Everyone makes home improvements for different reasons, but most of the time they’re either a necessity (maybe a roof repair), something for personal enjoyment, or intended to increase a home’s market value. In fact, about 53% of adults in the U.S. have completed a home improvement project within the last year. Whether you’re getting ready to move or just sprucing things up a bit, it’s wise to be mindful of how the improvements you’re making will affect your home’s value when it comes time to sell or refinance your mortgage.
Based on what real estate experts say, the three top home improvement categories that deliver the biggest bang for your home renovating buck fall into three categories: practical appeal, curb appeal, and modern appeal. Let’s take a look at each:
#1: Practical Appeal
When we think of home renovation, our minds jump to fun projects like updating a kitchen or adding a deck, but “boring” projects like routine maintenance and repairs or energy-efficiency upgrades go a long way in creating baseline appeal and value to your home.
Maintenance & Repairs
Home hunters want to know the place they’re considering is in good condition. No matter how great a renovated bathroom looks, it won’t persuade a buyer to overlook a major repair they’ll have to deal with right away. Performing routine maintenance on furnaces and septic systems, fixing problems like plumbing leaks or rusty gutters, and making practical improvements are all investments that will raise and maintain your home’s value in the long run. Even spending a few hundred dollars in this area can yield a few thousand more in return.
This shows in statistics. Based on national averages, adding insulation regains 107.7% of the cost in the form of home value; replacing roofing or siding recoups 80 to 92% of the cost. Compare this to a bathroom or kitchen remodel, which only returns 64 to 80%, at best.
Home buyers are looking more carefully at utilities – one of those controllable expenses that can be drastically improved with energy-efficient appliances and heating/cooling systems. Besides the personal savings on your utility bills and taxes, The Appraisal Journal says making your home greener will also improve the value of your home by up to 20 times the annual energy savings. Wow!
#2: Curb Appeal
Potential buyers decide within the first few moments of walking up to a house whether they’re interested in seeing more. First, there’s landscaping. Overhanging trees and unruly bushes can obscure your house’s best features, darken the interior, encourage mold, and can even cause expensive damage. A Home Gain survey showed that putting just $400 to $500 into landscaping could improve the value of your home up to four times that amount.
Then there’s the entryway. Is it neat, well-lit, and protected from weather? Is your door in good shape and look secure? Consider updating your entry with a steel door – it’s another item you’ll recoup almost 100% of your cost on. Plus, they look modern and are pretty cool too.
Finally, fix other exterior issues like missing siding or chipped paint. Small updates like these can make a pretty big difference when it comes to shaping the first impressions of anyone who see your home.
#3: Modern Appeal
It’s time to give your home some modern appeal after the basics are taken care of. Real estate professionals say home buyers are looking for open floor plans, natural light, updated flooring, and bathroom and kitchen upgrades. Here are a few of the most value-driven ways to make your home look more modern:
- Spend a few hundred dollars to knock out a non-structural wall or kitchen island.
- Improve light by replacing broken panes, freeing painted-over windows, and installing less expensive tubular skylights.
- Fix squeaks in your floors, patch and repair boards and tile, or rip out wall-to-wall carpet and replace it with engineered hardwood.
- Update the bathroom on a tight budget by replacing frosted glass, cleaning grout, removing rust stains, re-caulking, updating doorknobs and pulls, replacing faucets, and installing a low-flush toilet.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on improvements to increase your home’s value. Just choose your improvements wisely and you can easily recoup that investment back. The more you value your home by taking care of it, the more others will value it, as well.
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