Home renovations that add the most resale value
We’ve all heard the stories: a house sells at a new high for the neighborhood while, across the street, a nearly identical home struggles to get noticed. In many of these cases, the difference comes down to the quality of improvements in the top selling home.
Of course, in many instances, sellers may have done remodeling to suit their individual tastes, and which may only appeal to buyers with those same interests or are willing to makeover the space. For example, homeowners who cherish their custom wine cellars and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves may be disappointed to find the average prospect does not share their enthusiasm. Additionally, not every real estate trend is worth the monetary investment when it comes time to sell.
However, in looking at how to increase the value of a home, sellers can consider a wide range of popular upgrades that can make a difference in how fast and for how much a home sells. Ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, here are some of the ways homeowners are giving their properties a competitive edge.
New kitchens are the superstars of home improvement. Done right, a well-thought-out renovation offers a significant return on investment at resale. While the current residents need to plan for their use, prospective buyers will seldom balk at generous, easy-to-access cabinets, wide walkways, abundant counterspace, and deep sinks. Here, details are important: extra outlets, faucet sprayers, hanging space for pots and utensils all add to the convenience and utility of the space.
While stunning bathrooms may not make sales on their own, cramped, depressing, poorly lit baths can torpedo an otherwise desirable property. As with kitchens, popular sentiment about bathroom design is remarkably consistent. Light is key, even in, say, a basement powder room with no opportunity for natural light. Good use of color as well as quality tile, cabinetry and fixtures are essential for a winning look.
Home sellers naturally focus on improving the eye-level appearance of their properties: lawns, porches, doors all need to be maintained. But does a new roof increase home value? Yes! Even though roofs are easy to overlook (until something goes wrong), they reflect more than 40% of the outward appearance of homes. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, a new roof can deliver attractive energy savings.
Pro tip: adding solar panels at the same time as the roof remodeling can save over doing both projects separately. Also, the federal government and some states offer tax incentives for adding solar collection systems.
They are the bane of homeowners’ insurance salespeople everywhere and, in addition, the question of “does a pool increase home value?” is a tricky one. The short answer is “Yes, but…”
That’s because a several variables come into play that are unique to pools over other landscaping projects (e.g., few people, if any, have ever drowned in a rose garden). Swimming pools obviously have greater value in climates where they can be used year-round, or in neighborhoods where most other houses have them. In an ideal situation, an in-ground pool can increase a home’s value by 5% to 8%, though this figure may be understated for high-end properties in warm weather states.
In working with a builder, it’s vitally important to understand the kind of pool desired, what it will be used for (fitness, recreation, entertaining), and how it will complement the structure and form of the house and grounds. The homeowners’ taste should dictate how they envision their pool project. Future owners will either enjoy it, modify it, or fill it in as they see fit.
As with bathrooms, waterproofed and finished basements almost always help boost home value. Since the pandemic, the need and desire for home office space, recreation rooms, and dry storage have grown. In designing a full basement remodel, homeowners may want to look for ways to partition off unsightly HVAC and/or laundry equipment to make the most of the remaining livable area. Ambient or budget-friendly track lighting should be considered to make a well-lit, inviting space.
Future-minded sellers may want to consider upgrading their heating and cooling systems sooner rather than later to maximize their comfort and energy savings. Even though the ROI on new HVAC systems is only 25-35%, prospective buyers may balk at buying a house with a furnace and water heater nearing their end of life. Even in the Midwest and Northeast, summers can be brutal and highly efficient central air conditioning is always a plus.
Of course, the concept of “continuous improvement” is perfectly apt to apply to the evolution of a home and the journey of its owners. In addition to the above, new floors, new windows, upgrades to curb appeal and the lawn, wi-fi friendly walls, home theaters, or simply a new coat of paint are just some of the many ways homeowners can increase the value of their properties for their future owners…and themselves.