Home improvement is a popular project for homeowners, with many undertaking it in hopes of increasing their home’s resale value. But while some projects are indeed a good investment, other renovations may actually detract from your home’s value, turning potential buyers away.
The term “home improvement” can mean a wide variety of things, from a simple repainting job to adding new windows or a kitchen remodel. In general, it refers to any change that improves a house in some way. Whether you’re looking to add a little extra curb appeal or just give your home a much-needed facelift, we’ve got the expert tips and DIY advice to help you take on your next home improvement project.
What are the best home improvements?
Generally speaking, the best home improvements are those that add function and value. Renovations that increase a home’s storage capacity, create additional outdoor living space or make the existing spaces more useful will likely have the highest return on investment, says real estate site Trulia. Other worthwhile additions include a master suite (complete with private bathroom, walk-in closet and perhaps even a dressing room) or a basement remodel.
If you’re unsure about the potential returns on a particular home improvement, talk to a local [contractor] professional and ask friends in the real estate industry about what types of projects have historically added value to homes in your area. Also, walking around your neighborhood and looking at your neighbors’ home additions can provide some insight into what kinds of improvements will appeal to prospective buyers.
One common mistake that can hurt your home’s resale value is making too-personalized renovations, such as replacing a neutral-colored floor with something colorful or unique. This type of personalization can turn off some potential buyers, especially if it’s something that can easily be reversed or replaced later on, says famed home renovation expert Bob Vila.
Other personalizations that can decrease your home’s value include built-in electronics, such as a home theater or media room, as well as custom-built storage spaces. This is because these features could become outdated and might be a turn-off for some potential buyers, warns HomeLogic.
If you’re planning a major home renovation, consider the costs and benefits carefully. If you’re staying in your home, choose upgrades that will enhance your quality of life the most, and don’t forget that some of your home improvement expenses can be tax deductible.
Unless you’re a seasoned contractor, it’s probably best to leave large-scale home improvement projects to the pros—especially when they involve plumbing, electrical and structural work. But for small, cosmetic changes, you might be surprised at how big an impact a few simple upgrades can make. A fresh coat of paint is inexpensive, easy to do and can instantly make a room feel like new. Consider choosing a neutral shade that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers, and don’t forget to include the ceilings in your plan! A gallon of paint can run you about $30, but the payoff will be worth it.