10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns

One of the first questions in the mind of a homeowner considering listing their house for sale is this: Exactly what renovations are needed and which home improvement projects will maximize the homes resale value?  There are no set simple answers to this, for what a buyer is willing to pay rests on many different factors.  We can explore the biggest factors of late for a little guidance.

Plunging into the sea of the home selling market without any proper insight could possibly leave you drowning in expensive renovations and/or home improvement projects that may not actually improve the resale value of your home at all.  The choices to improve your home from your personal aesthetic standpoint are not always the best from an investment perspective.  Actually, a lot of the more fun projects that come to mind provide the least return when it’s time to sell.  With that in mind, consider the following list of projects that will keep you on the safe side and help you get the best returns on your investment.

Take Care of the Basics!

You can invest your money in expensive roofing, luxury home flooring, and sophisticated designer kitchens, but if you skip the basics and the customer finds water leaking in your basement, your moment of imprinting a glorious impression will go straight down the drain.

Think from a potential buyer’s perspective: If they see that you didn’t take care of the fundamentals, then they may pass on the home entirely or seek a huge allowance at closing or only offer a very reduced price.

Be sure the homes core structure and functions are sound; the roofing (including gutters), furnace, air conditioning, drainage, electrical system, and plumbing need to be in good shape before taking on anything else.

Attic Insulation (Fiberglass)

Proper insulation is one of the simplest ways to manage heating and cooling expenses.  This year, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, the highest return on investment came from fiberglass attic insulation with a whopping 116.9% return, making attic insulation the only project that gives more than a 100% return on your investment out of the 30 projects that were analyzed nationally.  The new added insulation will help on energy bills which potential buyers will be aware of.

10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns
Chiara Povasi via www.Tempodadelicadeza.com.br

Front Door Replacement

The simple act of replacing the front door is a tried and true method that creates a huge impact on the sale value of any home.  It is a central focal point for all visitors, potential home buyers and everyone else that looks at your home’s exterior.  It has major impact on your curb appeal.  The current trends are for a minimalist design approach.  Intricate carvings and wood detailing have become less popular as clean lines and simple but elegant entryways have become more common.  Actually a  steel door will give you the best sealing and energy efficiency.  Remodeling Magazine’s report indicates you can recoup 91% of your cost for this upgrade.  Besides the aesthetics of a nice steel door, there is the added benefit of better security.

New Garage Door

A new garage door can enhance your homes curb appeal.  Buyers notice when it’s not looking the best.  There are many good looking choices available.  Besides a host of great colors, you can get “wood-look” embossed steel and glass-window insets that can give you an updated look.   Realtors feel that if your exterior is impressive enough, then and only then will a potential buyer be willing to come in and see the rest.  If all of your home improvement dollars are spent inside the house, then you’ll never have a chance to show your improvements off.

10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns
This photo and cover- www.TaylorHannahArchitect.com photo by Peter A. Sellar

Minor Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular home improvement projects. With people enjoying spending more time cooking in their kitchens, they want to have nice equipment and good quality counter space.  According to Remodeling’s report, the average returns for a minor kitchen remodel (about $ 20,000), is close to 83%.

New cabinet doors can give a really good look at only half the cost of new cabinets.  Another important item to consider is increasing storage space if practical.  Surveys show that many things are stored outside the kitchen, so it’s a benefit to have more kitchen storage.  A potential buyer will always appreciate good storage.  Traditional all wood cabinets, natural stone or wood floors, nice stainless appliances and stone counter-tops all tend to be good choices.

Keep in mind that getting carried away with kitchen renovations is easy to do.  Major renovations have proven to be less of a good investment than minor ones. Overspending may be tempting, but usually does not pay off as a good investment.

10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns
www.KatharinePooley.com

Minor Bath Remodeling

Kitchens and baths are often very important places that buyers tend to notice on a home tour.  People spend a lot of time in those two areas.  Research shows that an average American spends 1.5 years in the bathroom during their lives.  When you spend that much time in a space, you naturally prefer for it to be clean, efficient, and comfortable.  The great thing about bathroom remodeling jobs is that they do not need to be expensive.  Fresh paint, upgraded toilets, nice shower-heads, and re-grouting tiles are easy things that give huge returns.

Granite counters in a bath are not nearly as expensive as in a kitchen due to less surface area, and they give a refined look.  Mirrors should have bright, even lighting around them so that there are no side shadows.  Wall mounted lighting tends to be more appealing and attractive than overhead.

10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns
www.HillHouseInteriors.com – photo by Thierry Cardineau

Convert Attic into Bedroom

Converting your attic into a bedroom is an ideal way to expand your living area.  In high-end markets, it is particularly helpful to have more square footage as it is a measure to determine value.  Sure, it will cost more than replacing your front door, but it will also cost less than adding a new room.  Having a home go from two to three bedrooms, or from three to four, adds many potential buyers to the mix; particularly with families. Another advantage is that this renovation does not require adding to your homes footprint or doing foundation work.   This helps keep costs under control while adding a pleasant and functional space.

New Roofing

When considering home improvement projects, roofing replacement is a vital but expensive job.  It’s importance lies in the fact that all the time and money you spend on other projects will be a waste if not protected by a strong roof.   In addition, home inspectors look over this area very carefully and if it is in need of repair or replacement it can substantially affect the loan value that an appraiser comes up with.  Many lenders will not even lend money to a borrower unless the roof is in great shape.

Window Replacement 

Homeowners who replace their aging windows attract more buyers than those who miss this crucial detail to add curb appeal.  Beaten up windows or leaky ones should be replaced ideally with wood windows as they make the home more attractive while increasing its energy efficiency.  According to the Department of Energy, using windows that are rated as “Low E” (low emissivity), is a great way to cut energy costs.  These windows have a microscopic thin metallic coating that reduces infrared radiation which cools the window pane.  While these windows can cost 10-15% more, they have been shown to reduce energy costs as much as 30-50%.

10 Home Improvement Projects For Best Returns
www.RobertBrownInteriorDesign.com – photo by Erica George Dines

Use Neutral Paint

Even if your home improvement efforts are impressive, they can lose points if they are done too specific to your taste.  It is essential to keep a fairly blank slate so potential buyers can envision themselves and their things in that space.

So, whats the conclusion for the best home improvement projects that will get you the best return on your investment?  The answers are probably not the ones you were hoping for.  In this case, less really is more.  The lower cost projects tend to be the ones that get the biggest returns.  If you are moving soon though, it is worth it to invest your money wisely.  If you intend to stay a while, do so in comfort and style.

Ok my friends, this is the first of a new style post we will be including going forward. I hope you all enjoy this new post style.  Along with the new site and new look that we have coming soon, we will be be doing more posts along this line that are designed to provide more usable information.  So..in addition to design inspiration, we will be providing you with more concrete information and news you can use.

Let me hear from you all in the comments please!  What do you think about this style post?  Do you like?  Any thoughts or suggestions?  Do you have any questions or topics you would like for us to cover on here?  Let me hear from you all!!

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