PenFed Mortgage with Confidence

Home Equity, HELOC, Home Ownership

Selling Your House – Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

What You'll Learn: How to Decide on the Best Home Improvements When Selling


Selling Your House – Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

When you’re preparing to sell your home, the first thing you’ll want to consider is, are you interested in selling your house as-is, or would you be willing to invest in home improvements that add value? Today, we will discuss what renovations add the most value and could get you top dollar for your home. 

Best Home Improvements to Increase Value

Probably the hardest thing to do when planning renovations — is not over-spending. That’s where getting a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can help. And using this line of credit to increase the value of your home is a wise decision as long as you stay on budget. Keep in mind that whatever you spend, you’ll need to pay off when you sell your home. The challenge is upgrading smart and getting the most bang for your buck. 

If you’re on a limited budget, here’s a list of what home improvements add the most value:

1.     Curb appeal — take a look at the front of your home with a decerning eye. What needs attention? Spruce up the landscaping, get the lawn looking nice and green, and add some flowering plants. If the exterior needs painting, have that done. But sometimes, you’ll only need to paint the trim and front door to give the exterior a fresh new look.  Choose colors that are neutral with an accented front door. 

2.     Minor bathroom renovations — these would include painting, replacing the tub if necessary, and removing old shower doors. Take a look at the vanity and sink. Sometimes a coat of paint on the vanity makes all the difference, and you might not have to replace the sink. If the vanity lighting is dated, it’s inexpensive to install an updated fixture. How much you spend can vary — don’t go overboard. If you watch your budget, you’ll make your money back and then some. 

3.     Minor kitchen remodel — you’ll have to watch your budget very closely here because it’s easy to overspend. If you have a realtor already, ask them to look at your kitchen and suggest the best renovations. Popular items to upgrade include new countertops, refacing or repainting kitchen cabinets, and installing modern lighting.

Larger Upgrades — Keep an Eye on Renovation Return on Investment

Before planning on what to upgrade, check out the competition. If there are any homes near your home for sale, go to their open houses. How does your property compare? Take a good look at the kitchen and bathrooms. 

Don’t forget to check out windows and doors. Does your home have old windows and doors that aren’t energy efficient? Do other homes for sale have new windows and doors? If so, you’ll be at a disadvantage. 

Consult with your realtor when planning any high-cost improvements or major remodeling. You’ll want to make sure you’ll get your money back when you sell. Ask your agent what home improvements add the most value and spend accordingly. Otherwise, those upgrades will eat your profit. 

Surprising High Renovation Return on Investment (ROI)

A great resource to see the ROI of different projects is the Cost vs. Value Report. For example, replacing your garage door with a modern upgraded version will not only add to the beauty of the exterior of your home, but you’ll also recoup almost all of your money. The same is true for adding manufactured stone veneer. 

Two Things to do Before Selling Your House

Besides any upgrades there are two things you should do before putting your home on the market.

1.     Declutter — get rid of or pack away any knick-knacks, personal photos, and excess stuff. Your house should be clutter-free and impersonal as possible. Go for the model home look. Neat, clean, and simple.

2.     Have a home inspection — it’s smart to have an inspection before you put your house on the market and start having open houses. That way you’ll know what needs to be fixed and won’t be caught off-guard when your buyers’ start inspecting. Getting any deferred maintenance handled ahead of time takes much of the stress out of selling. 

We hope you’ve found these tips for selling your house helpful. The most important thing to keep in mind is that home renovations are an investment. Do your homework and take the advice of a trusted real estate agent. When you invest wisely and stay on budget, you’ll have a better chance of getting top dollar for your home. 

  • Visit 
  • Visit the Mortgage Center

    For more information about PenFed Mortgages:

    PenFed Mortgage: 


    Get Started



    Rates starting at % (APR %)¹


    Apply before becoming a member.

    After your application, we’ll help you:

    1. Discover you’re eligible to become a PenFed member

    2. Open a Savings/Share Account and deposit at least $5

    PenFed HELOC

    Rates as Low as % APR with flexible use of funds

    Apply before becoming a member.

    After your application, we’ll help you:

    1. Discover you’re eligible to become a PenFed member

    2. Open a Savings/Share Account and deposit at least $5


    1Rates are updated daily at 10:15am EST. The advertised rates and points are subject to change. The information provided is based on discount point, which equals percent of the loan amount, and assumes the purpose of the loan is to purchase a property with a 30-year, conforming, fixed-rate loan. Loan amount of $400,000; loan-to-value ratio of 75%; credit score of 760; and DTI of 18% or less. The property is an existing single-family home and will be used as a primary residence. The advertised rates are based on certain assumptions and loan scenarios, and the rate you may receive will depend on your individual circumstances, including your credit history, loan amount, down payment, and our internal credit criteria. Other rates, points, and terms may be available. All loans are subject to credit and property approval.