Selling Your Home? These Are the Upgrades Buyers Actually Want

A contemporary kitchen renovation remodeling featuring a center island, hardwood floor and quartz counter.
YinYang / Getty Images

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.


Coldwell Banker surveyed over 2,000 Americans in 2021 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: $5,760
  • Average cost of refinishing cabinets: $2,997
  • Average cost of new countertops: $3,100

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: $11,335

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

Investing for Everyone

Updated HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical

  • Average cost to replace an HVAC system: $7,000
  • Average cost to replace plumbing: $358 to $2,001
  • Average cost to upgrade or replace an electrical panel: $1,268

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: $500 (low-end) to $12,000 (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.

Updated Interior or Exterior Paint

  • Average cost to paint home interior: $1,951
  • Average cost to paint home exterior: $3,087

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.

Carpet Cleaning or Installation of New Carpets

  • Average cost to clean carpets: $180
  • Average cost to install carpets: $1,775
Investing for Everyone

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: $3,456

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

Refinished Wood Floors

  • Average cost to refinish hardwood floors: $1,829

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: $541
  • 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

Investing for Everyone

All cost estimates are sourced from HomeAdvisor.


See Today's Best
Banking Offers