Interior designer Sabrina Soto knows a thing or two about renovating homes for the highest resale value. As the host of several HGTV shows, including “Get It Sold” and “The High Low Project,” Soto knows the most affordable and efficient ways to improve your home’s appeal, and what new homeowners should look for when buying properties.
Her first piece of advice to those looking to renovate is always this: “Take your time, don’t rush the process.”
Where to start
For homeowners thinking of selling their homes, Soto said their first consideration should be the kitchen.
“The kitchen is the most important room in the house,” Soto said. “That’s the first room people look at to see what kind of shape the home is in.”
It can also be the most expensive room to update. For those who can’t afford an overhaul, there are easier ways to improve a kitchen’s appearance.
“Even something as simple as replacing the cabinet doors or retiling a backsplash are two DIYs that most people can handle,” she said.
Renovations can take time, so Soto suggests collecting references and inspirations early, and using an online image finder like Pinterest.
“Create a folder for your remodeling, so that when you look at ideas, you can just file them away,” she said. “When you’re finally ready to make those cosmetic changes, you have a starting point of images to set you off on your journey.”
For young homeowners looking to revamp older properties, Soto said simple cosmetic changes on the home’s exterior can have a big impact.
“Something as small as a garage door replacement could really give you a high return for resale,” she said. “It doesn’t cost that much but it really transforms the curb appeal of your house.”
To older homeowners who are more likely to want to stay put in their homes, Soto offered renovation advice to improve the comfort of their homes and to save money.
“If you’ve been in the house a long time and the house is getting dated, think about adding energy-efficient windows and energy-efficient insulation,” she said.
Moving with trends
Knowing what interior design trends are upcoming can also greatly increase a home’s appeal.
“I see a lot of terrazzo tile happening, and I think it’s beautiful,” Soto said. “Other than that, beige and more neutral tans are going to be coming back, more of the controlled tones of wood, and things like that.”
For new homebuyers, Soto said many can be turned off by a house’s exterior, which can be easily and affordably fixed.
“I think a lot of people drive by and they’ll look at the curb appeal and think, I don’t like it,” she said. “That can be fixed and it’s not that expensive.”
Instead, buyers should be looking at the same rooms Soto advised sellers to renovate.
“Obviously, look at the most important rooms, the most expensive rooms to renovate, and that is the kitchen and the bathrooms,” she said. “Pay attention to that.”
As winter approaches, both sellers and buyers should consider how their homes are protected from the cold.
“Make sure your windows and doors are insulated with weather stripping,” she said. “You’d be surprised how much heat seeps out of those cracks. Even if you do it yourself, go to a hardware store and do the stripping yourself, just make sure that it’s still in good shape and not deteriorating.”