Which Home Improvements Add The Most Value?

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Whole house renovations can add value to your home, but there are ways to upgrade your home without going into debt or ransacking your savings. Painting, re-grouting tile, and power washing the outside of your home won’t cost a lot of money, but these do-it-yourself home improvements can add real value to your home.

With some sweat equity, a DIY attitude, and a few dollars, you can list your home for more money if you’re ready to sell. And if you’re not quite prepared to put your home on the market, you can enjoy having a more beautiful place to live. Here are some low cost, high-value home improvement projects to consider.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Because the kitchen is considered the heart of the home, updates in this space generally pay off. A minor kitchen remodel has an average cost of more than $23,000 and recovers about 78% of your spend at resale, compared to an upscale one with a lower return on investment. It’s an essential money saver and the best choice if your space needs a cosmetic update. 

For example, putting on a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in updating your kitchen’s look. Consider using low-VOC paint to make it more eco-friendly. Other projects may include replacing cabinet fronts with an updated style and adding recessed lighting to brighten the countertops. Minor, inexpensive upgrades such as adding matching drawer knobs, cabinet pulls, and faucets can easily add a modern touch to the room. Still, they can significantly impact when it’s time to sell.

Bathroom Upgrades

A mid-range bath can recoup as much as 64% during resale. And just like with the kitchen, you can give your bathroom a facelift just by swapping out fixtures. Simple fixes such as replacing the vanity lights, removing dated wall coverings, and replacing old shower doors can usually do the trick. To make it more energy-efficient, replace your old toilet with a low-flow model that uses less water per flush.

But if your home has only one bathroom, it might be better to spend money on adding a second bath or a half-bath rather than remodelling your existing one. A new bathroom will not only improve your home’s interior but can also raise its value. It might be less costly to convert any small or underutilized space, such as a walk-in closet, an area under the staircase, or an old laundry room, although it still depends mainly on the items and accessories you will use. Yet, a half-bathroom is critical for homes without a bathroom on the main level, especially during this time to keep germs from spreading into our home.

Remodel An Existing Space/Add Square Footage

If you can remodel and utilize unused areas, such as your attic or basement, it’s an excellent way to boost value and add square footage to your home. You may opt to finish a basement and reinvent it into an entertainment bar, a game room, or a second living room; convert the attic space into a bedroom or a kids’ playroom; or turn a walk-in closet into a home office that’s perfect for many professionals nowadays. 

This way, even if you’re planning to stay in the home for a few more years, the extra space will be enjoyed and benefit your family. And once you’re ready to sell, having a versatile room that can be converted into anything will have a great appeal to prospective buyers.

Window Replacement

Old, drafty single-pane windows are now a major turn-off for many potential buyers, especially if energy efficiency is in mind. This must be one reason why replacing double-hung windows with insulated, low-E (low-emissivity) vinyl windows recovers about 73% of the costs, according to Remodelling magazine’s report. Windows with low-E coatings help keep the home’s temperature consistent by reflecting the interior temperatures inside. Likewise, modern windows don’t only help with energy savings but also add curb appeal to a home.

Deck, Patio, Or Porch Addition

Due to previous lockdowns and stay-at-home orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor living spaces have become more desirable. In the latest Realtor.com® and Toluna Insights survey on what homeowners wish they could change about their home to make it more livable while sheltering in, 9% of respondents wanted to add a yard or patio. Having plenty of yard space has become the ideal as we continue our lives under the new normal. 

Adding a deck is one way to upgrade your outdoor living space and increase your home’s value. While it can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $19,000 on a national average, it can recoup as much as 72% during resale. Again, however, it still depends on the design and materials you use. 

If a facelift is all you need, consider improving your deck or patio by adding small details such as decorative planters, lighting, and other features that will make it more attractive and also enhance your home’s curb appeal.

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Entry Door Replacement

Replacing your front door with a new steel entry door has had the best return on investment every year. It’s no wonder because a home with old doors that let in plenty of hot and cold air can be a huge turn-off to potential buyers as it might be more costly to live in and maintain. According to the report, an average steel entry door replacement costs more than $1,800 and returns almost 69% at resale. More buyers will appreciate the energy efficiency, low maintenance, and cold-blocking powers of metal. Finding the right duplex build  is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.

Garage Door Replacement

On the other hand, a new garage door is one project that practically pays for itself, recouping about 95% of your costs at resale. A garage door upgrade also helps make a good impression on guests and buyers, improve security, and contribute to your home’s curb appeal.

Roof Replacement

Replacing a roof might be considered by many as a maintenance project, and it’s certainly not a show-stopping improvement like a kitchen renovation. However, it’s one update that can boost your home’s value, and on average, you can recover almost 66% of its cost when it’s time to sell. Buyers also appreciate a new roof because they know it will save them the hassle and expenses brought by a new roof installation. It’s especially crucial to update your roof if it is already leaking and is nearing the end of its lifespan, as it could hurt your home’s value.

Adding Stone Veneer

Installing a manufactured stone veneer makes your home more beautiful and increases the value of your property. According to the 2020 Cost vs Value Report, this update costs an average of $9,357 but recovers as much as 96% in resale value. It’s also a versatile project that you can add to any part of your home, may it be on the front porch, around the fireplace, or as a feature wall in the kitchen or bathroom.

Essential Updates Like Paint, Minor Fixes, And Fixture Replacements

Never underestimate the power of doing essential updates to boost your home’s value. Small, inexpensive projects like touching upon any flaking or chipping paint, removing dirt and mould, painting the front door, replacing old doorknobs and handles, and even updating your mailbox, can help keep your home in tip-top shape that will show buyers that you have a safe and well-maintained home. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.

Seven Simple Interior Updates

Freshen up the walls

If your walls have scratches and dirty paint, an outdated colour, or fading wallpaper, a little elbow grease and a few cans of paint can make a dramatic difference. To maximize your home’s value for sale, choose a neutral colour scheme that unifies the entire house, makes space look more prominent, and appeals to a wide variety of potential buyers.

Install crown moulding

Putting in crown moulding is a surprisingly easy task that can add character to your rooms. Buy the moulding from a home improvement store, cut it to the size that fits your room (or have the store cut it for you), and attach it to the top of the wall with a nail gun. These decorative strips may even come already painted. Installing crown moulding does involve a bit of woodworking skill and the right tools, but it is very inexpensive to do yourself.

Update fixtures

Switchplates, outlet covers, curtain rods, light fixtures, and doorknobs are often dull or overlooked, but you can add significant pizzazz for just a few dollars. Attractive metal switch plates, and outlet covers can cost as little as $5 apiece but look much more expensive. Light fixtures and decorative curtain rods can be a little pricier, but sometimes you can make an inexpensive one look elegant with a can of spray paint. Again, if you plan to sell, be sure to choose items in colours and finishes that will appeal to a broad audience.

Install ceiling fans

Everyone likes to save money on electricity bills, making ceiling fans an appealing addition to any home. Ceiling fans cut down on air conditioning costs, and they can also reduce heating costs by circulating warm air away from the ceiling. A primary fan costs about $50, and you can get a nice one for no more than a couple of hundred dollars. If you don’t already have wiring from overhead lighting, you may need to hire a professional, which can significantly escalate this project’s cost.

Improve window treatments

The cheap vertical plastic blinds, paper shades, or horizontal aluminium blinds that may have come with your house don’t add value to your home. Consider replacing them with plantation shutters, wooden blinds, or drapes. Again, if you are selling, choose neutral options to help you get a better price for your home. 

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Reveal and restore hardwood floors

Older homes, in particular, are likely to have hardwood floors lurking beneath the carpet. Squeaky floors are a sign that you may have wood floors. If you’re not sure, pull up your carpet in an obscure corner and check. If you do have wood floors, there’s a good chance you’ll have to refinish them to restore them to their original splendour, but it will be much less expensive than installing new flooring from scratch.

Clean fireplace brick

If you have a brick fireplace and burn wood in it, chances are some of the brick is stained with soot and creosote. Because a beautiful fireplace can be a significant selling point in a home, make yours look as attractive as possible. Use a damp rag to wipe away some of the soot, then follow with a fireplace cleaner designed to remove creosote. It will take some scrubbing with a stiff brush and possibly several applications, but you’ll have that brick looking spiffy when you’re finished.

Invisible Home Improvements

You can drop a considerable chunk of cash on home maintenance projects like replacing your heating and cooling unit, water heater or even your septic system. Unfortunately, even when these features are brand-new, most buyers aren’t willing to pay more for them. Buyers expect functional features like these to simply function, and they don’t feel like they should pay for wear and tear that occurred in the home while you owned it.

On the other hand, if any of these invisible parts of your home aren’t in working order, it will detract big time from your home’s value. Even if you plan to sell soon, you can’t avoid these problems since they will undoubtedly turn up in a home inspection. Go ahead and tackle them, realize you’re maintaining your home’s value—not adding to it.

However, one update most homeowners would consider a maintenance project falls into a grey area of home improvement: a roof replacement. A new roof certainly isn’t a showpiece like a top-to-bottom kitchen renovation, but according to Remodeling.com, it can boost your home’s value. On average, homeowners nationwide can expect to recoup nearly 68% of the $20,939 price tag of a midrange roof replacement project.

Projects That Can Negatively Affect Resale Value

Almost any project has the potential to affect resale value negatively. A general rule is that the more personal your choices are—meaning they’re made to suit your particular lifestyle or taste—the less likely they are to affect resale value positively.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the project. It just means you shouldn’t expect it to add value to your home and should anticipate that your home could be more challenging to sell as a result. For example, while a soundproof music studio might be your dream come true, it won’t be practical for a young family looking for an extra bedroom for their new baby. These buyers won’t pay the premium it cost you to build the studio, and they might even be turned off by it. Looking for dual occupancy? Look no further! MJS Construction Group has you covered. 

Here are some general indicators that a project might have a negative resale value. 

Luxury upgrades.

While no one wants to see the absolute cheapest renovations in a home, the highest-quality upgrades often don’t have the return of mid-range ones unless you’re in a very high-end home. Marble floors in the bathroom or custom cabinets in the kitchen might be lovely, but don’t assume buyers will pay proportionately for these luxuries.

Rooms that don’t fit with the floor plan.

Converting the back patio to a family room might be a perfect way to add more space to your home, but if your dining room window now looks into the family room, it probably won’t be well-loved by prospective buyers.

Garage conversions.

Garage conversions can give homeowners much-needed space, but buyers like having garages, too. Thus converting this space usually won’t increase value.

A swimming pool.

A pool might seem like the ultimate luxury to you, but it could be more of a hindrance when it comes to selling. It could be seen as a safety hazard by parents with small children. Consider whether it’s usable most of the year—while a pool might be a significant selling point in parts of Florida and California, it could be a severe liability in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Other Factors That Affect Resale Value

Even if you do the right kind of projects, you’re not guaranteed a high return on your investment. Before deciding whether an improvement will add value, consider some more general factors.

Your changes should conform to the neighbourhood.

If you live in a neighbourhood of two-bedroom bungalows and add a second story to put in a couple of extra bedrooms, you aren’t likely to see a high return. 

Buyers looking for homes that large won’t be looking in your neighbourhood. On the other hand, if any of your neighbours are making similar improvements (perhaps because these affordable homes are on large lots and in a great school district), you might fare well doing the same.

Upgrades to a newer home probably won’t have the same impact in an older home. In a 1950s house, an original kitchen’s aged or out-of-style cabinets and floor tile might make buyers think: “I guess we’ll start with a kitchen remodel!” The same isn’t necessarily true of a house that’s just a few years old, which means you’re less likely to increase a newer home’s value by remodelling significantly.

Your upgrades should be in sync with the rest of the house.

Focusing narrowly on only one room—the perfect master suite, for example—can be a mistake. If the rest of your house were last updated 30 years ago, it would look even shabbier in comparison to the upgraded suite.

Stay within the price range for similar homes.

From a practical perspective, you shouldn’t expect to recover as much from improvements to a modestly priced home as you would for enhancements to a high-end home. Spending $30,000 remodelling a kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances in a home that costs $150,000 won’t have nearly the return the same remodel would in a $500,000 home.

Kitchen and bathroom remodel continue to be the two of the best investments you can make in your home to boost its appraisal and resale value. These areas are where people spend the most time in their homes, so experts say you can almost always tell if money has been well spent or not. Also, whether your goal is to enjoy your home more or make the most return on investment when it’s time to sell, remember never to go overboard and never make a space fancier than the rest of the house or the neighbourhood.

You have many options for home improvement projects that add value to your home. Remember that home improvement don’t pay off as it did in 2004-2005 when the housing market peaked. If you plan to remodel, concentrate your efforts on smaller projects that make your home more appealing to budget-minded buyers. Focus on energy efficiency and minor upgrades that add character and comfort to your home. Uber-luxury has become passé.

Did any upgrades you made to your house pay off when it came time to sell? What home improvement projects will you work on this year?

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