Top 3 Home Upgrades to Make—According to a NYC Real Estate Agent—Whether You're Selling or Staying

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Whether you're looking to sell your house or just make some simple upgrades for yourself, the idea of renovations often seems daunting. There's also the question of whether or not the area of your house you choose to renovate will allow for the biggest bang for your buck in terms of adding value, function and style. "Million Dollar Listing's" Ryan Serhant shares his renovation expertise (he even renovated his own home!), with the top three upgrades every homeowner should consider.  


When potential buyers walk into a house, this is often the first room that they want to redo. "If you don't have at least a clean bathroom, people are going to walk through and say, 'This is going to cost too much money; I don't want to buy the whole house,'" says Ryan. So, before it gets to that point, there are some super simple changes that can give your bathroom a major upgrade.  

"There [are] little things that you can do," Ryan explains.  

Change fixtures. "If your fixtures are the same ones you've had since you bought the house, that would make a bathroom look absolutely brand new," he says.  

Change the grout. "The first thing I tell everybody—other than just painting because that goes a long way— [is to change] the grout and the tiles. Whether it's in your bathtub or shower or on the floors, they can get pretty grimy over the just changing that and bringing it back to a lighter color can really open up a bathroom," says Ryan.  

Put in a glass door instead of an old shower curtain. That will make a bathroom feel brand new," he says.  

The Basement 

"Basements are often times buried treasure. It's like found space," explains Ryan. And if you're wondering what you should be doing with that extra space, the options are nearly endless.  

"You could make it a home office or a playroom, a crafts room. All that is to say that your cellar doesn't need to have a full renovation. It's probably pretty good the way it is with a little TLC, and then boom, you've got more house," he says.  

Energy, Appliances & Mechanics  

Do you hate dealing with utility upgrades? You're not the only one. Buyers also hate touring houses and seeing old boilers and HVAC systems because it feels like so much work to replace. "Those are actually easy fixes that you can do that are going to make your life easier, but are also going to make your house seem a lot more valuable," says Ryan. So, even if you're not looking to sell, these are still upgrades you'll want to make.  

"You can change out the appliances for energy efficient appliances," explains Ryan.  

In his own home, he made some of these changes. "We took out all the old HVAC mechanicals, put in new ones that were energy-efficient and connected them to a Nest system. You can set the Nest to eco-mode, so that it only clicks on and off when you're within a range of temperatures. This way it's not heating 24/7 and draining energy or cooling 24/7," he explains.  

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