As a Realtor, I’m often asked by homeowners what improvements will boost their resale value the most. Unfortunately, home upgrades rarely offer a dollar-for-dollar return, so homeowners need to be mindful of their remodel investments if they are hoping to maximize their return when it comes time to sell their house.
Here are 5 of the top home improvement projects that will improve the value of your house:
Whether you enjoy entertaining guests, gathering with family, or just love to cook, the kitchen is often the heart of the home. I’ve seen outdated kitchens kill the appeal of an otherwise attractive house. Stainless steel appliances, a nice gas range, marble countertops, modern cabinets, attractive and efficient lighting, and upgraded fixtures are all ways to boost the appeal—and value—of your kitchen.
Midcentury homes are great, until you get to the bathroom (rose-pink tile, anyone?) Transform your bathroom into a nurturing sanctuary with new tile, fresh paint, high-end finishes, and flattering lighting. Also, consider low-flow toilets, and other WCP (water-conserving plumbing) fixtures, which will become required by law in pre-1994 homes in California starting January 2017.
When Buyers are looking at a house, one of the first few questions our of their mouths is, “How old is the roof?” If you’ve got a newer house, great, you can put your money elsewhere. However, if your house was built in the 70s or 80s, and you’ve never replaced the roof, your time is due. Investing in a new 30-year roof is a great investment that both you—and your future buyers—will appreciate and benefit from.
Energy Efficiency Upgrade
Old aluminum, single-pane windows, inefficient appliances and lights, underinsulated attics, and leaky ductwork can all inflate your monthly energy bills, and bleed your pocketbook. Energy upgrades include double pane, vinyl windows, Energy Star appliances, and CFL or LED lighting. You can also fully insulate the attic with additional fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose insulation. If you’d rather repair than replace, you can add weather strips to doors and windows, and have a HVAC professional seal your existing ductwork.
Interior Paint Job
A fresh coat of paint is an easy and inexpensive way to transform a room. When Buyers are looking at your house, they’re making a mental tally of all the projects they will have to do if they buy it. When they see smudged, tired walls, or crazy-bold accent walls, their to-do list starts growing immediately, while they mentally chip away at the price of your house. Walking into rooms that are clean, bright, and freshly painted with neutral colors has a soothing effect that allows Buyers to focus on other areas of the house, and keeps one more item off their to-do list.
According to Consumer Report, the upgrades listed above may offer a potential increase between 1% and 9% in retail asking price assuming initial home value is at least $205,000. When tackling home improvement jobs, consider the comfort and enjoyment of your home’s current occupants, while also making educated decisions that will benefit you, and your home’s future owners.
Also, track all expenses and keep all receipts so you know how much you’ve put into your home. You may not recoup your entire investment (depending on the market and other factors), but you’ll be better prepared to negotiate for an accurate price when it comes time to sell.
Nikolas Allen is a Realtor® in Mt. Shasta, California. He helps people through the complex process of buying and selling their homes. He has dropped thousands into renovating his back yard, even though he knows it will never recoup. Oh, but the yard parties!