Home improvement projects must answer to two types of needs. First, they should make living inside your home more comfortable for you and your family. Second, they should add value to your home – meaning that, in case you plan to sell your home sometime in the future, these projects will help you sell the home more quickly and get you a better price.
Things to consider before starting your project
Before delving into the types of projects that add the most value to a home, here are some general things to consider:
- Draw up a budget first – it’s easy to go overboard with spending when doing home improvement work. Do some research and estimate how much your project is supposed to cost before starting it, and then add in some contingency money for unexpected expenses. But, once you have a final budget, try to stick to it as much as possible.
- DIY projects can save serious money – however, don’t overestimate your skills and don’t launch straight into complex projects that involve tasks you never did before. Also, you should hire professionals for projects that involve structural work, electrical and gas repairs, or major plumbing repairs.
- Check the calendar – do you need your home to be ready by a certain date? Or maybe there are times when you’re less busy with your job and could dedicate more time to the home improvement project? Plan the work around such considerations to make things easier for you and your family.
- A home improvement project will cause a bit of havoc where you live – you can’t really avoid that. You can, however, minimize the impact and protect your belongings while you remodel your home. Pace the work in such a manner that you don’t have several rooms you can’t use simultaneously. Make sure you wrap your furniture and appliances, or put them in self storage for the duration for the project, to avoid damaging them. Line the floors with protective coverings and create safe areas where your children and pets can stay for the duration of the project.
With no further ado, here are the top 5 home improvement projects that add value to your home:
1. Finishing up the basement
A finished basement expands the livable square footage of the home, so it really pays off in terms of adding value to your property. Whether you turn it into an informal family room, a game room, a gym, or even an extra guest bedroom and a bathroom, you’ll be benefitting from the extra space. And, should you sell your home in the future, an extra bedroom can increase the property’s value by as much as $30,000 to $50,000, while an additional bathroom can add between $6,000 and $50,000.
2. Insulating the attic
Insulating the attic is a relatively inexpensive home improvement project, and one that many homeowners can do themselves. The returns are quite significant – you can save up to 20% on your energy bills for home heating and cooling. Attic insulation can also extend the life of your roof, as it becomes less exposed to variations of temperatures from inside the house. The project will make your home more comfortable, reduce your bills, and add some extra value to your property.
3. Redoing the exterior of the house for more curb appeal
If you consider putting your house on the market in the next couple of years, one of the best home improvement projects you could do is an exterior upgrade. Adding manufactured stone veneer to the exterior of the home will attract potential buyers – curb appeal gives them the first impression, even before they set foot inside, and can be a determining factor in the decision of whether to buy a property or not. And you’ll be able to recoup the investment almost entirely: the 2021 Cost vs Value Report estimates that homeowners recoup about 92% of the money spent on this type of home improvement project.
4. Stripping off the carpet
If your home is fully carpeted, stripping that off will make your life easier, as it will reduce cleaning duties. Also, it will add value and appeal to your home in case you want to sell it in the future. Most homebuyers no longer appreciate carpet, particularly in common areas such as the living room. You can choose to replace it with hardwood flooring, or with less expensive products, such as engineered wood or laminate flooring.
5. Minor kitchen remodel
Full kitchen remodels can be quite expensive and recouping the costs can be difficult. However, a minor kitchen remodel where you keep the existing furniture and simply repaint it, get some new appliances if your old ones are dated, or add a new backsplash, can definitely pay off.
Projects to keep away from if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future
If you’re living in your forever home, you should obviously remodel it to your liking, based on your family’s needs and preferences. However, if selling your home is a possibility, you should avoid certain home improvement projects where it’s difficult to recoup your investment:
- Upscale bathroom or kitchen remodels
Such projects usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it’s unlikely that homebuyers would be willing to pay that much more on a home. Many might not have the same tastes as you, or they might not be interested in luxurious finishes – either way, you’re actually reducing the range of potential buyers.
- Installing a pool
Installing a pool is pricy to start with, it involves permanent maintenance – and therefore more expenses – and many people don’t want one in their backyard. So, if you’re planning to sell in the near future, pick a different home improvement project.
- Converting the garage
Converting the garage into a bedroom adds square footage to your overall living space, but it has a major downside – you no longer have a garage! Most people do want one, so turning it into something else won’t add value to your home.
The main takeaway is that you should consider the pros and cons of every home improvement project, establish how much it costs, and how much value it can add, before proceeding further with it.