Ask McEnearney Jean Beatty 9.3.20

There are certain things that I always recommend to my clients if they are thinking of putting their home on the market in the next five years. Putting some money into updating your home now can make it more appealing to buyers down the line. It will also allow you to enjoy the updates before you finally take the plunge and move.

The following list is my top five recommendations on home improvements.

1. Spruce Up the Kitchen. Most of your time at home is usually spent in the kitchen. Between meals and snacks, the kitchen receives the most foot traffic out of any other room in the home. A full kitchen remodel can be very expensive. As an alternative, you can focus on some key areas. If your cabinets are older, but still in good shape, hire a professional painter to come and repaint them. After they have been repainted, update all the knobs and hardware to a more modern look.

Replace your old countertops with Silestone or quartz. It will bring a fresh look to the kitchen, and they don’t scratch easily, unlike granite.

If the floor is older, either replace it, refinish it, or add something on top. You might want to match the kitchen with the rest of the house. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Replace or Refinish Outdated Flooring. A general rule of thumb is to have hard surface flooring in all of the main areas of your home, especially the living room, dining room, and kitchen as most modern home buyers do not like carpet. You can choose a less expensive option like floating laminate flooring or a more expensive option like engineered or solid hardwood floors depending on your budget.

If you already have hardwoods in your home, and they are refinishable, it might be time to update the color scheme to something more modern. The current trend is to have darker, matte flooring. If you need ideas for colors or simply don’t know where to start, attend an open house at some new builds in your neighborhood and ask them what flooring they used. Model homes usually showcase the current trends, and builders always have a list of materials that they used.

A word of caution, if you are going to replace the flooring in your home, do not mix flooring types. At least not on the same level. The change between different flooring is like a full stop for your brain. It can make a room seem smaller than it actually is.

3. Update the Bathrooms. It is relatively inexpensive to replace the vanities and toilets in your bathrooms. Also, hiring a contractor to re-glaze the tile and bathtub, especially if they are older or an odd color, is a great way to get more use out of what you already have, while making your bathroom seem like new again.

4. Add Recessed Lighting. If your home is older, it might not have as much recessed lighting as more modern builds. Adding recessed lighting to your home will add to the overall mood and functionality of your home. Since it requires working with circuits and electrical wires, I would strongly recommend hiring an electrician. Not only do buyers like well-lit homes, but it will also help with your marketing as light is essential for great photographs. Most home buyers start their search on property websites like Zillow or, and professional photographs help make your home stand out while highlighting the best features to potential buyers.

5. Replace the Roof. If your roof is less than 10 years old, it is a huge selling point for the home. A new roof prevents leaking, water damage, and a host of other problems. I realize that this item can get very pricey, so consider contacting a roofing company to come out and take an assessment. If they find hail damage, they can work with your insurance company to get it replaced for the cost of your deductible.

Looking toward the future and starting now is the key to a smooth, easy home sale later. To get the most out of your home, consider making these improvements today so you have time to enjoy them. If you are thinking about making a move, reach out to me to discuss next steps.

Jean Beatty is a licensed real estate agent in VA, MD, and DC with McEnearney Associates, Inc in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today's complex market, contact Jean at 301-641-4149 or visit her website

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: or call 703.549.9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreMcEnearney

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