Prepping your house for sale is necessary to get top dollar, but don't sink too much into a property that'll soon not be yours. Recouping some of those funds at closing is ideal.
Aside from general house cleaning, organizing and staging, here are some of the top midrange home improvement projects that yield the best return on your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2017 Cost vs. Value Report:
FIBERGLASS ATTIC INSULATION
A home that's warm in the winter and cool in the summer is often taken for granted, but not every house is insulated properly. If you suspect yours has issues, have an insulation pro inspect the attic floor to make sure it's sealed to prevent air leakage. Then cover it with fiberglass loose-fill insulation until the proper "R" factor for your climate zone is achieved.
The R-value measures the insulation's ability to resist heat traveling through it – the higher the value, the better the performance. A minimum value of R-30 is recommended.
Cost recouped: 108 percent
STEEL ENTRY DOOR REPLACEMENT
If your entry door is faded or damaged, swap it out for a new version. Consider taking it up a notch by adding glass panels alongside or in the door. For a consistent look, try matching the new door with the garage door and/or the shutters. Complete the look with new hardware in a modern finish.
Cost recouped: 91 percent
MANUFACTURED STONE VENEER
The classic look of stone is a top trend in today's market, and if you're able to incorporate the look in your home's exterior, it'll be worth it.
There are a couple ways to get the look of a "stone" house, including replacing the existing vinyl siding from the lower portion of your home's street-facing facade. You can also use the stone veneer to highlight an archway or porch columns.
Cost recouped: 90 percent
MINOR KITCHEN REMODEL
If your kitchen is dated, certain updates can help attract buyers. Just keep it neutral. Potential buyers want to picture themselves cooking and enjoying the space; they don't want to be distracted by your ceramic rooster collection or wine-bottle wallpaper.
Replace or reface the cabinet surfaces and hardware, and make sure the appliances are energy-efficient and match. Replace laminate countertops with a neutral-colored stone (granite or quartz are popular) and update the flooring if necessary.
Cost recouped: 80 percent
GARAGE DOOR REPLACEMENT
It's often overlooked, but the garage door can have quite an effect on a home's overall appearance.
If you're stuck with a builder-grade garage door, upgrading to a more stylish model is worth consideration. You can choose from steel, glass, wood, faux wood or aluminum doors that come in modern, contemporary or classic looks. Most garage door dealers have software programs which allow you to virtually "try on" different options using a photograph of your house.
Cost recouped: 77 percent
Staci Giordullo is a reporter for Angie's List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.