When sellers hastily “update” a home just prior to listing, they leave no time to enjoy the changes. Think about improving your home for YOU, and not solely for potential buyers. When planning any renovations, the conscientious maintenance of your home should always be the first priority. Don’t make a major investment on your interior spaces if your roof, windows and HVAC are older than your grown children! The integrity of the structure and mechanics of the house will be most important to a savvy consumer. 
If you have maintained your home well, consider a few updated touches to help your home sell faster and for a higher price. A thoughtful approach reflects these three practical points:
1. Go “Under” the Top: Moderate, yet thorough, updates yield better results than a less comprehensive plan or one that goes overboard. Partial improvements are, quite frankly, disappointing (such as placing new granite atop the original, untouched cabinets with dated knobs). Manage your budget to allow for uniform upgrades to all areas — for example, if you improve the master bath, update the other bathrooms as well; if you change the front door, take a peek at the other exterior doors too. Assess the current value of your home as well as neighborhood comps before creating your project plans.
2. Smart Design: Consider the architecture and overall aesthetic of your home. A contemporary flair in the dining room may be misplaced in a traditional-style house. Similarly, neutrality might not match your personality, but buyers don’t want to incur the expense of “undoing” what was uniquely you! If you yearn for vivid color, try accents with paint (which is easy to redo) instead of more permanent and expensive changes. Buyers gravitate toward a home based on what they see from the street. Surprises once they get inside could fall flat.
3. Eye on Details: Evaluate the entire room from floor to ceiling and look at everything from the buyer’s viewpoint. Fresh paint, floors and sharp details make big impact. Keep the big picture in mind—those original “vintage” aspects of a home become tough to ignore when compared to newly improved areas. Check the closets and storage; it might be wise to add extra space where it will be most appreciated.
The longer you stay in a home after renovations, the more likely you will recoup the costs, to a point. So take the plunge and make it the best it can be for you as well as for future owners.  
Christi Key, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, AtlantaChristi Key, a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, is an Atlanta native who has lived, worked and renovated homes in several areas of the city. She combines her love of home and her genuine heart for people into a wonderful career as a dedicated advocate for sellers and buyers alike.