The Best Home Improvements to Add Value to Your Home

Many home improvement projects don’t add value to your home, especially in a down market. In fact, some improvements can even detract from the asking price when you decide to sell. On the other hand, some projects can add significant value to your home.

So which home improvement projects should you invest in, and which projects should you avoid? Below are some helpful tips for home improvement projects that increase the value of your home.

Remodel the Kitchen

Most people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and because of this, updates in this room pay off. But don’t go overboard. You should never make your kitchen fancier than the rest of the house or the neighborhood.

When it comes to how much you spend on a kitchen remodel, prices can run the gamut, from $5,000 to $75,000 or more. Get the biggest bang for your buck on a kitchen remodel by looking at color. Fresh paint, in modern colors, can go a long way towards updating the look of your kitchen. Plus, paint is relatively cheap.

Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Energy Star-rated appliances are better for the environment, and they also help you save money because they use less energy. Potential buyers often look for ways to save money when shopping for a new home. If you’re looking upgrade your appliances to save energy, learn more about the best time of year to buy large appliances.

Add a Bathroom

When it comes to finding room in your house for an extra bathroom, take a look at any extra rooms or underutilized spaces. Consider other spaces, such as closets or areas under the stairs, too. If you want a half-bath you need at least 18 square feet. If you want a full bath, including a stand-up shower, you need at least 30 square feet. If you want a bathtub, make sure you have at least 35 square feet to work with for a bathroom addition.

Reinvent a Room

Reinvent the existing space in your home to save money. Finish a basement or convert the attic to a bedroom. Many homeowners can also add small apartments in, or over, their garages.

Before you demolish walls and rafters, try to think about the ways that you, and potential buyers, can use the space, because versatile rooms have greater appeal to potential buyers.

Basements frequently work well as second living rooms, or game rooms. Attic spaces often work well for craft rooms and game rooms, especially if they have high ceilings.

Energy-Efficient Windows

These days, buyers shop for homes with energy efficiency in mind. Old, drafty single-pane windows are a major turn off. You can potentially receive a green energy tax credit of 10% for this upgrade, as long as you install Energy Star-rated windows. You might also qualify for additional credits from your state, or even your utility company.

Learn more about available offers and rebates in your area by visiting the Energy Star Rebate Finder. They have a searchable database that gives you specific information for your state.

Upgrade the Backyard

Adding a deck increases the value of your home. Outdoor living spaces have become more desirable in recent years. If you make your deck and your backyard more appealing, your house will be more appealing to prospective buyers when you decide to sell.

The cost of adding a deck to your home varies widely. Everything depends on its size, and how many extras you want added, such as outdoor cooking area, built-in seating, multiple stairs, built-in flower pots, and the size of the deck.

If you decide to hire a contractor, shop around before you choose someone to work with. Make sure you get at least three quotes—with specifics—from the contractors you interview. Thoroughly check references for the contractors before you agree to a contract or work order and watch out for home improvement repair scams.

Energy-Efficient Insulation

Updating your home to save energy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Seal cracks around the house to save even more money on energy costs, and to make your home more appealing to buyers. You can find leaks in your home during the winter. Anytime you feel a draft or cold spot, you’re in an area that leaks air. You can purchase a thermal leak detector for $40 or less.

You can often discover leaks, and areas that need more insulation, in these areas:

  • Around doors and windows
  • Around electrical sockets and light switches
  • In recessed lighting
  • Around the attic hatch
  • In the basement
  • Anywhere ducts or wires go outside the house

Other Energy Efficient Options

Another easy retrofit is CFL light bulbs in all light fixtures. CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.

You can also install a programmable thermostat. Most buyers expect to see programmable thermostats these days.

If you need to replace your water heater, consider spending a bit extra to purchase a high-efficiency water heater. Savvy home buyers know these water heaters can really trim energy bills.

Basic Updates

Basic updates add the most value to your home. Keep the paint fresh, fix the roof when it leaks, replace wood that rots, and get rid of any mold that you find. These types of chores keep your home from deteriorating over time. Buyers want a healthy, solid, safe home, and they look carefully for signs of routine maintenance.

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