5350 Discovery Park Blvd.

Williamsburg, VA 23188



I am often asked what improvements that a homeowner makes to a property have the most value when it’s time to sell.  What a great question!  The least expensive investments with the greatest returns are undoubtedly the following:

1.  Fresh paint.  Choose a neutral color, and give the interior a bright new look.  You may want to consider doing some early packing, and not re-hang all of your pictures.  Less clutter will make rooms appear larger, and the new owner will appreciate not having to fill holes.

2. Landscaping.  A carefully manicured lawn, and weed-free beds are an indication that the property is well cared for.  Mulch and some color in the flower beds go a long way toward creating that important curb appeal.

3.  Replace carpet and vinyl.  New flooring in a neutral color allows the buyer to feel that they are moving into a “new” home.

All three of those improvements tend to encourage a full price offer on your property, because the prospective buyer is not moving in with a laundry list of “to-do’s” which are likely to be estimated at a higher cost than you’ll actually pay.  By doing them in advance, you preclude a buyer for reducing his offer price by the amount he feels he’ll need to invest.  Other additions that aid in marketability are minor kitchen and bathroom remodeling, such as replacing dated counter tops and appliances, and refacing/replacing out of style cabinets.

Carefully consider any major renovations such as room additions, garage conversions, swimming pools, etc.  It’s important that you make those investments to enjoy while you are living in the home, because chances are that you will not recoup but a fraction of your cost.  Garage conversions, for instance, may add a great bonus room or extra bedroom, but when it comes time to sell, you’ll have to subtract the value of the garage that you no longer have.  If garages are customary in your area, the loss will most likely exceed the gain.

It’s also important to evaluate the improvement based on what is typical in your neighborhood…it is easy to fall into the trap of “over improving,” and ending up with the greatest home on the street, which is never a sound financial move.

With interest rates so low, your best bet is probably to take a serious look at moving up, rather than sinking a lot of expense into an existing home.  A professional realtor can help you evaluate your prospective home improvement projects in advance, to make sure that you are enhancing your greatest asset!


Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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