When deciding how to approach a remodeling project, there are many things to consider. Look at budget, longevity, and, perhaps most importantly, your motivation for taking on the project.

Who’s interested in buying your home?

If you’re remodeling in preparation for selling, consider your audience. If your current home will appeal to first-time home buyers, your choices will be different than if it will be marketed to second- or third-time buyers looking to upgrade.


First-time home buyers are more concerned with age (namely, is it new) and reliability than cosmetic concerns. After renting for years and having landlords or parents helping with maintenance, one of their biggest anxieties about buying a home is the responsibility of fixing what will inevitably malfunction.

Another important issue for them is energy efficiency, not only for lowering utility costs but also for environmental concerns.

If this is your focus group, invest your repair budget in these areas:

  • HVAC
  • Water Heater

  • Roof

Also, changing all your lightbulbs to LED is a small but effective touch, and if light fixtures themselves need to be replaced, lean toward LED as well. Other considerations would be windows and doors if yours are single pane or wood framed.

Young buyers get excited about DIY projects and making a new house their perfect home, but they want the basics covered. So, take care of the big scaries and leave the warm fuzzies to them.

Experienced buyers

As a general rule, these buyers want move-in ready homes. If the big components we mentioned above are aging, offer a home warranty and invest your budget in the bling.

You hear “kitchens and master bathrooms sell a house” all the time because it’s true! Remodeling these key areas can be as simple as switching out hardware, faucets, and countertops, or as in depth as new everything. If you plan wisely and keep cost versus return in mind, you can at least recoup your investment, but very possibly see a return on it.

Outside your kitchen and baths, focus on replacing carpets and painting the walls. You can’t go wrong with neutral colors, but trending colors are also a safe bet.

Sellers often believe it’s best for buyers to pick their own colors, but the truth is, they don’t want to. Move-up buyers are busy and don’t have time to do it themselves once they move in. For instance, they might want to paint one room, like the master bedroom, a specific color, but they don’t want to paint the whole house.

Regardless of your audience, taking care of details as a seller will ensure a better offer price and faster selling time for you. That makes the investment worthwhile.