Smart Home Renovations

So you’re thinking about doing a kitchen facelift, putting on an addition or landscaping your yard. If you’re renewing your house with an eye to upping resale value, you may want to focus your dollars on projects that will give you the best return.

1. Kitchen renovations

Kitchen renovations usually offer the best return of any major home improvement. Just make sure your update is in line with the rest of the house, and with other homes in the neighborhood. If you put a $60,000 kitchen into a $200,000 house, you don’t have much of a chance of recouping your costs.

Don’t have major bucks to sink into kitchen alterations? Sometimes a small facelift like new hardware, freshly painted cabinets or new kitchen appliances can make a big difference. This can boost both your resale value and your own appreciation of the space.

2. Bathroom renovations

Home buyers like bathrooms that are up-to-date and stylish. Despite being one of the most expensive renovations you can undertake (second only to kitchens), updating an existing bathroom or adding a new one can really boost the value of your home. If your home only has one bathroom, adding a second one is always a good idea. Or, if you live in a neighborhood where everyone else has three bathrooms and you only have two, keeping up with the Johnsons can keep your property values up, too.

3. Basement finishing

Finishing your basement, your attic or any other unfinished area can increase the value of your home tremendously. Adding living space almost always pays for itself. Plus, it’s more cost-effective than building an addition.

4. Additions

A well-constructed addition usually offers a good return on your investment at resale. Property improvements that increase functional space (rather than just making your home look better) hold their value longer. Just be careful not to add on so much that there’s no space left on the outside; a yard that’s too small may not appeal to house buyers.

5. Hardwood floors

Wood floors are elegant, durable and easy to keep clean. Stick with light or medium wood; dark wood looks formal and isn’t to everyone’s taste. It’s a pricey update, but you can usually recoup a good portion of what you pay for new floors – as long as your buyer doesn’t prefer wall-to-wall.

6. Painting and decorating (interior and exterior)

Painting your home is inexpensive, easy, and is one of the few investments you can make that will likely see a significant profit. Stay away from intense or unusual colors that won’t appeal to most home buyers – tasteful, current neutrals are best. If you’re painting the outside, keep colors in line with other homes on your street.

7. New deck

An attractive, well-designed deck is a cost-efficient way to add usable square footage to your home, and offers excellent payback.

8. General home improvements

These may seem boring, but overall, fixing the small stuff may increase the value of your home the most. Before you spend money putting in a Jacuzzi tub, first see if any structural or mechanical fixes take priority, such as:

  • roof repairs
  • fixing a leaky basement
  • repairing doors that stick
  • dripping faucets

The Jacuzzi isn’t going to impress anyone if the toilet doesn’t work!

Improvements that DON’T pay

There are some fixes that simply don’t provide a good return on your investment.

  • In-ground swimming pool
    Since many buyers don’t want the maintenance and responsibility that goes with having a pool, installing one can actually detract from the value of your home.
  • Major landscaping
    If it looks like it will require a lot of work and money to keep up, it generally won’t appeal to buyers, no matter how nice it looks.
  • Replacing heating or A/C
    You may make half of your money back at resale.
  • Replacing windows and doors
    If they’re old and drafty, you’ll need to replace them, but it’s an expensive repair that you won’t likely see reflected in your sale price.

Quality counts

Whatever improvements you decide to make to your home, don’t cut corners to save money. A poorly done renovation will detract from the value of your home, especially if buyers decide they need to redo it.