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Best Home Upgrades to Boost ROI

A conversation with Karla Murtaugh

Article by Mary Dougherty

Photography by Provided by Compass Ridgefield

Originally published in Ridgefield Lifestyle

During this time of appreciating home values, many are looking to upgrade their spaces. We are pleased to bring you Karla Murtaugh's advice on home upgrades and which ones to prioritize to realize the highest return on investment. 

What is your best advice for residents looking to make upgrades to their homes this year Karla? 

The kitchen is the most important improvement a homeowner can make when updating their home to increase its value. Minor tweaks such as a new backsplash or freshly painted cabinets, new countertops and new lighting can go a long way with little expense. Focus on high-ROI projects such as bathroom renovations, enhancing curb appeal with landscaping, a new front door, and adding energy-efficient features. Finishing the basement or improving attic insulation can also add value. Prioritize projects based on your budget and local market trends. 

How can homeowners assess future return on investment for future projects?

Research the current trends and demands in your local real estate market. Understand what features are popular and add value. Look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood with similar features. Assess how renovations or improvements impacted their sale prices. Consult with a realtor like me to understand which improvements are likely to yield the best returns. Compass offers sellers a hassle–free way to sell their home faster and for a higher price. Compass Concierge helps you maximize your home’s value with home improvement services like staging, flooring, painting and more with zero due until closing. Keep in mind, most buyers are not fully aware of what upgrades and renovations cost and prefer turnkey.

Has the Home Office made a Comeback? 

Remote work has elevated the significance of having a dedicated and well-designed home office space. Buyers often prioritize homes with functional and aesthetically pleasing workspaces. A home office can add value to a property and attract a broader range of potential buyers who appreciate the convenience and flexibility of having a dedicated work area within their homes. 

Even spare bedrooms can pivot as a good home office. Simplify by using a daybed or even a Murphy Bed for when guests arrive. 

What are the Most Valuable Ways to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space? 

Creating a functional outdoor living space can increase a home's value.

A well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing landscaping, including trees, plants, and flowers, enhances curb appeal plus an outdoor kitchen can be a luxurious and valuable addition. Gathering spots such as fire pits set the tone for entertaining around the fire. 

What are your Predictions for the 2024 Selling Season? 

Since mid-2020, our local towns have witnessed a surge in home prices, driven by increased buyer demand—an advantageous scenario. However, the primary concern in 2024 is the persistent shortage of housing inventory. Despite qualified buyers across different price points, achieving supply and demand equilibrium has proven elusive, resulting in steady home prices. Highly sought-after towns like Ridgefield, Redding, and Wilton, renowned for their suburban lifestyle and excellent schools, remain in high demand. Economists predict a potential decline in interest rates, which could contribute to a more balanced buyer/seller dynamic and a return to seasonal trends.

'Remote work has elevated the significance of having a dedicated and well-designed home office space. Buyers often prioritize homes with functional and aesthetically pleasing workspaces.'