Your personal motivation to make a home improvement may not translate into resale value or a higher appraised value. Converting a garage into a living space may seem like a good idea in a home cramped for space, but may actually detract from the home’s value. Many of today’s home buyers consider a two, and sometimes three, car garage a necessity, and in a neighborhood of homes with garages it can lower the value of your home and make it hard to find a buyer. If on the other hand your home has been damaged by water from a leaking roof, an improvement may be essential to getting a good price.
Types of improvements that add value
The types of improvements that affect value are much needed improvements to the essential parts of your house. Don’t expect the value of your home to be increased by the exact amount you spend on improvements and repairs. Remember, if there are needed repairs, the value can decrease unless these repairs have been made.
The most value comes from bathroom and kitchen upgrades, in that order. If you have leaking plumbing, fix that first, and any water damage caused by a leak. This could mean replacing flooring or parts of the wallboard, and ceilings in rooms underneath. Upgrades to sinks, toilets, and plumbing fixtures alone can add value, but high-end amenities like hot tubs and heated towel racks may not. In kitchens, pantry storage adds value, but professional grade appliances and stone counter tops depend on the neighborhood.
Making a first impression from the street and outdoor maintenance freedom is a home improvement that adds value. Replacing the siding provides both and can return as much as 95% of the cost according to the National Association of Home Builders. Today’s vinyl and aluminum sidings come in a variety of styles and are often indistinguishable from high maintenance wood sidings.
Next in value for resale is interior painting. Don’t overdo it here. Your best bet for paint is neutral color: Beige walls and off-white baseboards and trim sells. It is easier for potential buyers to picture their belongings in this neutral environment than one with trendy or outdated colors.
Keeping up the landscaping lets the neighborhood and potential buyers know you care about your property. It’s a good first impression that brings buyers in. Care for your landscaping by pruning and mulching regularly. You only need to plant shrubs if you have none, but damaged shrubs should be replaced. Flowers are optional. As long as the property is comparable to others in the neighborhood, adding a lot of landscaping won’t necessarily add value to the
Types of improvements that add no value
While interior painting adds value, wallpaper has one of the lowest returns. Outdated or trendy wallpaper patterns can narrow the field of potential buyers who cannot picture their belongings in the space, or do not want to begin life in their new home by removing or replacing it. If you must paper, like painting, neutral colors are best.
Today, many people work from a home office, often a converted bedroom or dining room. Having a room that could be used as an office adds value, but make sure it can be returned to its original use. Built in cabinets, while convenient, make changing back a chore. Make your home office with free-standing furniture.
Minor changes can make a difference
A home improvement that creates closets, usable closet space or other storage spaces like a basement or attic storage room are relatively cheap and add value. Everyone needs storage, and your ability to store unused items out of site will make your home look appealing as well as practical.
The bottom line is that square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, the age of the home , and sales of similar houses affect value more than improvements. Some improvements can help, but don’t make improvements with the idea of getting a dollar for dollar increase in value. Make improvements for you, to increase your enjoyment of your home!