Questions I receive all the time revolve around home improvements, updating projects, refinancing to pull out home equity for construction, and what to do to make a house more valuable. Or ever more specific, questions about what rooms to update first when our clients move into a fixer upper. Now if you plan to live in your home for 5 years or more, you should feel free to make upgrades that fit your lifestyle, timing, and preferences. However, if you want to turn a profit when you sell over the next few years, then you should try increasing your Return On Investment on each of your home improvement projects. So, let’s get into it, because not all projects offer the same value; you need to know where to focus your dollars, your time, and your contractors in the coming months!
When you look at the options for home renovations, people often gravitate to the rooms they spend the most time. This can vary as kitchens, bedrooms, TV rooms, and recreation areas are often where quality time is spent, but not always where the best Return on Investment (ROI) is seen. Not all renovation projects equate to an equal return…some are worth the dollars spent but many can be a waste of time and money, with the ROI not being as high as some might expect. When looking at home renovation projects for the coming months, consider the following improvements that offer the greatest boost in the value of your home:
Landscaping (Typical ROI: 90% to 100%)
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is true for you home as well, so when guests pull up to your home they should be greeted with a clean and fresh look from the curb all the way to the front door. This means grass, landscaping, driveway, plants, flowers, trees, and features. When people pull up to your property and notice poor landscaping, overgrown grass, dead plants, and a neglected walkway, it doesn’t give them the best first impression. Few rehabbing dollars go farther than those spent on the outside of the house. New landscaping could be just what the home needs to look fresh and appealing. The aesthetic appeal of both the front and backyard may actually be the first thing buyers see, so make a good first impression and update the landscaping.
Exterior Design/Curb Appeal (Typical ROI: 85% to 95%)
The opportunity that curb appeal presents for you to highlight you home is significant. Curb appeal sells homes and it goes along with the landscaping; folks should feel welcomed and the home should be taken care of across all the exterior components of the property. Curb appeal is why many exterior projects are ranked so highly on the list of recommended home improvements. Exterior design is meant to create interest in your home so the siding, gutters, windows, and doors should pop and match a well-done yard setup from the street view. Simple and relatively inexpensive door upgrades can return over 90% and typically any deck, patio, or porch enhancement can also be in the 90% ROI range. Energy efficient siding, window, or door projects are also environmentally friendly and will net you approximately 85% ROI on most investments made in these areas. When you invest in the curb appeal of a home you set the stage for what else is inside, welcoming all guests and someday setting yourself up for potential Buyers to see themselves in your house.
Bathroom Remodel (Typical ROI: 93% to 100%)
When you help Buyers shop for homes there are essentially two types of rooms that sell houses – kitchens and bathrooms. When assessing the home improvement returns, the greatest return seems to be with the bathrooms. Now, the bathroom upgrades offer great ROI but you cannot just go wild and do everything in high-end exotic finishes; for most functional and design updates you make you will get the money back when you sell the home. For many bathroom updates you can look at simple, inexpensive options that will go a long way to improving these rooms. Rather than gutting the entire space, the best return on dollars is often painting, upgrading mirrors, new vanity or cabinets, upgraded countertops, or new plumbing fixtures; these are all cost-effective ways to improve the bathroom and not break the bank on a major bathroom remodel. If you are going to opt for the full demo and remodel of the bathroom, be sure to get some design opinions so you are selecting updated finishes and appealing to a broad range of home Buyers in the future.
Kitchen (Typical ROI: 80% to 90%)
Anyone who has been through the home buying process knows that in your favorite homes, it’s almost always about the kitchen! There are several reasons for this – it’s the room where the most time is spent, guests gather for meals and events, and nearly every day there is activity of some type in the kitchen. Kitchens are the most important space in a home for resale and even a minor kitchen remodel can boost the home value significantly without demolishing an entire room. Not unlike the bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel could require a complete overhaul in order to open up an old space and make it larger. But if the space is already open, you can create a new look by upgrading appliances with new and improved versions. The other big return is refinishing cabinets instead of a complete replacement of the entire kitchen. (which can get expensive and inconvenient) Either way, any thoughtful investment in kitchen appliances, cabinets, hardware, and countertops can increase the value of your home and improve your daily enjoyment of the space.
As a homeowner, you need to realize that the best return on investment home improvement projects have developed a reputation for improving functionality, demand, and value of the home. Therefore, if homeowners are looking for the best return on their home investment, they can’t simply make any upgrades they want; they need to focus on the right upgrades in their market. The best real estate agents know how to help Buyers and Seller assess the local market and help answer these questions for their clients.
Contact Us if you are looking to sell your home and we can help you with a no obligation assessment and a list of our recommendations as you prepare for your next move!