Adding value to your home isn’t as easy as picking a project and researching HGTV or YouTube on how to pull it off. Check some of the best home improvement ideas that will increase your property value and will not break your bank.
Most homeowners have a long laundry list of updates that they would like to make but don’t get around to it until there are real reasons to invest in their homes. Oftentimes the possibility of selling their home and the subsequent appraisal process put homeowners in a place of making decisions with the hope of getting the most “bang for their buck.” The reality however is that not all remodeling projects or upgrades will increase your home’s value enough to recoup the entire cost of the improvement.
In some cases, home projects add value to the homeowner’s experiences in the home, but not necessarily to the value of the property – it may even bring it down when it is time to sell.
The best home improvement ideas in the nutshell
So which home improvement projects are worth the investment and which projects should be avoided entirely? Below are five proven ways to increase home value along with a few suggestions to skip, even if you are tempted to fulfill those “dream home” inspiration boards.
(Minor) Kitchen Remodel
Many people consider the kitchen a huge priority when choosing a new home – most might even say the kitchen is the heart of the home. That’s why updates in this room generally pay off. You can expect to recoup 60-120% of your investment on a kitchen remodel, according to HGTV.
However, it’s important not to go overboard and commit to a minor kitchen remodel. Besides reasons we will go into deeper later, a kitchen should never be more elaborate than the rest of the house or the neighborhood the house resides in.
Buyers often look to the kitchen when determining whether a home is worth the list price. Since people value a kitchen’s layout, cupboards, and appliances when choosing homes and rarely want the task of an immediate upgrade upon purchasing a home, this is one of the best updates to sell your home.
There is a range of valuable home improvements you can make in the kitchen to fit your particular budget and objectives. We suggest starting with installing energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances, and introducing new countertops. When it comes to how much you spend on a kitchen remodel, prices can range from $5,000 to $75,000, or more. At the very least, look to fresh color to give your kitchen an overhaul.
Fresh paint with modern colors can go a long way towards updating the look of your kitchen. (Plus, paint is relatively cheap.)
Bathrooms are one of the key stats people use when starting their home search. 4 Bed, 2 Bath. 2 Bed, 1 Bath. And so on. If your home only has one bathroom, you can guarantee to recoup a large sum of your investment by adding another one. According to Moving.com, a popular realtor database, Not only will it add to your immediate offerings to buyers, but a new bathroom addition can also expect a 54.6% return on investment.
Interestingly, a mid-range bathroom remodel will get you a return of 70.1% nationally – think updated tiles, toilet, lighting, counters, and 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.
Another of the most valuable home improvements in terms of bathroom remodels is turning your standard bathroom into a universally accessible one. This includes: widening doorways for wheelchairs, putting in a walk-in shower, lowering light switches, and putting support bars near the toilet. While this might not seem like something that would be relevant for many of today’s buyers, proactive designers are smartly looking to Aging in Place Design to serve the quickest growing demographic in the U.S.: senior citizens.
From preventing falls through something as simple as choosing the right kind of carpet, to designing beautiful, welcoming shared spaces to help address social isolation, architects and interior designers have the chance to improve, and even extend, the lives of seniors. Small accessibility modifications will have major appeal as homeowners and buyers grow older.
Windows that Wow
Drafty, old single-pane windows are now a major issue for many potential buyers, especially if energy efficiency is in mind. This must be one of the reasons why replacing double-hung windows with insulated, low-E (low-emissivity) vinyl windows recovers about 73% of the costs, according to Remodelling magazine’s 2018 report. Windows with low-E coatings help keep the temperature in a home consistent by reflecting the interior temperatures inside. Similarly, modern windows not only help with energy savings but also add curb appeal to a home.
These days, buyers shop for homes with energy efficiency in mind. If you don’t opt for a full swap out, take a look at Climate Seal’s Thermal series. Climate Seal’s magnetic seal is virtually airtight. By installing the Climate Seal over an existing window, an insulating dead-air space is created. This separates the warm air inside from cold prime window glass. With the exclusive bellows design that expands or contracts as temperatures change, the seal is maintained and annoying drafts are eliminated. The flexible bellows also adjust for the installation of contoured moldings.
You might receive a “Green Energy Tax Credit” of 10% for this upgrade, as long as you install Energy Star-rated windows. You could also qualify for additional credits from your state or even your utility company. Energy Star estimates that the average cost of window replacement in an average-sized home costs $7,500-$10,000, or more. If the new windows save you several hundred dollars a year, and you recoup a tax credit, you can eventually recoup your investment. When you think about the best home improvement ideas – this is a simple yet very effective way to curb your property appeal and save the energy as well.
While decks, patios, and porch additions have been viewed as a perk to any home, the COVID-19 pandemic has made outdoor living spaces even more desired and prioritized. The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders produced homeowners wishing they had larger yards and more comfortable outdoor space.
Adding a deck is one way to upgrade your outdoor living space while also increasing your home’s value. While it can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $19,000 on the national average, it can recoup as much as 72% during resale. While it still depends on the design and materials you use, the investment looks good for our new outdoor space.
If an outer facelift is all that you need to add curb appeal to your home, consider improving your deck or patio. Look into adding small details such as decorative planters, lighting, and other features that will make it more attractive to the neighbors and more readily available for positive first impressions for future buyers.
For most people, the first thoughts that come to mind when deciding on the best home improvement ideas are things like: putting a fresh coat of paint on all interior walls, replace any rotted wood, address any mold you find, or fix the roof when it leaks. Luckily, basic updates like these add the most value to your home. These types of chores keep your home at its optimum value without deteriorating over time. Buyers want a healthy, stable, safe home, and they look carefully for signs of routine maintenance.
Other basic updates to consider: painting the exterior of your home, replacing problematic plumbing, and repainting the interior. These projects keep my home in the best shape not only for enjoying life there, but when the time comes, buyers will see a well-cared-for home.
And some renovation ideas to avoid…
If you plan on moving in two to three years, don’t invest money in home improvement projects that won’t increase the resale value of your home.
Some of these low-value home improvement projects include:
- In-Ground Swimming Pools
- Whirlpool Baths
- Expensive landscaping
- Garage Additions
There are endless options and various creative inspirations to help you get the best home improvement ideas that will add value to your home. But they are not all made equally. Some home improvements don’t pay off like they once did. If you are making a plan to remodel, focus on smaller projects that you make your home attractive to buyers with clear budgets in their minds. Energy-efficient and small upgrades will add character and comfort to your home.
Regardless, your goal is to enjoy your home more or make the most of an investment when you are selling. Always remember homes should feel like their neighborhood.