When people first move into a new house, there is always a laundry list of home improvements and changes they want to make to it, to make it their own. Saving, and setting aside money here and there, eventually, they start on their projects. Some may be the projects of dreams, such a big addition or full remodel. Other things may be much more practical things such as a fresh coat of paint, granite countertops, new appliances, landscaping, or a new furnace. The question becomes, with all the different types of improvements you can make, which ones are going to pay off the most when it comes time to sell?
The truth is, If the roof is leaking, or your heater is not functioning correctly, or the pipes are leaking buyers aren’t going to accept that. No matter how great the counters look in your kitchen, basic home functions need to be well maintained in order to keep a buyer considering your property. You’re less likely to recoup as much in a kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home improvements like new flooring and fresh paint.
Buyers take for granted that if you are selling your home, it’s basic systems are functioning properly. They assume the roof doesn’t leak and the air conditioning and plumbing work.
That’s not to say that granite counters don’t pay off; kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house. These are the rooms that new home builders focus on, so if your home is older, doing a well done remodel in these rooms will grab buyer’s attention as they tour your home.
If you’re thinking about sinking some money into home improvement projects this year, keep a few things in mind. What you’ll get back on your investment depends on the value of your house, the value of houses in your immediate neighborhood, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making improvements, and the quality of the project itself. For instance, it does not make sense to update your kitchen if your house is the only house in the neighborhood with just one bathroom.
For your convenience, I’ve put together a list of home improvements that will give you the biggest bang for your buck:
Kitchens And Baths
In this hot Silicon Valley market, investing in a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. Minor kitchen remodels (average cost: $18,273), done correctly, can provide returns of more than 100 percent.
Kitchens and baths are the areas in a home where you can tell if money has been well spent or not. They’re the most expensive areas of the home in terms of construction. And they’re where people spend time in their homes.
So exactly what should you improve when you redo your kitchen or bathroom? Think traditional: all-wood cabinets, commercial-look appliances, natural wood or stone floors and stone countertops. Many homeowners skip the tub to have a big walk-in shower if they don’t have room for both. Especially in the Silicon Valley, people are busy. Most people don’t have time to take a bath, and if you add a big tub as part of your remodel, you’re giving away all that square footage for the tub that rarely gets used.
There are two key points to consider when planning a bathroom remodel: First, don’t spend money remodeling the bathroom if it’s the only one you’ve got. Your money is better spent adding a second bath. Many people love the charm of older homes. So if you’ve got a four-bedroom, one-bath home, it’s certainly going to pay to add a second bathroom. Adding a bathroom can increase the sale price of a home by 8.7 percent. That is more than twice the rate for adding a bedroom.
Still, new kitchens and baths lose some of their glamour if there’s a leaky roof when a potential buyer comes to look at your house. Every homeowner’s first priority should be keeping the existing structure and basic home features and systems sound. If you are considering spending thirty or forty thousand dollars to remodel the kitchen, but your roof or other aspects of your home are in bad shape, your priorities are out of alignment and you must get control of these basic items.
Most buyers have a limit on what they can spend for a house. If they know they don’t have to spend money on the upkeep of basic systems, then they’re more likely to buy the house and consider upgrading the kitchen or baths themselves. More often than not, buyers who purchase existing homes know what they were going to remodel before they even close on the deal. Not only that, 30 to 40 percent of buyers of existing homes make home improvements within six months after purchase.
Even in this hot Silicon Valley housing market, this old saying holds true: If people drive by your home and are not impressed they may not walk inside.
When deciding where to spend money on your home, spending money on curb appeal is a very important project. Remember people want to be proud of their home just like you. They want the feeling of driving up to their home and seeing a beautiful well kept home.