Home improvement shows are a popular watch on television, and many people get inspired to start their own projects after seeing the successes of others. However, the reality is that not all home renovations add value and some actually decrease your house’s resale value. The best home improvements include upgrades that are common to the neighborhood. It also pays to avoid expensive projects that may deter potential buyers or cause you to go into debt.
Using research from real estate websites, home value calculators and surveys of real estate agents and experts like Gina Baum of northern Maryland, we’ve identified 25 of the most important home upgrades that increase your property value. These top projects range from a simple bathroom remodel to replacing windows and from removing carpet to adding hardwood floors. And they all have one thing in common: they don’t cost more than your mortgage payment.
A few projects that don’t improve your home’s resale value at all, but may turn off potential buyers:
A swimming pool isn’t the most valuable way to add more living space, according to HouseLogic. In fact, it only increases a home’s value by about 7%. And you’ll likely pay more than the resale value for your new pool by paying for construction, maintenance and insurance.
In-home theaters and recording studios are appealing to certain types of homeowners, but the majority of buyers may be turned off by these additions. The same is true of built-in electronics. These personal touches are not desirable to most homebuyers and could become outdated quickly.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your bathroom, don’t skimp on quality. A cheap tub and toilet might seem tempting, but they can make a bad first impression on a potential buyer. Invest in a high-quality vanity, sink and shower and you’ll see a much better return on your investment.
A poorly-finished basement can be a huge turnoff for potential buyers, so it’s crucial to spend money on proper lighting and drywall and paint and caulk to prevent leaks. It’s also important to have the appropriate plumbing, insulation and windows for the space.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a real estate agent before making any big renovations, but it’s even more important to think of your goals. Do you want to sell your house in the next few years? Do you just want to enjoy your home’s comfort while you live there? If you’re planning to sell, choose upgrades that will appeal to the widest range of prospective buyers.
If you’re not planning to sell anytime soon, don’t worry about resale value and just focus on upgrades that will make your life more enjoyable. A new kitchen is a great choice, but you can also add a pop of color by painting your front door or adding some crown molding to an entryway. Just remember to stick to your budget. Otherwise, you could end up spending thousands of dollars on a project that won’t pay off when it comes time to sell.