There’s a common myth among homeowners that any improvement will add value to a home. This age-old piece of misinformation has led to many heartaches, major disappointments and lots of wasted money. For your personal financial health, and emotional well-being, it helps to find out what the experts think about home improvements. Which ones make sense and which ones don’t.
Let’s face it: some people decide on a project based on what they want, not on what value it might add to their home. Maybe you want to put an outdoor sauna in your backyard or a high-tech weather station on the roof. Either of those projects could bring untold joy into your life, but you should know from the get-go that neither will add value when it’s time to sell.
What are the improvement projects that pay off? Here’s a short list culled from realtors who were asked about what motivates prospective buyers for new and existing homes:
Energy costs money, day after day and month after month. You know that from reading your utility bills. Energy-efficient windows are one of the most cost-effective ways to quickly cut down on utility expenses. Most people who have these windows put into their homes are surprised to see how quickly the new, sleek windows literally pay for themselves. A high-quality set of energy-efficient windows in an average-size home can cut monthly utility bills by up to 40 percent. Be sure to get several price quotes from local professionals before deciding who to use. Prices vary widely and you’ll want to vet the reputation of the contractors as well.
Done right, and without over-spending, a kitchen remodel is at or near the top of the list for most valuable home additions. The key thing is to know your limitations. Some homeowners try to do the whole job themselves and end up worse off than when they started. If you aren’t very handy with tools, hire a professional to re-do your kitchen. The money spent will come back to you when you sell your house.
In-home elevators have become more common in new homes and as additions in older ones. Not only are prices coming down, a home elevators brand are getting noticed by people in the market for a home. Reasons cited by consumers include safety, convenience and attractiveness. An in-home lift can mean seniors don’t have to negotiate dangerous staircases, small children are less apt to fall and everyone can travel from floor to floor with ease.
Realtors sometimes jokingly say, “It’s all about the bathrooms,” but the statement is partly true. Young people shopping for their first home, as well as older folks looking for a place to settle long-term, list “the number of bathrooms” as either the first or second most important feature of a home. It’s no wonder that a quality job on a bathroom addition can mean big bucks when the “For Sale” sign goes out on your lawn. The fact that the bathroom is new is an additional selling point.