2021 House Renovation Costs When Preparing To Sell

hammer and wrench with a sold sign, question mark and green dollar sign

Figuring out how much a house renovation costs can be a challenging task for anyone. There are so many factors involved such as whether it was a DIY project, a hired project, material costs and the extent of the renovation.

This can be very exhausting, but lucky for you we are here to help simplify everything! Home renovations can be done for a variety of different reasons, but our focus will solely be on renovations for the purpose of getting a home ready to sell.

We are qualified to speak on this subject because of the many renovations done on rentals and house flips over the past several years. For this article we will breakdown the different elements of the renovation and go over estimated pricing for each one.

We’ve arranged the list in order of effectiveness on the sales price with the most effective elements of the house renovation costs coming first. This is so you can make sure you aren’t wasting money on things that aren’t necessary, and focus on the things that are.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Paint

Paint is arguably the simplest and cheapest aspect of all the house renovation costs but can have a huge impact on the sale price. It is amazing to me how many people are turned off from a house having ugly paint schemes or outdated wallpaper.

Getting the house freshly painted works wonders and immediately makes the house look much better. A neutral gray is very popular today and is what I have done on every property we’ve renovated. Here is a picture from a house in Haymarket we renovated for reference:

room with freshly painted gray walls and new carpet

According to HomeAdvisor, it costs around $2-6 per square foot to paint a home’s interior with most jobs averaging $3.50 per square foot.

This means that for a 2,500 square foot house, you can expect to pay somewhere around $8,750 to paint the entire interior of the home. Again, paint is a very high-ROI (return on investment) aspect of all the house renovation costs and one that we highly recommend doing if you plan on doing a home renovation.

Carpet And Flooring

The next highest-ROI thing to do is the flooring. This immediately makes the house feel much fresher and adds to the appeal for potential buyers. And just like paint, doing the carpet and flooring is relatively cheap but goes a long way.

For this section, we’ll go over flooring costs for everything in the house except for the bathrooms. Since a different kind of flooring is usually done in the bathrooms (typically tile), we will leave that for when we go over bathrooms further down.

Carpet

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2021 report on carpet installation, it costs between $3.50 and $11 per square foot to have a professional install carpet. This is a broad range and likely takes into account some higher-quality installations, however. We expect it to cost around $5 on average per square foot for carpet installed.

For 1,000 square feet of carpet to be installed, it would likely cost somewhere around $5,000. Again, this is a relatively cheap aspect of the house renovation costs but will certainly help big time with potential buyers.

Flooring

For flooring, we recommend doing a LVP (luxury vinyl plank) or something similar. Here is an example of a recent property we renovated in Manassas with this type of flooring:

Newly remodeled interior of house with grey LVP flooring and grey walls

According to HomeAdvisor, it costs around $4 on the lower end and $7 on the higher end for installed flooring such as this. There are lower quality and higher quality types of flooring and this can play a role in the price.

For 1,000 square feet of flooring, it would likely cost somewhere around $6,000 to have it installed (including materials). New floors will excite potential buyers and are not super pricey compared to some other aspects of the house renovation costs that we’ll dive into below, and this is why we always recommend doing them if it is needed.

Kitchen

Many real estate experts will say that kitchens and bathrooms are what sell homes. We definitely agree with this, however it can be an expensive endeavor to bring these up to market standards. There are ways to be frugal when renovating the kitchen, however, that we will get into.

Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are usually a must when looking to sell a property for top dollar, however you may be able to get away with black appliances if they are in decent condition and not too old. Here is one example where we renovated a house prior to selling but kept the appliances:

kitchen with white cabinets and black appliances as an example of the house renovation costs

Since this kitchen had a double oven and a built in range, it would have cost a substantial amount of money to replace (likely around $5,000-6,000) and we didn’t feel it was that necessary. So, we kept them how they were and luckily for us it did not affect anything in terms of buyers being turned off from it.

If the appliances are white (or even older than that style), or are just not in great condition, we recommend replacing them with stainless steel appliances. A refrigerator will usually cost around $1,000-1,500. A range/oven will usually cost around $500-700. A dishwasher will cost around $450-600. And a microwave will usually cost around $200-300.

This brings the total costs of the kitchen appliances being changed to stainless steel to somewhere in the $2,150-3,100 range.

Countertops

Counters are very “black and white” where they are either in need of replacement, or they are not. If your countertops are corian, tile or laminate, then it almost always makes sense to replace them with granite. If your countertops look anything like these pictures, we recommend replacing:

HomeAdvisor’s 2021 article on counter installations says the range for granite counter installation is between $1,859 and $4,177 with the average being around $2,982.

If you opt to install a backsplash as well it will be a little bit more expensive as well. Backsplashes look nice but are not always 100% necessary. The most important thing is to get the countertops changed if they need it. This will go a long way.

Cabinets

The last piece of the house renovation costs pertaining to the kitchen are the cabinets. Nice cabinets make the kitchen look much better to potential buyers and should always be addressed.

A cheap and effective way to spruce up the cabinets is to paint them white and replace the hardware on them. This sounds very simple, but if the cabinets are in decent shape, this will make a HUGE difference.

Here is a before and after picture of a kitchen we remodeled a few years ago. The cabinets were simply painted white and brushed nickel hardware was added.

outdated kitchen with black appliances and brown cabinets
updated kitchen with white cabinets and stainless steel appliances

As you can see, this made a huge difference in the quality of the kitchen, but it didn’t break the bank at all compared to replacing the cabinets entirely. HomeAdvisor says the range that they typically see for painting cabinets is between $382 and $1,064.

Compare this to the range of $1,829-8,926 and average price of $5,338 that HomeAdvisor says cabinet replacement will cost and you can see why painting is such an effective solution. If the cabinets are in terrible condition, this may be the only option however.

Bathrooms

Remodeled bathrooms can certainly improve the chances that buyers will be interested in purchasing your property. An outdated bathroom in need of some TLC is a way to make buyers run the other way when they come to look at your property.

Just like the kitchen remodel, there are different aspects of the bathroom remodel as well and you may be able to save money by only needing to do some of the aspects as opposed to everything.

Bathroom Flooring

Changing the bathroom to a nice tile flooring can work wonders. The cost of material and installation will typically be somewhere around $15-20 per square foot. So, an 80 square foot full bathroom will cost somewhere around $1,200-1,600 and a 40 square foot half bathroom will cost around $600-800.

Bathroom Vanities

Smaller vanities (18-36”) will usually cost somewhere from $200-700 if purchased from a company such as Home Depot. While larger vanities can cost anywhere from $700-2,500.

One trick we did at a remodel was to combine smaller vanities into a single large vanity. We needed a vanity around 80-90” for a master bathroom and the vanities in this range were around $2,000 at a minimum.

So, we decided to buy two 30” vanities, and two hutches (4 pieces total), and combine them into a single vanity. It felt like we were putting together a transformer…

optimus prime action figure

…but it turned out very nice and ended up costing us around $700 as opposed to $2,000+. Here is a picture of it:

updated bathroom showing new vanity and light fixtures

Bathroom Shower/Tub

The last piece of the house renovation costs pertaining to the bathroom (besides lighting, which we’ll get to below) is the shower or bathtub. If it is a tub with a stand up shower in it, these can often be cleaned and have the shower hardware (showerhead and handle) replaced to freshen it up.

Showerheads are around $100-200 depending on what type is purchased, and this is significantly less expensive than replacing everything. But, for some people there is no avoiding this if it is in bad shape or extremely outdated. People typically don’t want pink bathtubs anymore!

HomeAdvisor says the range to replace a bathtub is between $1,388 and $7,033 with the average being $3,650 and their report on 2021 cost of stand up shower installations says the range is between $2,275 and $8,613.

Both of these ranges take into account the surrounding tile, etc. Again, it is ideal to not have to replace the shower/tub but sometimes there is no getting around it.

Miscellaneous Interior Items

Replacing the miscellaneous things around the house such as doorknobs, light fixtures, hinges and switch plates can be relatively inexpensive but make the house look much more modern to potential buyers.

Outlet Covers And Switch Plates

If any of your outlet covers or switch plates look like these, we recommend replacing prior to selling!

weird outlet cover
funky switch plate with chicken on it
funky switch plate with cherries

Standard white outlet covers and switch plates will usually cost around $1 per plate or less. They are very cheap but can make the world of a difference in freshening up the house.

Doorknobs

Doorknobs are another simple yet effective strategy to make the house look more modern. On Amazon, modern-looking doorknobs can be purchased for around $10 per

knob and are easy to install. We highly recommend doing this if you are preparing your house to be sold.

Light Fixtures And Fans

Replacing the light fixtures and ceiling fans throughout the house as needed will add to its appeal.

circular light fixture

Simple light fixtures such as this can be purchased for around $20. Bathroom light fixtures can usually be purchased for around $50-100 per fixture. Electricians will typically charge between $50-100 per hour so replacing all of the light fixtures in the home will usually be around $1,000 or so.

Ceiling fans will cost between $100-200 typically, and an electrician can install those as well.

There are other less common things to do, but these 3 changes will deliver the most bang for your buck in terms of increasing the interest of potential buyers. We highly recommend doing all of them as needed!

Utility Systems

Replacing the utility systems typically doesn’t add any value to the price of the home because when selling a house the traditional way (with a realtor on the market), buyers expect it to be in working condition as they are not buying the house “as is.”

If the utility systems such as the water heater or HVAC system is not in working condition, this will usually be uncovered during the buyer’s home inspection and it will be renegotiated to where the seller fixes whatever is broken, or gives the buyer a credit at closing.

old HVAC outdoor unit

According to this study, a survey of 998 buyers found that on average, $14,000 was negotiated off the purchase price as a result of the home inspection results. Having utility systems in working order can help to prevent this from happening.

HVAC

This report from HomeAdvisor has the range of HVAC replacements in between $5,000 and $10,000 with the average being $7,000. The size of the house can have an impact on the price, so talk to a heating and air specialist when budgeting.

Water Heater

The range of replacing a water heater in a home is between $813 and $1,579 according to HomeAdvisor. This is essentially a mandatory fix if it is not working properly as everyone expects working hot water when they purchase a home. A good plumber will certainly be able to assist with this.

Exterior

We’ve finally made it to the last piece of the renovation! Are you having fun yet? Addressing issues on the exterior of the home can greatly improve curb appeal and reduce the leverage a buyer will have when they do a home inspection.

Roof

Arguably the most important aspect of the exterior is the roof.

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average for a homeowner to replace their roof is $8,357 within a range of $5,569 and $11,434. Unlike an HVAC system, a new roof certainly adds to the curb appeal of a home so we recommend doing if the current roof is older and has lots of wear and tear.

Exterior Paint

Painting the exterior can provide a substantial boost in appeal as well, and according to this report from HomeAdvisor, it costs between $1,775 and $4,232 to get this done. The average 2,500 square foot home will cost an average of $4,000 according to them as well.

Landscaping

We’ve found that the house renovation costs pertaining to landscaping typically are around $1,000-2,000 depending on what is required. This is the last element of all the house renovation costs and adds to the curb appeal of the property.

Summary Of The House Renovation Costs

Renovating a house can lead to a higher sale price, but is not always feasible if funds are not available to pay for the house renovation costs. Check out Curbio if you want to explore the possibility of renovating but don’t have the funds.

And as always, if you would like to skip this renovation process entirely, check out Home Sale Solutions. We are a platform made up of vetted investors that are hand-selected. It’s 100% free to create a listing and get investors interested in your property. Competition among great investors will lead to you selling your house for the best price and on your terms!

If you’re just curious about what an investor would likely offer for your property, be sure to check out our valuation tool as well. Best of luck!