Home sellers are often told to make upgrades to their home before they sell, but when is the right time to get those projects underway if you want to maximize your return on investment? 

It’s a tough balance because the sooner you remodel your kitchen, the sooner you’ll get to enjoy it yourself, but if you do it too soon, your upgrades may look outdated once you put your home on the market. 

In terms of general timelines, here’s how far in advance of your home sale you should make different upgrades so that they still look fresh and fetch top dollar.

Seven to 10 years away: This is a good time to redo your landscaping, upgrade your garage door, replace your roof (especially if it’s over 20 years old), and keep up with your repair list. Repairs on your home should be on your constant to-do list so that they don’t become exponentially larger once it’s time to sell. 

Five years away: This is a good time to start thinking about big-ticket items that might affect your sale but you don’t want to pay for all at once, such as replacing your HVAC system or anything that has a life expectancy that’s relatively long. Replacing these items now allows you to take advantage of their optimal operating efficiency and avoid concessions once it’s time to sell. Now’s the time to also consider switching out your front door. A new front door can really make the exterior of your home pop. 

Two years away: Now’s the time to do a kitchen or bathroom renovation. This kind of thing can be subjective, but you’re probably safe doing it during this time frame if you’re looking to enjoy your renovation. Pick your decor carefully, though, so you’re not stuck with an upgrade that’s already outdated. A trend is something that lasts roughly 10 years, so look for things that have been popular that last two or three years. This is also a good time to start cleaning out any area where you have an accumulation of things (cabinets, closets, garage, attic, ect.). Your future self will thank you for doing this time-intensive task early on. 

“Here’s how far in advance of your home sale you should make different upgrades so that they still look fresh and fetch top dollar.”

At this time, you should also consider having your home professionally inspected so that you don’t run into any unexpected issues once it’s time to sell. It’s much cheaper to repair these issues ahead of time than it is to negotiate with a seller over them. 

One year away: Now you’re getting into crunch time, and you need to tend to all the high-traffic areas and make any improvements that will freshen up your home. Think about redoing your floors, or at a minimum, having any hardwood floors professionally cleaned. If your carpet looks well-worn or dingy, now is a good time to replace it. Walls get dinged up all the time, so painting them before you list will make the home sparkle, and it will only take a week or two to finish. 

Another idea at this time would be to replace the accessory items in your home, such as the bedding, patio furniture, shower curtains, plumbing fixtures—all the embellishments that provide the “lipstick” for the foundational elements of your home. You want your house to shine like a penny instead of look like it’s well lived-in. 

If you have any questions about this or any other real estate-related topic, don’t hesitate to call or email me. I’d be happy to help you.