When putting up a home for sale, a seller may look to improve a few things to either speed up the sale or increase its value.

However, if you’re not careful, you’ll spend a lot of money and fail to accomplish either goal.

In my experience as a Realtor, I’ve seen improvements that did little to move the needle. Here are a few examples:

  1. Insulation. Spending thousands upgrading your home’s insulation will improve its heating and cooling efficiency. But potential buyers can’t see the work you’ve done because it’s hidden behind the walls, or in the attic. Most homeowners already expect the house to have good insulation.
  2. Solar energy. While this is a popular add-on for many homeowners, very few buyers are interested in pre-existing systems. You’re not likely to get back anywhere near what you put into it, and a current lease or loan that a new homeowner would have to assume is viewed as a headache.
  3. Plantation shutters. These window dressings are beautiful additions to any home. But they can cost thousands of dollars to outfit a home. If the window treatments need replacement, install 2-inch blinds for about a tenth of the cost.
  4. Water softeners/filtration systems. Depending on how you purchase the system, you can easily spend up to $7,000 and get very little of it back in the sale of your home. Most buyers can’t tell the difference between a $500 system and one much more expensive, and an appraiser will not give you a higher value because of this addition.
  5. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When trying to decide whether to replace anything, consider functionality. For example, if you have a stove that’s working fine and it looks all right, just clean it. If the stove is broken, replace it. But keep in mind, you don’t need to spend extra money on high-end brands. A new affordable option that’s well-made will do the trick every time. Brand new always looks good.

Many of the improvements I’ve listed here are wonderful for a homeowner who plans to be there long-term. But their true value comes from the years of enjoyment and not from reselling.

I’m a big believer in renovations. I have a program where I loan sellers who list with me the money to improve their homes and increase the final sale price. But regardless of your approach, it’s important to make sure that the money spent garners a return.

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.


This sponsored story was first published in the September edition of InMaricopa Magazine.