When you think of fall, what comes to mind are probably colder temperatures, shorter days and getting ready for the holidays — but what about home improvement projects?
If you want to sell your home, don’t discount autumn as a time to check off items on your home renovation to-do list. That’s because top real estate agents from across the United States agree, according to a survey from HomeLight, that fall is a great time to get your house ready for its time in the spotlight.
The quarterly survey polled more than 400 real estate agents to find out which projects are best slated for autumn. Their statistics show that renovating in October through December — when building materials and labor are more affordable and builders and contractors are more available than in spring and summer — might save you time and money.
Read on to learn which improvements you should prioritize this fall.
1. Upgrade Appliances
Top agents from the HomeLight survey said buyers are 50 percent more likely to put an offer on a house with stainless steel appliances.
If your refrigerator or oven has seen better days and you want to make this upgrade, fall is the time, as models will be discounted with manufacturers gearing up to release the latest ones in the new year.
Those same agents said that traditional stainless steel is the most in-demand appliance finish among buyers and could even add more than $1,700 to your home’s value at resale.
2. Replace or Repair Your Roof
When you put your home on the market, the condition of your roof is important — buyers want to know that they don’t need to foot the bill for a new one, especially if you try to sell when the weather is still dreary. Adding a new roof is also a step that can help you with improving home value.
Survey respondents said that the average roof replacement costs about $12,000, but that you’ll recoup 94 percent of your roof investment at resale.
Professional roofers say that fall is an ideal time for a roof replacement as temperatures are typically warm enough for shingles to adhere, but not so hot that workers and materials get overheated in the process.
3. Plant or Prune Trees and Shrubs
According to the U.S. Forest Service, “each large front-yard tree adds to a home’s sale price.”
The Forest Service notes that healthy, mature trees add, on average, 10 percent to a property’s value. One of the best times of year to plant trees and shrubs is fall, after leaf drop, according to the organization Trees are Good.
If you already have trees and shrubs in your front or backyard, fall is when you should check on their health and trim overgrown branches.
4. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Fall is the season for cleaning gutters and downspouts, preferably before leaf drop is in full force.
Cleaning your gutters is a critical part of home winterization, as clogged, overflowing gutters will run off into your home’s foundation, leading to major problems that could reduce your home’s value.
5. Add Caulking and Weatherstripping
Reducing air leakage in your home is a cost-effective way to make it more energy-efficient.
Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, with caulk generally used for cracks and openings around door and window frames, and weatherstripping used to seal doors and windows that open.
Making this upgrade will save you money while you are getting ready to list your home, and it will be a small, but attractive, feature to pitch to potential buyers.
6. Check Plumbing Insulation
Pipe insulation is another fix that can help you save on energy costs and upgrade your home for future buyers.
For cold-water pipes, insulation helps them stay cool. For warm-water pipes, insulation will keep the heat in between the water heater and the faucet.
Consider your goals and priorities for your home before tackling a renovation project, and you’ll be well on your way to add a few upgrades to your list as you close out the year.