Selling Your Home? These Are the Upgrades Buyers Actually Want

Modern kitchen interior at day time with a way to go to an outside door on the tile floor, there are plastic chairs near the counter.
JR-stock /

If you’re currently selling your home to take advantage of the hot real estate market, you may want to make a few upgrades before listing so that you’re able to get the best offer possible. But don’t waste your money on renovations that buyers don’t actually care about.

Read: Which Home Renovations To Make — and Skip — Before Selling Your Home
See: 20 Insider Tips To Save Money on Every Part of Your Home

Coldwell Banker surveyed over 2,000 Americans to find out what upgrades buyers actually want — and these are the projects worth investing in.

Kitchen Upgrades

  • Average cost of installing or replacing cabinets: $5,050
  • Average cost of refinishing cabinets: $2,850
  • Average cost of new countertops: $3,000

Kitchen upgrades, such as freshly painted cabinets, new cabinets and new countertops, are the No. 1 thing buyers want, with 45% of those surveyed saying that this is a must-have.

Bathroom Upgrades

  • Average cost of a bathroom remodel: $6,000 to $15,000

Forty-four percent of those surveyed consider upgraded bathrooms a must-have.

Building Wealth

Updated HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical

  • Average cost to replace an HVAC system: $7,000
  • Average cost to replace plumbing: $350 to $2,000
  • Average cost to upgrade or replace an electrical panel: $1,182

Only 19% of those surveyed consider updating their HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems a must-do update before selling their homes, yet 43% consider this a must-have if they were to buy a home.

New Appliances

  • Average cost of a cooktop: $320 (low-end) to $4,030 (high-end)
  • Average cost of a refrigerator: $430 (low-end) to $10,600 (high-end)
  • Average cost of a washing machine: $445 (low-end) to $2,300 (high-end)
  • Average cost of a dryer: $445 (low-end) to $2,100 (high-end)

Buyers are seeking homes with new stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers — 38% consider this a must.

See: Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

Updated Interior or Exterior Paint

  • Average cost to paint home interior: $1,901
  • Average cost to paint home exterior: $3,042

Both sellers and buyers are aligned about the desire for a fresh coat of paint — 34% of sellers say this is a must-do upgrade and 34% of buyers say this is a must-have upgrade.

Building Wealth

Carpet Cleaning or Installation of New Carpets

  • Average cost to clean carpets: $178
  • Average cost to install carpets: $1,762

Unsurprisingly, buyers do not want to buy a home with dirty or worn carpets. One-third of those surveyed say that cleaning or installing new carpets is a must-have for buyers.


  • Average cost to install landscaping: $3,368

Having attractive outdoor space can make your home more appealing to buyers. Of those surveyed, 31% consider landscaping to be essential for buyers.

What Adds More Value to Your Home: Indoor or Outdoor Upgrades?

Refinished Wood Floors

  • Average cost to refinish hardwood floors: $1,768

Consider freshening up your wood floors before putting your home on the market — 31% consider this a buyer must-have.

Updated Lighting

  • Average cost to install lighting fixture: $523
  • Average cost to repair lighting fixture: $196

Thirty percent of those surveyed said that updated light fixtures would be a must-have if they were to consider buying a home.

More From GOBankingRates

All cost estimates are sourced from HomeAdvisor.

Last updated: Sept. 30, 2021 


Share this article:

Building Wealth

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
Learn More