smaller rooms seem larger and adding an old-world charm to a home. If the client already has hardwood floors, suggest refinishing.

Important note: Encourage clients to go for hardwood over engineered wood-like flooring, since the engineered products occasionally contain formaldehyde.

4. Upgrade the Roof
Another top suggestion for return on investment in resale renovation is a new roof. This upgrade boosts the home's resale value by the national average of about $12,000, and a new roof installation commonly recoups 62.9% of the cost to install it.

Remind clients that upgrading the roof will have multiple benefits. It will automatically give the home a makeover, with added curb appeal. The client will avoid any building inspection concerns. Longer warranties exist for certain roofs, such as for asphalt shingles, which get up to 50 years on a warranty. A new roof will also help the buyer save more money on utility costs, and some roofs are energy efficient and reflect solar heat.

When speaking to a client looking to sell, remodelers should focus on these proven suggestions. The client's first idea may be a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but in the wide scope of things, siding, wood floors, entry doors, garage doors, and a new roof are a few of the most practical, energy-efficient, and aesthetically-pleasing choices that will make the best first impression on a prospective buyer.