7 Finishes and Materials That’ll Impact Your Resale Value, According to Experts

published Sep 3, 2020
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A general view of a grey fitted kitchen within a home
Credit: John Keeble/Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like entering an old home that hasn’t been renovated in years and thinking to yourself: Why were popcorn ceilings ever in style? Or why would anyone ever cover amazing hardwood floors with heinous carpeting?

If you’re gearing up to renovate your house, you might be pondering which materials and finishes will pay off the most in the long run. Yes, shiplap is on trend right now, but will it still be trendy in 20 years? 

Investing in high-quality and timeless materials will eventually help the resale value of your home when it’s time to move out. Choosing those materials can be difficult, especially since those renovating their homes probably aren’t considering that they might want to renovate again in 10 years if their design choices didn’t age well. 

Would I want to purchase a house with a conversation pit? Absolutely. Would you? Maybe not! So how is anyone supposed to make changes to their humble abode without upsetting future owners? Four real estate experts weighed in when it comes to which finishes will make an impact on the resale value of your home.

Engineered hardwood floors

Believe it or not, real hardwood isn’t always the best way to go. In fact, real hardwood floors might even hinder your ability to find a buyer

“Engineered hardwood floors over laminate or real hardwood will always increase the value of a home,” says Greg Forest, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. “Engineered wood is, by far, the most impactful upgrade.” 

Forest says that engineered wood floors have a thicker wear layer and will be durable against wear and tear, water, and the elements. He suggests looking for engineered hardwood floors with a 2 millimeter wear layer. 

Quartz countertops

“Quartz countertops are stain resistant, durable, and don’t harbor bacteria or viruses,” say Ryan and Max Farbstein, two Miami-based Douglas Elliman agents.

Forest echoes their sentiments, adding that they can increase resale value in a house. “Quartz countertops impact value in a major way, adding elegance and a timeless look, while providing long-lasting value and durability.”

Credit: Michael Robinson/Getty Images

Marble floors 

Marble is certainly a more expensive material than its other natural stone or ceramic tile counterparts, but the price that’s paid up front will pay off in the long run. Plus, when selected and installed correctly, marble flooring will last decades. 

“When it comes to marble floors, we recommend a larger tile rather than smaller format sizing as it will look more luxurious and give any space a larger feel,” the Farbsteins say. 


“Sellers will replace old carpet with new carpet thinking that will help them sell a home,” says Karen Colombosian, a Douglas Elliman agent based in Boston. “But buyers prefer hardwood.”

For this reason, it might be best to consider if it’s worth the money to recarpet a room as you’re getting your house ready to sell. It might make more sense to spend a little extra money on a different material for your floors. 

Plastic fixtures

It’s best to put a little more money into your plumbing sooner rather than later in order to avoid flushing more money down the drain later on. 

“Plastic plumbing fixtures will decrease the value of your home,” says Forest. He suggests opting for higher quality materials like brass or metal. “Although affordable, inexpensive alternatives to authentic materials can become very costly because of their cheap manufacturing and construction.”

Oak millwork

“Oak millwork is a nice contrast to the white modern look and adds warmth to the space,” the Farbsteins say. “High-end wallpaper is a more economical solution that can create a similar warmth and environment.”


Yes, your home is yours to live in, and homeowners often want to feel as though their personality is visible in their design. And this is totally encouraged. However, when it comes time to sell, highly personal wallpaper that cannot be easily removed or altered might be turning potential buyers away. 

“Avoid busy wallpaper. Less is more during a renovation,” says Forest. “When something is too specific, the buyer will be thinking ‘I need to change this,’ which will cost them more money. This in turn will decrease the value of a home.”