Homeowners want to know, as the vaccine roll-out progresses, what must-have upgrades will make their homes right for the market. Many owners are feeling emboldened by the prospect of diminished COVID-19 cases, and that means getting rid of the last dated elements of one's home to make it truly shine on the market this year. Here are just a few of the ways you can make your home really stand out, often for less money than a major renovation or home remodel would cost. The HomeLight top agent insights survey from Q4 2020 offers a variety of valuable perspectives on must-have up-to-date features.


Get the Landscaping Looking Ideal For Photos

Even though you may find more in-person showings this year than last year, many shoppers are still going to rely heavily on photographs and video to choose their top choice homes. This means that every dollar spent getting your landscaping up to par is going to come back to you in greater interest in your listing. Grooming the lawn, hedges, and trees, getting an experienced photographer who can emphasize the best angle, and showcasing any unique features are all key.


Remove Dated Carpet Styles and Locations

Let's face it: carpeted bathrooms and shag carpeting are really losing their luster, as they haven't been en vogue for many years now. If your home still has either of these features, replacing them with a moderate upgrade to more modern-looking flooring can be a real added value and make the home appear less old, which can boost perceived value as a whole.


Consider Different Ceiling Options

Still got that popcorn ceiling? Consider modernizing your ceilings to give off a less dated air in photographs. 66% of top real estate agents are noting popcorn ceilings as too dated to appear well in an online listing.  Removing them may be a pretty substantial undertaking, but having great online photos that make the home appear updated and modern can really add value during the listing process.


Make Energy-Efficient Water, Heating, and Window Upgrades

Many agents are noting that buyers care more than ever before about energy-efficient upgrades. If you are due for a new water heater or changing out some windows, consider what the premium is to get to an Energy Star or other higher-efficiency level. Being able to see your home as "green" brings interest from a whole different set of homebuyers, and may be well worth the investment.


Remember that your real estate agent will have the best advice for which updates are going to fetch you the premium ROI that you seek in your particular housing market. Consider how to fetch the top dollar available in our current sellers market and add the final touches that make buyers most excited to place an offer.