The imported Italian tile you used in your entryway or the pool you installed in the backyard may be of immense value to you while you live in the home, but unfortunately they aren’t items that buyers shopping in your neighborhood value.
The value of your home is partially determined by the value of your neighbor’s homes, so don’t make improvements that bring your home’s value significantly over the general value of other homes in your neighborhood.
To get the most bang for your home improvement buck, consider these upgrades:
Before you consider cosmetic and even functional improvements (such as adding additional square footage) to the home, make all needed upgrades, repairs or replacements to the home’s major systems. Major systems include plumbing, heating, electrical and sewer systems, among others.
Buyers want assurance that these basic items are in working order and won’t need to be replaced or repaired in the near future, an issue that will most likely be addressed in the home inspection. Older homes may require updated wiring and plumbing. An old roof should be replaced. Address problems with heating and air-conditioning units.
Outdoor Replacement Projects
Replacement projects will give you more added value than remodeling projects, according to Remodeling Magazine. Fortunately for homeowners, these types of projects are also the least expensive and add to the home’s curb appeal. Consider replacing the garage door (76.9 percent ROI), siding (76.4 percent ROI), the front door (90.7 percent ROI) and windows (73.9 percent ROI). The magazine suggests fiber-cement or foam-backed vinyl siding, adding a steel entry door and vinyl window replacement.
The number-one home improvement project as far as recouping a return on your investment is the addition of loose foam insulation in the attic, according to Remodeling Magazine. At a nationwide average cost of a little over $1343, expect to recoup 107.7 percent of the cost of adding insulation when you sell the home.
Bathrooms for a Growing Family
In the suburbs, more than half (58 percent) of buyers say their preferred number of bathrooms is a requirement, according to Zillow's 2017 Consumer Housing Trends Report.
Tip: If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a bathroom addition, give the existing bathrooms a facelift.
That said, the price of adding a bathroom to a house may not have the expected ROI most homeowners desire. If you live in an area on the Pacific Coast, like San Diego, CA, plan on paying $49,864 for a new bathroom, according to Remodeling Magazine. When it comes time to sell that home, you’ll recoup almost 64.2 percent of that cost. Those located in the Mid-Atlantic region can plan on spending a bit less ($46,490) and recoup alot less (48.7 percent).
Tip: If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a bathroom addition, give the existing bathrooms a facelift. A fresh coat of paint, new fixtures and new flooring will add value and make the home show better.
According to Zillow's 2017 Consumer Housing Trends Report, 48 percent of buyers list preferred style of kitchen as a desired home characteristic.
Kitchens tend to be the heart of a home, so anything you do to improve your kitchen will add value. Again, painting the kitchen should be the first step, whether you plan an entire remodel of the room or just a minor facelift. Vinyl flooring tends to make the room look dated, so consider replacing it with laminate or tile. New cabinetry, kitchen sink fixtures and updated lighting will all add value.
Folks on a budget can still increase value by sanding and then painting or staining cabinetry and adding new hardware and by purchasing new (matching) appliances and new countertops.
When a TV show can be built around this one subject, it’s a pretty good indication of its importance. Curb appeal is what beckons potential buyers into your home, and underestimating its importance to the value of a home is a big mistake many homeowners make.
Be careful to keep your color choices aligned with the home’s architecture. In other words, don’t add cottage garden-type flowers to a bed in front of a starkly modern home.
If you have a healthy budget, and your landscaping needs extensive work, consider hiring professionals for this home improvement project. A landscape architect can be pricey but necessary if your yard is in desperate need of an overhaul. According to Jeff Mitchell with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), curb appeal shouldn’t stop at the front yard, but should be extended to the backyard as well.
At the very least, clean the yard of any debris, trim trees and shrubs and spread fresh mulch in the planting beds.
Budget curb appeal-improving landscape projects include:
- Line the walkway with solar-powered lights. The big home improvement stores carry a variety of inexpensive styles and all you need to do is stick them in the ground. Not only are they functional – lighting your way at night – but they provide ornamentation as well.
- Green up the lawn, keep it mowed and edged and reseed bare spots.
- Add color to the planting beds. Be careful to keep your color choices aligned with the home’s architecture. In other words, don’t add cottage garden-type flowers to a bed in front of a starkly modern home. Certain plants are grown because of their interesting and colorful foliage, such as hosta and coleus, and are better suited to more modern homes. If you have questions about what to plant, consult with the experts at your local nursery.
- Plant a tree. Yes, it sounds like an Arbor Day slogan, but planting a tree in your front yard pays off by helping cut energy costs in the summer (if strategically located to shade the house) and by adding value to the home. Not sure which tree to plant? Use the fun National Tree Benefit calculator to assist you with making the right choice. Just enter your zip code and the calculator will bring up a list of trees suited to your region and let you know the benefits of each.
Converting the basement into a finished room adds usable square footage to the home. Finishing basements is one of the best ways to increase your home’s value, as it transforms unfinished basements – glorified storage space – into a usable, attractive room. Expect to recoup about 70 percent of the remodeling cost when you go to sell, says Remodeling Magazine.
Here is a short list of rooms your basement can become – and accoutrements to put inside it – if you choose to renovate it:
- Sports den: Big screen TV, sports memorabilia, overstuffed couches and cushy carpeting
- Lounge: Pool table, wet bar, dark hardwood floors and a poker table
- Children’s play area: Playset, soft furniture like beanbag chairs, arts and crafts table and bins and shelves for toys and books
Most new homes come equipped with lots of storage. Older homes, on the other hand, tend to lack even some of the basic storage options, such as a coat or linen closet. If you lack the space to expand closets or other storage spaces or build new ones, consider redesigning the spaces you do have.
There are specialty stores now dedicated to nothing but storage solutions. Do-it-yourself projects may include adding a complete closet system or adding organization details to a pantry.
Little Touches That Mean Alot
There are many small items you can add to the home that buyers will perceive as adding value. Some of these include:
- Alarm systems
- Water filtration system
- Luxury touches such as an upgraded dishwasher, whirlpool bathtub and built-in wine coolers may peak the buyer’s interest. Luxury homeowners can take this a step further by adding an in-home theater and additional spa-like features to the bathrooms.
Caveat – Invest in Home Improvements Wisely
One of the most important things to keep in mind when considering any home improvement project is to not go overboard. The value of your home is partially determined by the value of your neighbor’s homes, so don’t make improvements that bring your home’s value significantly over the general value of other homes in your neighborhood.