“First impressions are so valuable,” exclaims Los Angeles Realtor Mary Burak. That’s not to say that interior remodels don’t have great value, too. There are several interior renovations that improve resale value, but you need to capture the buyer’s interest at the curb first.
Many remodels listed in Cost vs. Value have an average price of $20,000 and up. A Washington Post article notes ways to remodel with a budget in mind, such as giving your contractor a detailed list of your wants to help determine an accurate cost. They also suggest figuring in at least 10% in cash for unforeseen problems.
No budget to do a lot of work? Here are several tried and true home improvements that add value without spending a lot of money:
Garage Door Replacement Is the Best Choice
Garage Door Replacement has topped the Cost vs. Value list for a number of years but dropped down a notch this year for the next remodeling option. The inexpensive price to replace a garage door compared to other options on the list and the high curb appeal it brings makes it the number one choice.
Upgrading your garage door with one with heavy-duty steel tracks and four high-tensile-strength steel panels makes it safer and more secure. It also looks better and adds value with an average cost recoup of 94.5 percent. Look for a garage door that fits your home’s style while spicing up your curb appeal.
Manufactured Exterior Stone Veneer Adds a Distinctive Contrast
Manufactured exterior stone veneer tops the Cost vs. Value list for the first time this year, as it returns a whopping 95.6 percent of its cost. Principia Consulting’s research shows that this faux stone siding material has been increasing in popularity over the years.
Remodeling magazine suggests replacing your current siding or otherwise adding the stone veneer in a “300-square-foot continuous band … from bottom third of street-facing façade” including two layers of a water-resistive barrier. The stone veneer also provides a distinctive contrast to the exterior when added to entryway pillars and archways.
Hire a professional installer to ensure the veneer underlayment and drywall will not warp over time and for help in obtaining permits.
Affordable Home Renovations That Improve Value the Most
Here are some more simple and affordable interior and exterior home improvements that will upgrade the buyer’s view of the home:
- Front door – Replace and/or paint the front door. Cost vs. Value states that steel doors cost less than $2,000 and recoup 68.8 percent of cost, while changing to a 12-36-12 fiberglass entrance door recoups 53.3 percent. “A new front door changes the entire look of the house outside, along with fresh paint and pretty flowers,” says Burak.
- Lighting – Add indirect or accent lighting to accentuate various areas and make rooms appear larger.
- Paint – Give all walls and worn and scratched cabinets a fresh coat of paint. Use brighter colors to give the feeling of space and try a slightly darker accent wall in the living room for contrast.
- Hardware – Replace or polish old or tarnished door and cabinet hardware for a fresh feel.
- Backsplash – “A kitchen backsplash is a good style play that adds solid value and always looks more expensive than it costs,” notes Tyler Weinrich, Oklahoma City real estate agent and investor.
Home Improvements That Do Not Add Value
Some home improvements are done out of need or personal taste while living in the property. While you should make the house enjoyable to all living in it, your property is an investment and future buyers may be deterred by your personal ‘improvement’. These kinds of improvements don’t necessarily improve resale value and sometimes should be remodeled in favor of those renovations that improve home value the most in order to sell fast and at the highest value.
“Homeowners typically think adding more bedrooms or bathrooms is the best way to add value,” notes Josh Swisher, president of Northface Construction in Minneapolis. They aren’t entirely wrong, but you need to ask yourself if the improvement is practical.
- Don’t renovate the garage to a bedroom – Increasing square footage by finishing the garage as an extra bedroom may seem like a good idea, but you will turn away the 32 percent of buyers who feel the garage is one of the most important rooms in a house, according to a realtor.com® survey. Instead, make your existing bedrooms look bigger with light-colored paint in a satin or eggshell finish, bright lighting, and strategically placed mirrors.
- Keep bathtubs – Removing all bathtubs and replacing with new, larger showers is not a good idea. Even today, having at least one bathtub is expected, improving your chances of a quick resale. Research found that 38 percent of U.S. residents bathe weekly – on average 3.3 times a week – with males making up half of these bathers. Go ahead and re-porcelain old bathtubs or scrub them until they shine.
- Avoid pricey remodels – Avoid renovations that are not in keeping with your or your neighbor’s current market values, such as a $35,000 kitchen remodel if your condo is worth only $145,000. These renovations will not pay off now or any time in the future. Budget renovations to market value.
Do Renovations Really Improve Resale?
Home renovations really do improve the resale value of your home and can be largely recouped in the sale price. However, not all remodels will improve resale value. It’s all in the buyer’s perception of your home’s worth. Renovations – large or small – should be carefully considered. Ask yourself what the house needs that is not personal. “The simple answer,” says Swisher, “is to make your current space more usable.”
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